Advent Centering Prayer Weekend Retreat

Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton: Traveling Your Road to Joy
Being Re-scheduled due to COVID

Presenter: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, C.A.

Bridges to Contemplative Living leads participants on a journey toward personal spiritual transformation and a more contemplative and peace-filled life.

This retreat is designed for those with an established daily practice of centering prayer who wish to deepen the transforming love of God in the midst of silence and solitude.

The weekend will include centering prayer, conferences with contemplative dialogue, personal time, meals and Sunday liturgy.

Sr. Ruth Ann is a Retreat Director and Spiritual Director. She does spiritual direction during retreats, as well as on an on-going basis. Sr. Ruth Ann has her degree in Religious Studies from St. Francis University. She is also a graduate of Shalem’s Spiritual Guidance Program.


Icon Writing Workshop : St. Paul the Apostle

Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante

Come join us at Bethany Retreat Center and spend a week immersed in prayer while you paint an image of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles with accomplished iconographer and teacher, Mary Kay Laplante. Mary Kay will share her love of icons and the spirit-filled process by which they are created. And as we paint Paul’s image, we will contemplate and discuss his teachings.

Icons remind us of our connection to Christ and the saints and are beautiful instruments of prayer and contemplation. Painting an icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline. People of all levels of artistic talent are invited into this contemplative process. Mary Kay will guide you and encourage you with step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials. The underlying theology of each step will also be emphasized.

The days will include class instruction and painting, personal prayer time, optional Centering Prayer, daily Mass and home-cooked meals provided by the Bethany staff. Please let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary needs.

For more information contact Mary Kay Laplante at mklaplante11@gmail.com

“My entire prayer life has been deepened from your workshop. I can’t thank you enough. Looking forward to working closer with you.”
~ Susan Gregonis 2019 workshop participant


Contemplative Attitudes Through the Practice of Centering Prayer

A Retreat Based on the work of David Frenette

Presenter: Doug Laplante

In the teachings of Jesus, there are prayers, and then there is prayer—the silent, loving communion with the divine, beyond words or ritual. With Father Thomas Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart, hundreds of thousands have discovered the transformative power of Centering Prayer as a form of Christian meditation. Now, with The Path of Centering Prayer, Keating’s senior student, friend, and adviser, David Frenette, reveals the profound depths of this practice, facilitating a deepening of intimacy with God.

The retreat will focus on the contemplative attitudes, as reflected upon in David’s essential book. It will also include silence and Centering Prayer.

Contemplative attitudes, the fruits of contemplative prayer, are revealed in daily life and we will explore how to foster them. Such qualities as simplicity, gentleness, letting go, resting in God, embracing, and finally integrating one’s experience of prayer into one’s daily life, are paired with David’s Guided Meditations.

Doug Laplante has been coming to Bethany as a Retreatant and Volunteer for many years, and in January of 2020 Doug joined the staff as the Executive Director of Young People Who Care. He has been practicing Centering Prayer for many years and regularly teaches others through church and prison ministry. Doug and his wife Kay live on the grounds of Bethany.


Virtual Confirmation Retreat

Baptized to Be God’s Witnesses as Priest, Prophet and King

Presenter: Sr. Suzanne Thibault

This retreat entails 5 Zoom Sessions with process material for candidate and sponsor to work on together before next Zoom Session. It will provide an opportunity to explore the connection of Baptism and Confirmation, as well as the topic of growing in the Catholic Faith beyond Confirmation.

Sr. Suzanne lives at Bethany Retreat Center. She has been directing retreats for youth, kindergarten to college age since 1987, 33 years. Using education, process activities and
reflection techniques, Sr. Suzanne has the ability to bring the faith journey alive and make it relevant to today. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, Sr. Suzanne is offering virtual retreats by integrating Zoom Sessions with process and reflection materials between sessions.

Participants receive a Certificate of Completion when the retreat is over.

