"The Dwelling Place is the best kept secret in Mississippi," was the comment of Rev. John Banks of Cleveland, Mississippi as he joined nearly 100 people who gathered in a tent to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of The Dwelling Place.
The site of our 20th Anniversary celebration
It was a freezing cold morning on December 2nd when Associates, Partners, benefactors, and board members gathered from all over Mississippi and the surrounding southern states to join the staff and Community at The Dwelling Place to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the house of prayer and hospitality in Brooksville, Mississippi.
Bishop Joseph Latino, assisted by Fr. Robert Dore from Annunciation, Columbus celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving.
At the offertory procession Associates and retreatants carried symbols representing our history. Photos of the development of the facility from the bull pasture of the Trappist monks tenure as well as plans for future construction were brought forward.
The 4th Degree Knights of the Eugene T. Hicks Assembly formed an honor guard.
The actual anniversary date is January 2nd, when, in 1987, Clare and Maggie arrived from Dubuque, Iowa in response to God's call to Clare. As the weather is even chillier in January, the celebrations took place in December; however the Master Designer who has sustained this ministry for these 20 years obviously thought that some January weather would be appropriate!
Hors d'oeuvres and a delicious dinner were provided by associates and friends.
The procession was led by Clare who carried the white stone which was the symbol confirming that her call in August 1985 was from the Lord.
Tom Hannigan and the music group from St. Joseph, Starkville provided the music.
Other tokens of the monks' legacy were pecans and a chalice and paten. A basket of prayer intentions bore witness to The Dwelling Place's ministry of intercessory prayer and a San Damiano crucifix from Assisi was the reminder of the Franciscan roots of The Dwelling Place.
Clare's white stone
Two plaques were also carried in the procession; one a memorial to Sr. Maggie who died in March 2000; the other was the Decree of Establishment of The Dwelling Place Community as a Private Association of the Christian Faithful signed by Bishop Houck, December 8, 2000.
Clare delivers the after dinner address
"The Dwelling Place is God's idea; God called it into being and has been faithful," Clare remarked during her after dinner reflections. "For the ministry here to continue God needs our faithful, combined efforts. God does not need super apostles- only obedient ones. We need to be attentive to His leading."
Special memories from the first 20 years