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March 1, 2004 Vol. 18, No. 1

Dear Friends-

Blessings of Lent and joy of the Resurrection to all of you. May this be a grace filled time for you.

Just after we sent out the last newsletter, we had a weekend retreat. Nothing unusual about that, except when I looked around the dining room on the Friday evening. Our table fellowship that evening included a couple of friends who are Bible translators, home from West Africa. An Episcopalian priest, Ann Heineman, was sitting next to some Baptist women here for an Advent retreat.

John Maloney

There was a Methodist pastor originally from Boston and her husband, a professor of comparative religion from Jackson. Earlier that day an Italian missionary sister had returned to her ministry in Eutaw, Alabama. It was a wonderful moment of seeing how God uses this Dwelling Place to foster his kingdom.

Our good friend, John Maloney, stepped down as Treasurer of The Dwelling Place, Inc. in December. We are so grateful to him and will miss him. We have all been enriched by his loving friendship, his smile, his sense of humor, his wisdom and kindness, his stories for every occasion, his love of creation -- all the things that make him John.


Besides being treasurer, we treasured John as a man of deep faith, a devoted Dwelling Place Associate and Companion member since 1995, a generous Dwelling Place partner and fundraiser, and a faithful volunteer. John, enjoy your retirement.

Round and About

This year we had a wonderful crop of pecans- we gathered 450 pounds and still left plenty for the squirrels! And it is not just squirrels who like The Dwelling Place. Prince and Shadow have had pungent encounters with several skunks this winter. We have boosted the sale of tomato juice in order to deodorize the two dogs!

In January, the Forestry Department came and did a controlled burn in our pine forest. Lots of smoke that day and, hopefully, fewer vines this summer.

This winter the roof on San Damiano leaked badly and we had to replace it - very discouraging that it had worn out after so few years. The new roof is guaranteed for 20 years!

Retreat directors meet

Retreat Directors Meet

Retreats International Mid Gulf States Area retreat directors gathered here in November for their semi-annual meeting. Joining Mary, Clare, and Morag were (back row): Srs. Evelyn Jegen and JoAnn Viviano from Metairie, Louisiana, Rick Hinchee and (front row) Fr. Don Piraro from Lake Charles, Louisiana and Sr. Joan Schaefer from Chatawa, Mississippi.

Many Thanks to-

Annunciation C Y O and their leaders

Highlights from The Dwelling Place Community

(standing) Elaine Fish

This February saw the Companion members of The Community renew their commitment to assist in the ministry of The Dwelling Place for another three years. Elaine Fish is pictured here renewing her three year commitment.

The Community wants to extend an invitation to our friends who are interested in assisting us in our ministry here to become Associates. ...more about this in the next newsletter!

Visa or Master Card to be accepted soon

We have had a considerable number of requests from you to be able to pay using Visa or Master Card. We are now in process of setting up the system. Hopefully before the next newsletter we will be able to put this into effect.

Clare's Corner

In this little "Corner" column I will share with you our dreams of the future and the steps we are taking to make it a reality. God has called this Dwelling Place into being and continues to faithfully sustain it and work in peoples' lives. God just needs our hands to make it a reality.

The "Our" in our hands are those of yours and the staff here. We (you and the staff) share a combined ministry to the seeker, the abused, grieving, and addicted. It is a noble trust that God has put in us.

Jan. 31- Jean Haspeslagh, Clara Hicks, and Community seek George Roman's advice.

"In faith we build" seems like a good motto for the months ahead. We took a recess after the feasibility study but knew we had to get serious again about our need to erect an administration building and a kitchen/dining room.

There is no doubt there is need to replace the old triple-wide trailer and adjoining lean-to which has served for over 40 years as monastery, administration, and kitchen/dining facility. What the replacement will look like is now our joyful task.

Since our last newsletter we have met with Bill Rosamund, our architect, and the building has begun to take shape--on paper.

