June September December Close


March 1, 2006 Vol. 20, No. 1

Dear Fellow Travelers-

I am writing this one Saturday afternoon in February. There is a fierce wind blowing through the single glazed window (in spite of Mary's efforts with polythene and tape!). Outside the sky is dappled shades of grey, dark, and light with short lived patches of blue, and there have been occasional flurries of sleet.

The weather seems to reflect our inner landscape. If our faith life can be described as a journey to God, we have to attend to our innermost state - the patches of blue, the hail or the rain, gales, and calm. It is prayer that puts us in touch with that inner landscape - the place where we can see what is creative in us and what is most destructive.

Morag's signature

In the liturgical tradition, we are entering the season of Lent, that time which helps us take our bearings on this journey of life so that we can continue on our way less frustrated and more at peace and living more fully in the joy of God which Christ promised to give his followers.

Preview on Summer Retreats

May 22-30, June 23-July 4, July 12-20

Come for a Directed Retreat for 3, 6, or 8 days within these time blocks

For those of you who like to do your own cooking, July 21-30 is also available for a directed retreat.

Donation: 3 day--$195, 6 day--$390, 8 day --$520

"Captains' Program"

No, The Dwelling Place is not going nautical! We are trying to address the fact that The Dwelling Place is one of the state's best kept secrets by involving you in bringing friends, family, or members of your church communities to experience the blessings that a weekend at The Dwelling Place can bring.

However, rather than telling people "you should go--you'll really enjoy it" they instead say, "Come with me".

The personal involvement of someone they know makes them much more likely to participate.

The Captains' program has been very successful at other retreat centers as the Captains encourage, invite, and coordinate as well as form the administrative and spiritual link between prospective retreatants and The Dwelling Place.

If you feel called to share the blessings you have received at The Dwelling Place in this way, please contact us for the date of the next Captains' orientation overnight.

Library Benefactor Dies

Sr. Lucille Bresson

On January 26, 2006 Sr. Lucille Bresson, O S F died at Mount St. Francis, Dubuque, Iowa. She was 94. Her Franciscan sisters, relatives, many students, and numerous library readers at The Dwelling Place celebrate with her as she begins her time in Glory.

Hard at work are (l to r) Sisters Verna, Lucille, Edna, and Jan Huerkamp.

The library is a very important part of our ministry here at The Dwelling Place. The monks left us this beautiful building and the contents of their library. As early as the summer of 1987, Sr. Helen Larsen began the re-organization of the library--a truly monumental task.

The following summer, Sisters Lucille Bresson, Edna Ginder, and Verna Gaul continued the work. Sr. Lucille, who had much experience in library work, spearheaded the month long operation of creating a revised version of the Dewey decimal system unique to the needs of our small library.

That guidance has given us direction and order in our continued development of the library. Her faithful typists, Sisters Edna and Verna, in typing the author, title, and subject cards, set the system in motion and set an example for all our efforts ever since.

Sr. Lucille has left us a legacy. She has left her mark on The Dwelling Place in a very tangible and invaluable way and has touched the lives of all the library visitors since 1988.

Dwelling Place Receives
Weyerhaeuser Grant

The Dwelling Place received an early Christmas present from the Weyerhaeuser Foundation when we were awarded a $5000 grant toward our building fund.

Proposed administration/ dining facility

We are especially grateful to Ms. Elizabeth Grossman, president of the Foundation, and to Mr. Dennis Turner from the Columbus unit for the encouragement and direction they gave us during the application process.

We know how important our outreach is for the benefit of this area of east central Mississippi and we are especially grateful when a local corporation of the stature of Weyerhaeuser recognizes it and joins us in our efforts for The Community, also.

Round and About

The ravages of the hurricane meant that our roof repairs to the main trailer/kitchen dining room were delayed but thanks to Sudduth Roofing and the grant from the Catholic Foundation, there are no more brown spots appearing on the kitchen ceiling after rain - and Mary has been able to fold up the tarps and pile up the bricks that anchored them in place in our attempts to minimize the leaks.

Katrina also did her deed on the roofs of the chapel, Clare House, Maria House, and Umbria Guest House. Wheeler Roofing has replaced those roofs with the help of our insurance.

Gathering of the Remnant

(l to r) Mary, Clare, Jean, Mary Ann, and Clara

Our Community retreat of February 16-18 was NOT what we had planned. We had assumed we would welcome a Candidate, two Sojourners, and a Companion to our Community.

