June September December Close


March 1, 2009 Vol. 23, No. 1

Dear Friends,

We make haste slowly. Though we and the building were ready for it to arrive in early December, the new administration building was delivered on February 10! The rains in December and January made it impossible for work to be done amidst the black clay!

Finally at the end of January and the first part of February, between showers, stumps were removed, the pad was laid and cement pillars and footers were poured.

At this printing, we are still awaiting the plumbing, electrical, and telephone hookups. Maybe by mid-March we will have moving day! It will be quite a switch from our present facility to one 80' long.

...a time to tear down and
a time to build...
Ecclesiastes 3:3

Then we can begin the bricking, adding a front porch, and landscaping.

While the re-building was happening in the center, all around it was destruction. The tops and branches of the trees that were logged earlier needed to be burned and the area cleared. These mighty jaws conveyed the debris to be burned. A huge fire burned or smoldered for several weeks! Marshmallows or weiners, anyone?

While workers were re-creating a landscape, God was re-creating people's lives on retreat. We welcomed two groups from Annunciation parish in Columbus, the Phoenix group, and many individuals on directed retreats. We were continually reminded of the purpose of our ministry here.

Our new Administration building


We are so grateful for all of you who are making our development possible by your support of our capital campaign and our fundraisers. We are also grateful for all of you who come on retreat and place yourself on this holy ground and for those of you who organize groups to come. Without your support this ministry could not continue. Know that you are remembered in our daily prayer.

Remember the 2009 NO-SHOW games of the Dwelling Place Angels?

Well, the Angels flew across the finish line, the half-time show was not held and our season ticket sales were out of sight!

The Angels scored $12,943.41

Thank You.

Extra yarn, anyone?

Mary is putting out a plea for yarn that anyone might have left over from projects, completed or abandoned. Help her Honduran mission project. Just bring them to the Dwelling Place next time you come.

(back row) Sue Millender, Karen Henry, Diana Bridges, Mary Horrell, Jill Joseph, and Sr. Liz Donahue. (front row) Laurie Burney, Clare Van Lent, Clara Hicks, Mary Ann Dee, and Linda Breazeale. [Oh, and Prince is presiding over all.]

Dwelling Place Community, Associates, and friends

On the January 17-18 weekend, these women met for a time of retreat and planning.

Come check us out; male associates are welcome, too!

Our campaign continues

Our critical need ...of a dining facility continues to be a serious need.
Our dream ...of an administration building is becoming a reality.

As of March 1, you have purchased $11,900 worth of bricks. Purchase a brick in memory of or in honor of a loved one. The offering is $100. There will be three lines of 18 characters and spaces per line. Contact us online or call Sheila Avery, secretary, at The Dwelling Place.

Mardi Gras- February 6, 2009

Our Second Annual Mardi Gras Drawdown was a 'smashing' success. We approached the event with concern because of the severe economic downturn that is gripping the nation. But we were encouraged and are so grateful to all of our friends (and relatives) that took a chance on this $2,000 grand prize--and in doing so, supported our ministry.

Wink Wright, Columbus

Jack and Cindy Huerkamp, Lynn and Al Wyman, Jesse Gist, Macon. Owners of 2nd last ticket drawn!

The winner of the $2,000 was Mary's brother, John Horrell, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. No, Mary did not tape his name on the bottom of the barrel to ensure a family prize! The Dwelling Place was also the winner, though many prizes were given out to those present. Tentatively, the total raised was $9,000.

David and Diana Bridges, Linda and John Breazeale, Starkville.

Francis and Susan Baird, Alan Smith, Columbus.

There was no doubt this was an early Mardi Gras celebration when one entered the Lee Home and observed the atmosphere created by Jean Wrather and Anna House. Thank you both.

Ginny Mahoney, Joann and Howard Ferguson, Columbus

The band, led by Tom Hannigan.

Thanks, also, to all who responded to Karen Henry's request for providing hors d'oeuvres for the celebration--and to those who kept the table tastefully full.

Tony Torres, the Thirst Slayer.

During the course of the evening, Tom Hannigan and the band provided the music-- some oldies, but all 'goodies.' They encouraged song as well as dance. We celebrated having our own special ensemble for this unique gathering. Thanks, Tom and fellow music makers.

And, of course, thanks to 'Thirst Slayer' Tony Torres who kept everyone happy taking care of the beverages to complete the great foodmakers.

Create your own Retreat

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.

