September 19, 2011 Vol. 25, No. 3 [p. 3]

Dwelling Place Marks 25 Years

In keeping with the celebration of our 25th, our friend and supporter, Linda Breazeale, submitted the following news release to several local papers in Mississippi. It's scheduled to appear in Mississippi Catholic on Friday, September 23rd. Thanks so much, Linda, for your efforts.

BROOKSVILLE– Supporters of a retreat center dedicated to hospitality and prayer converged on the site on Sept. 10 to celebrate 25 years of ministry in the Golden Triangle.

“God doesn’t need super-apostles; He just needs obedient ones,” Clare Van Lent, founder and director of the Dwelling Place shared as she reflected to the nearly 100 people present. “God is faithful and calls us to ruthless trust in His design for this ministry.”

The Dwelling Place provides an informal, bed and breakfast-style setting near Brooksville in Noxubee County for people who want to get away, be still, and reflect on their faith or a variety of issues impacting their lives. Those who come on retreats differ in their backgrounds and religious traditions, but all are seeking peace, joy or healing.

The Most Rev. Joseph Latino, bishop with the Catholic Diocese of Jackson,celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for those gathered at the celebration, followed by a meal and reflections from a quarter century of ministry to people from across the country.

“We are gathered here to praise the Lord for the 25 years the Dwelling Place has been here for those looking for respite,” he said. “I commend those who had the dream, the courage and the faith to organize this place. I also commend those who support the Dwelling Place with prayers and offerings.”

The Dwelling Place is a non-profit center that is not sponsored by any outside institution and relies on donations to operate. Drawing from the Franciscan tradition, spiritual renewal is offered through prayer, spiritual counseling, and private or directed retreats.

“The Dwelling Place is blessed because the Lord dwells here. This secluded location offers a place away from the distractions of everyday life,” Latino said. “It has developed a faithful following because of how the retreat experience impacts each person here.”

The Dwelling Place came into being in response to God’s call to Clare Van Lent, who remains on the staff. In January 1987 the “house of hospitality and prayer” became a reality through the assistance of the Dubuque (Iowa) Franciscan Community and benefactors when Van Lent and Sr. Margaret Kosse arrived at the former Trappist monastery located in east central Mississippi.

“It was the middle of winter -- an old trailer with old furniture, the chapel and small library in a 17-acre bull pasture. This place seemed so desolate,” Van Lent recalled. “I’m just overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness.”

Mary Horrell, physical plant manager, now oversees the buildings and grounds that include a guest house, three hermitages, new staff quarters, a new administrative building and a renovated dining building. The grounds also have pecan and pine trees, a sacred path with Stations of the Cross and a gazebo overlooking a small pond.

Van Lent said in the early years, retreat participants were primarily from Mississippi. Today, the Internet has allowed people from across the country to come experience the Dwelling Place after finding it through its website at

“In addition to Mississippi and our neighboring states, we also have regular visitors from Texas, Georgia and other states,” she said. “We are always looking for needs that we can meet through a variety of retreats. Many of our retreats deal with healing from losses, abuse or addictions, as well as spiritual direction to draw people closer to God.”

For more information on the Dwelling Place, contact Sheila Avery, administrative assistant, at (662) 738-5348 or

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