Several Associates planned to re-commit themselves to service for one year--but--illness and bad weather shrank our ranks to one-third of our projected number and changed our focus considerably. However, healthy Mary, Clare, Jean, Mary Ann, and Clara braved the elements. Prayer, study, planning, good food, and fun go very smoothly with only five!!

Many thanks to ...

Clare's Corner

"You know an organization is in trouble when it has more memories than it has dreams." (source unknown)

When I heard that quote recently it jarred my thoughts--then resonated with me as I consider our current efforts at The Dwelling Place. Our dreams for the future are evident in our efforts at our building campaign but also are shown in the ongoing efforts in ministry through our retreats, Dwelling Place Community, associates, and advisory board.

We believe that God has a plan for this ministry in this spot of Mississippi. I am also convinced that remembering God's past acts of loving kindness fuels our faith in the future. We have nearly 20 years of memories.

Remembering God's faithfulness to us in the past is an important way of staying hopeful in the present. This ministry has grown from a tiny mustard seed to what it is today--a sign of unity and beacon of hope for many. We believe God is active and is directing us in our current struggles as He has done in the past.

Clare's signature

I believe God works through our combined efforts. We rely on and celebrate your belief in and support of this ministry here. Together we make up the Body of Christ doing our bit to establish the reign of God in people's hearts now.



June 1, 2006 Vol. 20, No. 2

Out of 'Ordinary Time'

Retreatants Write ...

Instead of a letter from Morag, we want to share with you some of the letters we received from retreatants after they have gone back to their homes--back to their 'ordinary time'.

Kathy from Jackson wrote:

Your ministry is so valuable in today's hectic world. My time with you last year has helped nurture my spiritual life all year long. I am so thankful for you.

Becca, a young Jewish woman, volunteering on the Gulf Coast, told us:

I just wanted to thank you for my time here. Being entirely the opposite of a morning person I am sure this will be far less eloquent than I would like, but I hope understandable.

I generally have nightmares when catching up on sleep, something about all the tremors of my mind building up for far too long and then exiting in one fell swoop. I fell asleep last night feeling at home. And when I woke in the night it was not to a foreign bed but I was in a place in which I felt safe and peaceful. Thank you.

I was talking with Clare in the kitchen yesterday, and she said that this is God's place, and I agree. I have mumbled feelings about what God is to me but this feels like a place of safety and warmth and a kind of trembling power to me.

Lauren from Oxford wrote:

You sent me to a place where my soul could rest awhile. And you were right, these grounds are sacred and one can discern that right away. It is such a gentle place for broken hearts to begin to heal. I am so excited that there is a place like that close to home.

I can't wait to share its blessings with others.

Retreatant Jill Joseph


Henri Nouwen in The Way of the Heart says, "We have to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw everyday, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord."

"Solitude is not simply a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in His own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world. Solitude is the place of our salvation."

Rest for the Weary

Annunciation CYO members

The Catholic Youth Organization from Annunciation, Columbus, lived out their Lenten commitment to prayer, sacrifice, and service in a day of work and prayer at The Dwelling Place March 5. The effects of their raking were seen in Himalayan size mountains of pine straw that sprouted all over the south west side of the property.

Thank you to-

Mary and Clare join Sr. Maribeth Wentzlaff, O S B , (far left) and Mount Marty College students as they relax in the staff house.

Spring Break- South Dakota Style

Again this March, we were so fortunate to be joined by a group of college students from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota. Students spent the week working at the Palmer Home in Columbus, Noxubee County schools, as well as at The Dwelling Place. We so appreciated their generous spirit and enthusiasm.

Columbus Air Force Base
Confirmation Class ...

April 1 this special group of leaders, candidates, and Father Vu (center) spent the day preparing for their special event. They were blessed and are a blessing.


www.News Break

If you would like to receive our newsletter electronically, Lee Terrio, our webmaster, will arrange this. Click the link under the newsletter date on this page [Notify me of newsletter updates] to request a special electronic copy delivered directly to your in-box.

We also invite you to add your comments to our blog. You'll find the link in the upper right hand corner of any page on our website. There is a special section just for prayer requests, another section for contact information in case of an emergency, and still another for comments about-- whatever you wish. See you there.