For more information contact Sr. Suzanne at bethanyyouthcenter@gmail.com


The Language of the Soul

Discovering your Inner Self with Archetypes & Essential Oils

Come to Bethany and discover who you truly are by leaning about your personal archetypes. Archetypes are the language of the soul, and in this workshop, you will discover the four primary archetypes in your wheel of origin that make you the person you are. By the end of the retreat on Saturday, you will leave with practical tips for engaging your own archetypal survival patterns to nurture and comfort yourself and others. You also will leave with an essential oil blend to use in prayer, meditation and working with your archetypes to achieve balance and peace in your life. Come for a potentially life-changing experience. If you have any questions about this retreat content, please email barb@barbkl.com

Barb Kurkas Lee is a registered Aromatherapist and Certified Archetypal Consultant. She offers in-depth education on personal archetypes and essential oils which lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships and understanding of self and others.


Introduction to Centering Prayer

Fostering Intimacy with God Through Silence & Stillness

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran, Sr Ruth Ann Madera & Sr Suzanne Thibault

Sourced from the depths of Christian contemplative tradition, Centering Prayer has emerged as a life-changing prayer practice for those who embrace it. Centering Prayer is a receptive method of Christian silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer; prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. Its purpose is to foster a deeper intimacy with Christ through the silence and stillness of contemplative prayer.

Join us to learn the method or to renew your practice of this ancient form of silent prayer.


Native Drumming Retreat ~ A Unique Drumming Experience

Presenter: Tom Campbell

Our Drums will echo again at Bethany! Our drumming retreat will include lunch, group drumming, storytelling, ritual, ceremony, prayer and an experience of Native American culture. If you attended previously, there is always something new and if you haven’t experienced the power of group drumming, join us for this daylong retreat.

Drumming connects you to a deeper part of yourself and the Great Spirit – God.

No experience necessary
Drums will be provided OR bring your own.

Tom Campbell has led the last six drumming retreats at Bethany; close to 50 people attended each of the last two years! He has been leading retreats for 35 years, and he has been drumming over 30 years; leading drumming workshops/retreats in homes, churches, community centers and businesses. Tom has studied Native American spirituality for 30 years. Its Creator-centered approach to life with a reverence toward the Earth and all creatures on it, resonates with his Catholic upbringing.


Exploring the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice

Facilitator: Carmel Stabley

Join us at Bethany Retreat Center’s outdoor labyrinth as Carmel Stabley leads us in this 4000-year old practice of reflective labyrinth walking. Come away with an understanding of the Classic and Medieval labyrinth patterns and brief history; personalize your walk with intentions, and deepen your experience through a process called Key Word Journaling. Nurture your inner self and explore the many reasons for and benefits of walking this ancient path. No previous experience needed. All faith traditions welcome.

This day will include conferences, time to walk the labyrinth, lunch and quiet time.

“Perhaps there is a pattern set up in heaven for one who desires to see it. Having seen it, to find it in himself” ~ PLATO

Carmel Stabley is an Advanced-Certified Labyrinth Facilitator with training through Veriditas in Chartres, France, as well as labyrinth studies and pilgrimages in Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Iona. Carmel hosts monthly walks and seminars throughout PA and the surrounding area where she creates labyrinth experiences and provides teaching on the history, sacred geometry and mental, physical and spiritual benefits of the walking meditation practice. She is the originator of the Labyrinth Connection of Susquehanna Valley, a group of walkers with a newsletter and Facebook page by the same name which connects walkers to events. She is also a certified Contemplative Leader, and the Regional Representatives Chairperson for the Labyrinth Society.

A graduate of Faith School of Theology in Charleston, Maine (now Faith Bible College International), Carmel holds a bachelor’s degree in Theological Studies with a minor in Pastoral Theology Cum Laude. She also serves at the Hempfield United Methodist Church on Stony Battery Road in Lancaster, PA as a Retreat Planner, Spiritual Formation Leader and Steward of the Prayer Chapel. Through silence and solitude her personal Centering Prayer and labyrinth practice have guided her to service in these and other areas such as Prayer Companioning.