After consulting Father Jeffrey Waldrep who is in the midst of a capital campaign himself in Macon and George Roman, the Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation for the diocese, we have decided to hire Capital Development Services from St. Louis to lead us in our campaign.



June 1, 2004 Vol. 18, No. 2

Dear Friends,

The summer brings a change in rhythm to the ministry here. During the fall, spring, and winter, the main activity is on the weekends. During the summer the pace changes as more people are able to come to weeklong retreats. There are some wonderful opportunities on the schedule to experience God's love this summer. The Directed Retreats are always a good way to notice the Lord's presence in all things. The other retreats, Spirituality in Beauty and Darkness to Light, offer very different but none the less powerful avenues to further our connection with God.

It has been really gratifying to have so many retreatants this spring. Thank you all for coming. And in between the retreatants we have had meetings with Bill Rosamund, our architect, and Dan Messerla, our consultant for our capital campaign.


These 17 acres are looking so beautiful. Mary and Clare have got such an eye for landscaping that the whole place is looking gorgeous. Come and stop by. Even if you cannot make retreat right now, we would be enriched by your fellowship. I make a good cup of hot tea and, thanks to the tea-maker and Mary's instructions, the iced-tea seems to be drinkable!

Round and About

We have hired Lawrence Bush as our new yardman to assist Mary. Juana Rodriguez, our housekeeper, has returned to work after being ill for about two months. We are so blessed to have them share in our ministry.

Stuart Mays from West Chester, Pennsylvania, volunteered here April 20-26. He prayed with us, worked with us, laughed, and enjoyed Prince and Shadow with us.

April 3-4- Marty, Jerry, and John Barich, friends of Sr. Maggie's from her Chicago days, came to visit. It was so nice to meet them - we had all heard so much about them from Maggie. We shared memories of her and now look forward to sharing a new friendship with them.

[left, standing] Morag and Sheila [seated] Bishop Latino and Clare

Staff visits Bishop Latino

February 23rd: We (Clare, Mary, and Morag) went to Jackson to introduce ourselves and The Dwelling Place ministry to Bishop Latino, the new bishop of the Jackson diocese. We look forward to a fruitful relationship with him as we had with Bishop Houck.

On April 22 we attended the Catholic Foundation Dinner. The Bishop heads up the Foundation which has supported us generously in the past. We apply for grants from it yearly for the needs of our ministry.

South Dakota comes to Mississippi

Our friends from Mount Marty

March 7-11 brought 11 young people from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota along with their campus minister, Sr. Meribeth Wentzlaff, to The Dwelling Place.

"This week has touched my heart; I have found out that I have something to give" was Renae Bruggeman's comment about the week. They volunteered here and helped two of our elderly neighbours in the mornings.

In the afternoons some volunteered in two classrooms in Noxubee County elementary schools, while others helped with recreation at Palmer Home and Mark Mitchell Shelter in Columbus. When they were leaving Peggy Venteicher wrote about the experience, "I can't wait to come back."

Nick Hall [left] and Jack Zimmerman

An "old" friend and former Advisory Board member, Jack Zimmerman, also joined the college crowd in their work here. Here Jack and Nick Hall are filling in the low spots on the meditation path.

Library News

We appreciate all of you who plundered your own bookshelves in order to replace our out of print books that were missing from the library. The library is an important part of our ministry here, which is used consistently and thoroughly. We do have some really good new books that are being catalogued this week.

RCIA Participants Prepare for Easter

Our celebration of Holy Week and Easter began with St. Joseph, Starkville's R C I A Retreat Day on April 3. Sponsors and catechumens listen to Ray and Kathy West (not shown), R C I A coordinators at St. Joe. They prepare to be prayed with and anointed for the next stage of their journey.


We are making final preparations to receive payment through Visa and Mastercard starting in June. Keep posted!

When you register for a retreat, please let us know if you have any food allergies or if you are a vegetarian -- even if you have told us in the past, notify us each retreat, please!