(l to r, standing) Sue Millender, Joan Bartik, Joy Lyons, Clara Hicks, Mary Crone, Clare Van Lent. (front row) Morag Burgess, Mary Horrell [holding Jamal Lyons-- guest of Grandma Joy!] Linda Breazeale, Diana Bridges, and Sr. Liz Donahue, O S F , guest from Dubuque, Iowa.

The 'Remnant' Increases

At our February Community and Associate gathering, only a 'remnant' were able to attend. Illness and bad weather shrank the ranks by two-thirds.

On our day of prayer and commitment, April 29th, we fared better. Though five Community and two associates were unable to attend, we welcomed Mary Crone as a candidate for Community and Joy Lyons as she renewed her commitment as a Companion. Sue Millender, Linda Breazeale, and Diana Bridges renewed their commitments as Associates, and Joan Bartik became a new Associate.


to join us in our ministry here. Let your creativity be your guide. Pray for us. Become a Partner with a regular donation. Be a speaker at or for The Dwelling Place. Organize a group to come. Volunteer service for a day. We need you.



September 1, 2006 Vol. 20, No. 3

How You Can Help Us---

The mission of The Dwelling Place is to provide an environment that is conducive to silence, solitude, and prayer. This enables retreatants to experience movement toward a deeper awareness of self, creation, and the Holy.

We so appreciate the support that you give us in so many ways. Some suggestions follow. They are meant purely as jumping off places for your own creativity and the movement of the Holy Spirit...

Be a Dwelling Place Partner

Tell Your Personal Story Seek Funding Sponsor a Day Become a Dwelling Place Associate

Mary, Philip Knepp and his son

The Bridge of our Dreams

Mary, Philip Knepp and his son pose on the bridge for its first photo. Mr. Knepp operates Grassy Ridge Gazebos in Brooksville and created it to assist in the drainage behind Umbria Guest House.

The bridge has been resting during the drought we are experiencing, but it has assisted in cornering a pesky armadillo! We are continuing to dream about a larger bridge like it to replace the old one near the pond.

www.News Break

If you would like to receive our newsletter electronically, Lee Terrio, our webmaster, will arrange this. Click the link under the newsletter date on this page [Notify me of newsletter updates] to request a special electronic copy delivered directly to your in-box.

Sr. Janet Kreber

Sr. Mary Colleen Hoversten


In Faith We Build

Learn more about our "In Faith We Build" Campaign.

Clare's Corner

I read a reflection recently by Fr. John Czyzynsky, S C J , on prayer. It held much wisdom, and I'd like to share a bit of it with you.

Guidelines for prayer might be: -SHOW UP-  -SHUT UP-  -SPEAK UP-  -LISTEN UP-  -GIVE UP-

Donation Increase

Due to our rising costs it is necessary for us to raise our suggested weekend donations. Beginning Sept. 1, 2006 the donation requested for a weekend retreat will be $150. For an overnight only on the weekend: $75. This is in line with other retreat houses in the nation. The donation for a weekday will be raised to $70. The actual cost is double that; donations must cover the remainder.

Mary and Clare with Black Cart #2

John Deere Has a New Helper

Drawn by our trusty John Deere, a black cart for hauling various contents is an essential piece of machinery around here.

After 20 years of hard labor, the original Black Cart #1 had carried its last load. Clare and Mary (photo at the right) enjoy the fruits of their handiwork after assembling its successor, Black Cart #2!


Consider bringing your prayer group, R C I A team, or a group of faith-filled friends to experience the peace and renewal that so many individuals experience here. Bring your own director or know that a staff director is available. Tailor the time to fit your need for silence, sharing, prayer, and input. Check our web site for options available. Contact Sheila Avery, secretary, for information.



December 1, 2006 Vol. 20, No. 4

Our Prayer for You

Clare, Mary, Morag, and Sheila
May the angels' cry of "Peace, Goodwill, and Glory to God" resound in your heart this Christmas.

Toni Maloney

Toni Maloney:
March 14, 1932 - August 21, 2006

On August 21, Antonia C. "Toni" Maloney, a dear friend and former Associate of The Dwelling Place, relocated to heaven.

We cherish happy memories, especially of John and Toni dancing at our Community parties.

Toni is still with us in our hearts, and we know that her prayers are continuing to guard and guide us. Our prayers are with John, her beloved husband, and their six children as they grieve, that they will know the Lord's strength and comfort.

From our heart . .

Please consider our annual appeal prayerfully. We rely on you, our faithful supporters, to help us continue our ministry by closing the operating gap.