Contact Sheila Avery, secretary, 662-738-5348 for information.



June 1, 2009 Vol. 23, No. 2

The rains have filled our pond

Dear Friends,

Yes, that is our pond--as viewed from the bridge! After a nearly three year drought, we have had a gazillion inches of rain and the pond is overflowing! It is symbolic of God's faithfulness to us --overflowing!

In March, the water, sewer, and electricity were hooked up and work was begun to upgrade our telephone system. Then in mid-March students from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota came to volunteer during their spring break and helped us move in.

Mount Marty volunteers

At the left is the 'family picture' that was taken before they left--nine eager volunteers and four staff (that's counting the dogs). Besides helping here they tutored in Noxubee schools and recreated with the children at Palmer Home. Earlier in May I paid a return visit to Mount Marty and they welcomed me with an indoor picnic the day after graduation. We are so grateful for their generous service.

In April, the telephones and computers were networked and my computer was upgraded to an O S X . Now, two months later, most of the kinks are worked out of both.

All the branches and tree tops have been burned; the yards have been cleaned up and mowed. The parking lots and lawns still bear the marks of trenching for electric, telephone, and sewer lines; however, mother nature keeps making all things new.

Assisi Center Takes Shape

Here is the present state of Assisi administration building. We now have the base bricked in and have begun getting bids on a porch and deck. Visible is the board walk we have to get to the front door over the muddy landscaping.

Assisi administration building

Our new gift shop

Our new staff/board room

Though the exterior is still in process, the interior is busy with the workings of a retreat center. The center photo is the gathering space with the gift shop in the background. The offices are down a corridor to the left. The bottom picture shows off our staff/board room. Quite an improvement over the old building. Now, if we only had a new dining room/kitchen!!

We must still use the existing dining room and we have fast learned how far it is from the administration building. Oh, for a golf cart! However, a new dining room would do!

As you can imagine, with this project sandwiched between our retreats, we continue to catch ourselves coming and going. With the funds raised from our capital campaign--minus the downturn in the market last fall-- we have been able to meet our building needs thus far; however, we have now reached the limits of our resources for the remainder of the job. This will slow us down considerably!


Ideas, anyone?

Mary Joins Mission to Honduras

Mary Horrell will be part of the Salt and Light mission group that will volunteer in Honduras from July 15-22. As part of a much larger group, she will join others teaching women how to crochet and knit.

She is most grateful for all those who have donated yarn and is still taking any gift of additional yarn at this time. We will miss her but her ability to speak Spanish is an asset for her and the entire group.

Our Campaign Continues

Our critical need ...of a dining facility continues to be a serious need.
Our dream ...of an administration building is becoming a reality.

As of March 1, you have purchased $12,00 worth of bricks. Purchase a brick in memory of or in honor of a loved one. The offering is $100. There will be three lines of 18 characters and spaces per line. Contact us online or call Sheila Avery, secretary, at The Dwelling Place.

Retreat Centers Network Mid-Gulf States

April 27- Clare and Mary attended the first gathering of the newly formed Retreat Centers Network--Mid-Gulf States at St. Mary of the Pines, Chatawa, Mississippi. Nine retreat centers from Mississippi and Louisiana were represented.


If you have special dietary needs, please let us know.

Please do not bring your pet. It would not be fair to your pet or ours. Thank you.

When the organization Retreats International closed its doors last December due to dwindling membership, the houses in Mississippi and Louisiana saw value in continuing to share with other professionals in the same ministry. Though many retreat centers have closed in the last few years because of lack of funds, it is more imperative that those in existence support one another and share expertise and ideas. The Dwelling Place had been a member of Retreats International since 1987 and is taking leadership in forming this new group.

The new group is very intentional about inviting houses of all Christian faiths. Chatawa and The Dwelling Place are the only Catholic retreat houses in Mississippi.

Take a chance

KC's Raffle Heats Up

The Knights of Columbus of St. Joseph Parish, Starkville are selling chances on a Kenmore Five Burner L P Gas Grill (Cadillac of the grill family) to benefit the ministry at The Dwelling Place. Now it doesn't get better than that!!

You can't lose. You are a winner no matter what. You either win a top of the line grill ($700 value) and assist in spreading the reign of God in Mississippi--or you receive an eternal, priceless reward for your generosity. You are a winner!