You are invited ... to have a closer look

As you know, The Dwelling Place Community is dedicated to the ministry of The Dwelling Place. It evolved out of an Associate program- a group of dedicated men and women who shared the vision of the ministry by their active involvement.

Associates are persons who-

This is not limited to those in close proximity to The Dwelling Place; however, it is a call to share the mission.

Discover with the staff in what areas you feel called to assist-

Interested? We are having an overnight August 27-28. Let's explore together the Lord's call for you.

Clare's Corner

I bet you wonder what this church is doing in our newsletter. It is the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy. I spent nearly 4 days there in March. It was an experience of deep religious significance for me. St. Francis' body lies in the crypt; we had Mass there one day and I prayed for all of you who are connected in any way with our ministry here.

No, I don't think Francis would approve of a three story church in his honor but it is so gorgeous. The walls in all the levels contain famous frescos by Cimabue and Giotto and others. It is hard to imagine such beauty still is intact over 800 years after Francis' death.

When in Assisi, I asked Francis' blessing on The Dwelling Place since his spirit permeates this place. The words that rang in my heart were those he uttered before he died, "I did what was mine to do, now you do yours." He was faithful to God's unique call to him; now we need to be obedient to our call, in whatever direction that leads us.

Our path right now seems to call us to enhance this facility so that we may better serve God's people. Sooo-- we have continued to meet with Dan Messerla from C D S Consultants to put our Capital Campaign together. We are forming our leadership team and preparing for a 'video shoot' here June 3rd. By the next newsletter, the preparations will definitely be taking shape.

Please do pray for us and with us in this undertaking. As I have said many times, we (you and the staff) share a combined ministry at The Dwelling Place to the seeker, the abused, grieving, and addicted. God has called this Dwelling Place into being and continues to faithfully sustain it and work in peoples' lives.

God just needs our efforts to make it a reality. We can share the physical things but we can never share the miracles that He does in peoples' lives. We just praise God for them and feel humbled by them knowing that it is God's work, we just show up and be obedient.



September 1, 2004 Vol. 18, No. 3

Dear Friends,

We witnessed new life with three families of barn swallows this summer. What a joy!

Other images of the summer tumble together like a kaleidoscope--a beautiful variety of images sliding into one another. In June, blossoms and hummingbirds, rain, and video cameras; in July, trees thirsty for rain, board meetings, and planning; August, unexpected cool days and more planning meetings.

Mixed with all of these images are the sacred stories of our retreatants--men and women from all walks of life who come apart from their daily activities to give space to open their innermost reality to God. We feel privileged to share this with them.


We invite each of you, our readers, to consider God's nudge for you to spend time to open yourself to God.

Round and About

For Your Information

We have the Mastercard and Visa terminal in operation. Credit cards can be used in the gift shop or in making the donation for your retreat.

From the Kitchen

When you register for a retreat, please let us know if you have any food allergies or if you are a vegetarian -- even if you have told us in the past, notify us each retreat, please! Thanks.

N_o_t   A_g_a_i_n  ? ! !

Mary, Clare, Lawrence Bush, and Morag (behind the camera) pause after pushing the John Deere onto the trailer for its regular visit to the shop.

So----- WISH LIST ... One new or nearly new John Deere Garden Tractor--to replace the 318 that spends most of its days in the repair shop.


The Catholic Foundation who gave us a $500 grant for partial scholarships for the abused and addicted.

Our summer volunteers-

All who have donated casseroles and desserts these summer months, especially the women from Crossgates U M C who brought casseroles and paper goods as part of their retreat donation. (An extra bonus for us --they included the recipes, too!)


Friends of The Dwelling Place make a donation IN HONOR OF a friend at the time of an anniversary, birthday or special occasion or IN MEMORY of a deceased family member or friend. We invite you to mark an occasion or to remember your loved ones in this way.