For Your schedule . .

Hermitages are often available on weekends when we have groups in Umbria. Give us a call to check on this when you want to get away to be still.

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!

Lou de Filippo

Nails, anyone?

One of the first people ever to lend a hand (or do I mean a hammer?) was Lou de Filippo in 1987. Pictured here in October, 2006, Lou is hard at work still, straightening up the bridge.

A Retreatant's Reflection

Richard Babb from Tupelo writes,

The last two years of my life I have been going through what a friend of mine describes as an "emotional hurricane." I have been going through a mid-life divorce. It is something I never thought I would have to endure. And while I have known anguish before, there is little that causes more anguish in a person's life than a bitter divorce.

Some years ago, I read that the most important decision you can make is who you marry. After 25 years and a divorce, I can verify the wisdom of that statement. In all candor, I think we (church and society) do a pretty poor job in helping young people decide on a proper mate. And so when the marriage goes south, what do you do? How do you get through the numbing feelings, the anxiety, and, sometimes, overwhelming worries? And can anything good possibly come out of the experience?

The fact is, I have found that divorce can be a time for spiritual growth. It is my observation and experience that when life hits you like a truck, you can either be embittered by the experience, or you can somehow work toward a spiritual transformation.

Last year while in the throes of a divorce, I made the journey to The Dwelling Place for a divorce recovery workshop. While there was no way to heal the loss of a marriage in two or three days, it was a time to begin the movement toward spiritual transformation, toward healing by facing the past and boldly looking toward the future. That is what the workshop did for me.

I found that I wasn't alone in my feelings and grief and worries. And it wasn't some kind of encounter group exercise from the 60's. It consisted of people who were trying to make sense of a very difficult life experience, who were trying to find their way out to a new place in life.

So if you are going through the emotional hurricane of divorce or know someone who is in the water hanging on for dear life, I would highly recommend sojourning to The Dwelling Place for the Rebuilding workshop. It may help put you on dry land.

Some of the Knights of Columbus from Annunciation returning the glider to its site by the pond after it had a thorough scrubbing to remove years of "green".

Many Thanks to . . .

Looking for the perfect gift?

What about a Dwelling Place Gift Certificate? Available in any amount.

Dwelling Place Community and Associates

Community and Associates gathered for retreat in September.

We shared our journeys, both spiritual and temporal, around a video study by Ronald Rolheiser (Oh yes, we celebrated as well).

Interested in being part of this group that conducts the ministry of the Dwelling Place? Contact us for more information.

Clare's Corner

As I write this column, November is less than half over, and we are focused on preparing a quiet celebration for the Twentieth Anniversary of the Dwelling Place. Twenty years ago, January 2, 1987, Sr. Maggie Kosse and I arrived here, the site of a former Trappist monastery. We knew no one, nor they us nor what we were about.

The 17 acres that was to be called The Dwelling Place was principally a bull pasture upon which sat two old trailers and a lovely chapel amidst a clump of aging loblollies and a few pecan saplings. The only light that guided us was the Lord's unmistakeable call to come to this spot in Mississippi, and call it The Dwelling Place.

As I reflect these past twenty years, I am overwhelmed by God's faithfulness manifest through the treasure of so many friends and supporters who have believed in this call here, also. The task was/is an impossible one, using every bit of strength we can muster and trusting totally on the generosity of faithfilled people for its continued existence.

Over the years God has worked countless miracles in the lives of those who have come here for prayer and solitude. We can never proclaim those marvels but we can shout to the housetops celebrating the miraculous development of the site into the place of beauty that it is today. Three hermitages, a guest house and staff house, countless trees, and stations of the cross are all gifts of donors which make this oasis of prayer possible.

For our competent staff to function efficiently, the next part of our development becomes more imperative. The old trailer which still serves as the administrative/dining facility is badly in need of replacement. Many of you have responded to our pleas in our capital campaign. Though a significant step forward, the cost far exceeds the amount raised. Since summer we have redoubled our efforts at fund raising through seeking grants from foundations.

Pray that they respond to our requests.

Clare's signature

Even as we celebrate God's faithfulness to us during these past 20 years, we are constantly challenged to live a ruthless trust in God's design for this ministry. Each day is a faith walk, aware that God uses weak, yet willing followers to do the work of the Kingdom.

Learn more about our "In Faith We Build" Campaign.