Tickets are:1 - $1; 6 - $5; 15 - $10

Drawing will be July 5 in St. Joseph Parish Hall.
Tickets are available from: Mike Kassouf, 202 Greenbriar, Starkville, Mississippi 39759, kassouf@bellsouth.net

Need Some Private Time?

We schedule retreats at specific times but we welcome you to come privately for retreat anytime it is convenient for you and possible for us. Just check our website and send in your request.

Create Your Own Retreat

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 website for options available. Contact Sheila Avery, secretary, 662-738-5348 for information.

(seated, l to r) Joan Bartik, Tom Hannigan, Diana Bridges. (standing) Mary, Clare, John Maloney, Mary Crone, Karen Henry. (absent) Dr. Francis Baird, Linda Breazeale, Richard Babb, and Mary Pat Curtis.

Board Advises Staff

The advisory board met April 21 to assist The Dwelling Place staff in their ministry. They are an invaluable aid to us. The first Advisory board was formed in 1989 and have been an integral part of the ministry here ever since.

After serious evaluation of our fall festival, we have made the decision to change the emphasis to an October Fest. And that it would be held in a population center, not here on site. So ---keep tuned. This group will help these ideas become a reality. Want to be on our planning committee??



September 1, 2009 Vol. 23, No. 3 [p. 1]

Sr. Margaret Feldner, O S F

Sr. Margaret Feldner, O S F
to join Dwelling Place staff

Sr. Margaret Feldner is a member of the Dubuque Franciscan Community. She is a native of Chicago.

Throughout her career her interests covered many fields. She taught at all levels from first grade through graduate school. Part of her educational experience included working in Archdiocesan offices supervising schools.

Margaret has worked in administrative positions as assistant superintendent of schools, chair of two education departments at the college level, vice president for academic affairs, and president of a university. Most recently she served as Program Director at Excel in Okolona.

Margaret says she is looking forward to ministering at the Dwelling Place. To be a part of bringing about the dream that Clare has had for a place of peace, spirituality, and welcome in the Franciscan tradition is now a part of her dream for the future.

Update on Assisi Center

Members of the Dipsy Doodle Gang

Much as happened since our last newsletter. In June, the Dipsy Doodle Gang from Cookville, Tennessee built our deck. They are Jack Zimmerman, formerly of Columbus, Ken Reinard, James Decker, Fran Fritz with help from Bill Campbell and Tom Ebner of Columbus.

Assisi Center gets "decked out"

Within the month, Decks Unlimited completed the front porch, steps, and ramp. At the end of July Southern Awning installed the gutters. Since then we have had more dirt hauled in, made plans for an extension to the parking lot, lay a sidewalk, and complete the landscaping. Things are looking more 'normal' all the time.

(l to r) Billy Moore, Mike Dustan, Clare, and Sheila

Billy Moore --- Winner of Grill

Billy Moore looks on as Mike Dustan, K C Grand Knight from St. Joe Council in Starkville, presents a check for $2751.75 to Clare Van Lent and Mary Horrell on July 5. Billy was the winner of the raffle the K C s held as a benefit for The Dwelling Place. We were all winners that day!!

Thanks to all for your generous response to our letter for assistance for "operating expenses" last month. Your generosity has moved us ahead. Know you are in our prayer.

Sr. Janet Kreber (left) and Sr. Clara Streng

Farmer's Market Vendor

Pictured left are Sr. Janet Kreber and Sr. Clara Streng as they joined Mary Horrell (behind the camera) in selling Dwelling Place wares on August 1 at Columbus Farmer's Market. Dwelling Place jams, pecans, pickles, and kitchen items were on sale.

Sr. Janet had made the jam, her usual gift as she comes down from Iowa each summer, and Sr. Clara helped for many hours in the library. Thanks to both of them.


The old trailer that has served for 50 years as housing unit and administration building is now on our list to be sold.

Ads in the Noxubee papers have brought many potential buyers, but moving it is the problem.


Octoberfest, October 31, 2009, St. Joseph Church, Starkville, 11:00 - 3:00 p.m.



December 1, 2009 Vol. 23, No. 4

Sidewalks for Assisi

Gone are the stairs from the dining room to the old trailer

Dear Dwelling Place friends,

These months continue to be a time of transitions here at The Dwelling Place. Since moving into Assisi Center last spring, we have worked between rain storms. We had a Relocation Sale in October in which we sold many things we did not need in the new administration building. It went well.