We remember your loved ones in Community prayer, Masses and good works of The Dwelling Place. This list includes those received from December, 2003 to the present.

In Memory of

Mrs. Eva Jane Wolfe by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mrs. Cilia Brown by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mrs. Pauline Shackleford by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mr. Kirk Morley by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mr. & Mrs. George Walker by Mr.& Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Miss Catherine Crocker by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mr. & Mrs. S. Robert Cain, Jr. by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mrs. Joy Gibson by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mr. Fred Plummer by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mr. George Shackleford by Mr. & Mrs. Richard Wolfe
Mr. Delbert Kilborn by Jack and Gert Van Lent
Mr. Andy Gisch by Sr. Marcie Gisch
Ms. Adena Pack by Marty Prewitt
Mr. Albert C. Windham by Jean Mertz
Ms. Joy Colquhoun by Jean Mertz
Mr. Jim Kolb by Mary Ann Dee
Mr. Whitney Tarutis by Marjorie Knox
Mr. Whitney Tarutis by Mary Hasselman
Mrs. Anne Weber by Jack and Gert Van Lent
Mrs. Helen Turnage by Jean Mertz
Sue and Frank Hill by Kathleen Naughton

In Memory of Billie English June 2, 1931-July 12, 2004 by:

Ray Sims, Sr.
Mrs. Morag Burgess
Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Duff, Sr.
Mr. Michael Malski
Ms. Linda Durrett Reich
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Francis
Amory Meals on Wheels Board
The Frank Durrett family
Jimmy and Billie Blair
Dr. & Mrs. Richard Hollis
Ms. Rebecca McCullen
Mr. Louis Rowles
Evelyn and Dick Millender
Dr. & Mrs. Travis Pierce
Harry and Lisa Donovan
The Longnecker Foundation
Larry and Deborah Palmer
David & Pam Sullivan
Mr. & Mrs. James Prude

Clare's Corner

Get out your magnifying glass and study the floor plans of our dream administration/dining building that Bill Rosamund has drawn up for us. It is the vision that we hold before us to encourage us as we begin our capital campaign.

I would like to introduce our leadership team to you:

Campaign Chair: Clare Van Lent
Administrator: Sheila Avery
Chair of Promotional materials: Morag Burgess
Advance Gifts Coordinator: Karen Henry
In-home Small Group Coordinator: Robbie Richardson
Video coordinator: Mary Horrell
Coordinator of Corporate Giving: Rhonda Ferguson

Though the task is great, it is a delight to work with this group and with Dan Messerla from C D S Consultants.

We now have the video shoot behind us and are eager to view the finished product. We are so grateful to all who gave testimonials on our behalf. The brochure has been created and refined; it is beautiful. All the printed materials have been created and are now waiting to be printed.

We have had numerous meetings organizing our in-home gatherings and individual contacts and are very grateful to all of you who volunteered to host the gatherings. Now Dan tells us September is the training time for you--and us! Then the campaign will come to the wider Community in October and November.

Join us as we keep this campaign in prayer. It is God's Dwelling Place, and in God's name we proceed in peace.



December 1, 2004 Vol. 18, No. 4

Morag's signature

Dear Friends,

As we ponder the Advent "O" Antiphons, they remind us of the history and the hope that we have in our Christian heritage.

Recently, a friend donated some valuable antique watches in addition to her pledge for the capital campaign. As well as gratitude for the material gift, the watches reminded me of an old epitaph I had once seen in England:

The combination of images of time, of hope, of simplicity, and above all of generous giving and faithful service incorporated all the facets this season of Advent, and the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany. This newsletter comes with our prayers that our Maker's hands will be on us at this time with whatever blessing and healing we need this Christmas-tide.

"It was You Who created my inmost self...I thank You for the wonder of my being..." (Psalm 139)

"I have called you by name, you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1)

A Retreat Is ...

Come to the Dwelling Place for some special TIME away... alone to slow down and renew, refresh yourself-- to walk in God's love.