William Buchanan works the power

Next we attempted to lay sidewalks in front of Assisi. After more than a month's delay these were finished, our parking lot repaired and enlarged. We are SO grateful for the sidewalks. We 'walked the plank' for months! The next step-- install some underground drainage to handle all the runoff coming from the north part of the campus!

Remember the old trailer that we vacated? Well, for months we ran ads in the local papers and walked with many people as they came to inspect the building. Many wanted it but no one could move it so, as this goes to the printer, we are waiting for Columbus Scrap Metal to have a look.

But we had to prepare for the absence of the trailer so-- our first task was to disconnect all the utilities. William Buchanan (see photo) is shown disconnecting the electric power. The trick was that we still needed electricity in the dining room!

Gradually the telephone, propane, water, and septic systems were all disconnected while maintaining services to the dining room. Porches, shrubbery, flowers, and sidewalks came next. THEN came the stairs from the dining room leading into the trailer.

A builder had been contacted to erect the outside wall and create the roof where it had been disconnected from the trailer. This whole event is historic.

(left) Sheila & Elizabeth Morissey

The Library Turns Over a New Leaf

Every few years it is necessary to bring the library 'up to date', clearing out the older books and making room for newer additions. Pictured left are Sheila Avery and Elizabeth Morrissey, volunteer from Mt. Angel, Oregon, as they clear book titles from the card catalog.

Sr. Clara Streng, Joan Bartik, and Mary Ethridge and others have also spent long hours helping the staff with the task. We are proud of the good resources we have available in our library. We welcome any help in this monumental undertaking!

Sr. Margie and her brother, Mike

Erecting New Doors of Beauty

Sr. Margie is holding the new screen door as her brother, Mike Feldner from Palatine, Illinois, put the screws in the final hinge. Decorative screen doors were put on Clare and Maria Houses during their visit this fall.

But Sr. Margie has erected other doors of beauty, also. She has planted bulbs, flowers, weeded the herb bed and is now preparing a winter garden. With the continuous flowering camilias and the colorful fall foliage, God's beauty is abundant.

Clare, Margie, Mary, Sheila

Prayers for a blessed Advent and Christmas Season for you and yours from The Dwelling Place Staff.

(left) Mary Ethridge and Christina Jurisik

Our First Annual Oktober Fest was great fun! Though it rained daily all the previous week and all the outdoor activities had to be planned for inside, the sun arrived just in time for dinner and brought many to enjoy the day.

The parishioners of St. Joseph Parish, Starkville, our hosts for the site, were so gracious. Pictured (left) before the Unique Treasures booth are Mary Ethridge from Meridian and Christina Jurisik from Starkville, our bona fide German beauty in her dirndl.

The Sweet Shoppe

The Sweet Shoppe was a real hit and a busy place most of the afternoon. Cindy Huerkamp from Macon chaired this booth which contained German and American pastries.

(left) Carla Bohna and Anne Marie Johnson

Lunches of brats, pretzels, and drinks were a treat for everyone. The Knights of Columbus from St. Joe grilled the brats as well as assisting in so many ways.

Childrens' games were great fun even though they were moved indoors. The photo at the left shows Carla Bohna giving Anne Marie Johnson, both from Starkville, a facial touchup.

We thank all who helped make the day special. We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of so many friends.

Clare, Mary, and friends

The Surrey with (no) fringe on top

Our latest mode of transportation-- for humans and four-legged friends! Count heads from left to right: Clare, Shadow, Mary, Anna Rodriguez, and Prince on the floor!

The golf cart is a gift from Phil Hubbard. Mr. Jim Sisson from Starkville brought it to us and keeps it in running order! What did we ever do without it? Want a ride? Good in rain or shine!

Mardi Gras: February 5, 2010

It seems a little out of season to be preparing for Mardi Gras when we are just beginning the Advent season, but since the next newsletter does not go to press until March 1, we are including the invitation now.

You will see the ticket information on the front page of our printed newsletter; however, for those of you who live at a distance and will have no one approach you for a ticket, we would be glad to do the transaction for you through a phone call to us directly.

Several people may share the price of a ticket--and share the winnings--if your name is drawn. If you aren't familiar with a "draw down", it's like a raffle in reverse.

The first ticket drawn will receive $100, then every 10th ticket drawn will receive a prize until there is only one ticket left. That is the winner of the $2000! The drawing is done in the context of a great party.

Last year's party was great. The food and music were great, too!

On-line details