Dwelling Place Community Associates

(back row, l to r) Sue Millender, Diana Bridges, Marvin Peyton, and Linda Breazeale. (front row) Ronnie and Tara Puckett. Gene and Mary Helen Grabbe were unable to be present for the October 2nd ceremony.

As each of the Associates made their promises of support to The Dwelling Place ministry they received a Tau cross as a symbol of their commitment.

The Tau cross is a traditional Franciscan symbol; as such, it represents our living out of our Franciscan heritage.

Sue Millender writes,

Since my watercolor paintings I have painted in the past represent my spiritual journey, I wanted a representation of becoming a Dwelling Place associate in my art journal. I created this Tau Cross in watercolor for this purpose. Sharing this painting with you is my way of saying thank you to each of you for making October 2nd a very inspiring day for me.

Being a part of The Dwelling Place Community as an associate has given me the strength I need to travel on my spiritual journey as I adjust to semi-retirement.

I know it is the prayers of our support group that has helped me find this strength.

We have the Mastercard and Visa terminal in operation. Credit cards can be used in the gift shop or in making the donation for your retreat.

When you register for a retreat, please let us know if you have any food allergies or if you are a vegetarian -- even if you have told us in the past, notify us each retreat, please! Thanks.

May The Blessings of the Christ Child be yours now and in 2005

Signatures: Clare, Sheila, Morag, and Mary

Many thanks to -

Round and About

We were so thankful for the Lord's protection during hurricane Ivan - the grounds were covered with debris and a huge branch narrowly missed the main trailer.

We also received the blessing of the presence of Mary and Joseph a k a Mr. and Mrs. James Gibson, two hurricane refugees who could find no room at an inn between here and the coast. They saw our sign and thought it said Three Dwellings and so they ventured down the gravel road.

And the skunk saga....

We have been unable to find the pair of skunks that have been leaving their scents on retreatant and pets alike. We are usually gifted by them around the midnight hour after we have retired for the night or when we arrive home from an exhausting trip away. No matter, human and beast get a bath of peroxide, soda, and dishwashing detergent. Perfect joy!

Clare's Corner

Our Captial Campaign is in full swing. By the time this goes to press all our in-home gatherings will be over and many contacts will have been made.

Clare Van Lent and Karen Henry

Karen Henry, our Advanced Gifts coordinator, Mary and I visited 10 different sites and shared our video, our dreams, and our options for giving. Karen and I are pictured at the right at one of our gatherings.

A very special THANK YOU to all of you, our hosts, who were so generous with your time, your telephone calls, your hospitality, and the delicious treats. We are So grateful for your efforts in our regard.

A special THANK YOU to all who took time to attend one of the in-home gatherings. So many responsiblities pull you in various directions, and you found time to hear us out. Your gifts will help make our vision become a reality.

Hosts Debbie and Dick Lankford of Tupelo look over Barb Bauman's shoulder as she examines the campaign materials.

A special THANK YOU to all of you who have welcomed us or our representative into your homes for a personal visit. Your contributions are central to our campaign.

A special THANK YOU in advance to all who have received packets of information from us. We trust that as you prayerfully peruse the materials you may be willing to share our vision of the future of this ministry here. It is not Clare's, Mary's, Morag's, or Sheila's ministry; it is the Lord's.. We are just his instruments trying to be obedient to God's call at the present time.

This campaign is truly a challenge and an opportunity to spread God's reign in the hearts of the seeker as well as the abused, addicted, and grieving.

Proposed administration/dining facility

If you are reading this newsletter and have not yet heard from us, we trust that, as you receive our communication in the weeks ahead, you will also join us in this ministry by your contribution toward our new administration and kitchen/dining building.

Our work and efforts here in Mississippi extend beyond cultural and denomination lines. Our ministry extends beyond Mississippi. The Dwelling Place ministry is like that mustard seed that spreads its branches far and wide to provide rest and refuge to the spiritual traveler.