What Others Experienced:
“I experience insight and development of helpful ideas. Made me feel extremely grateful.”

“The energy of the day was fantastic.”

“A renewed sense of trust in the universe to provide and take care of me, calm and peace.”


Personal Days of Renewal

You are invited to take a day or days of personal retreat to focus on your “self care”. How am I taking care of myself spiritually, physically, and emotionally? Bethany Retreat Center is offering days of renewal for those who want to come for a day, overnight, or a few days to join the Sisters for prayer and daily Mass, walk the grounds, opportunity for reconciliation, and home-cooked meals.


7-Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat

Facilitators: Sr. Rita Panciera, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, & Fr. Philip Billotte

Bethany Retreat Center is providing an in-depth retreat for those with experience with Centering Prayer who wish to enter into a more profound level of spiritual practice. The retreat enables the participants to deepen their contemplative journey in the contemporary world. Integration of contemplation and activity are cultivated in the silence, solitude, community support and guidance in the time at Bethany.

Requirements for Making the Intensive Retreat:
Contemplative Outreach, under whose auspices these retreats are given, require that those who participate in the Intensive Retreat be regular practitioners of Centering.

Limited Scholarship Available

Also available during this week is a 7-Day Post Intensive Retreat, the purpose of which is to assist the participants in entering into a more intimate silence in a nurturing, supportive environment that combines both solitude and community. The Post Intensive is a next step into a profound silence and stillness in order to facilitate a more intimate union with God.

Requirements for Making the Post-Intensive Retreat

  1. Be regular practitioners of Centering Prayer
  2. Have made a 5 day or longer Intensive Retreat prior to making the Post-Intensive Retreat

(Massage Therapist available – not included in the cost.)



Sr. Therese Dush Memorial Mass & Dinner

Please save the date: We will celebrate a commemorative Mass and meal at Bethany Retreat Center. We hope you can join us to commemorate the anniversary of Sr. Therese’s passing into eternal and everlasting life.


11th Step Retreat

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran, Carolyn Yankovitz & Michael Gidlewski

11th Step – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

This retreat is for people who participate in any 12-Step Recovery program to introduce or expand and deepen the experience of Contemplative Prayer as part of a daily 11th Step practice.

Centering Prayer is a simple method of prayer rooted in ancient Christian practice that opens us to God’s presence and divine healing. It is simply moving deep within ourselves, in silence, saying nothing, asking for nothing, just being and allowing our Higher Power to be with us.

The retreat will offer an environment of solitude and silence in community with time for reflection, fellowship, and a 12-Step Meeting. For those new to Contemplative Prayer, the retreat is an Introductory Workshop on Centering Prayer in the context of 12-Step recovery. For participants who have been with us before, there is an optional Track II program and an extra retreat day and night, beginning Thursday.

Please let us know of your interest in Track II and/or the extra day when you register.

Retreat staff have been active in 12-Step programs for many years. They have completed the Formation for Contemplative Service process of Contemplative Outreach as well as the Formation Training for Presenting and Leading Retreats for Contemplative Prayer and the 12-Steps. Brochures available.


Contemplative Outreach of Central Pa Presents:

Welcoming Prayer Retreat

Presenter: Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in the events and situations in daily life. It provides a method of being aware of our physical and emotional reactions and a method of dealing with them prayerfully in the midst of daily life.

The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored – in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Contemplative Prayer.

The time together will be both retreat and workshop, with opportunity for silence and Centering Prayer in community. Also, participants will be introduced to the actual method of the Welcoming Prayer and provided with opportunities to practice. Discussions will include the human condition and the false-self system as the conceptual background of the Welcoming Prayer practice. There will be time for focusing, working with what is happening in our bodies and practicing the prayer.

Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM is a Sister of Mercy and Director of the House of Prayer in Erie, PA. She has been an experienced practitioner of Centering Prayer for many years and has facilitated many Centering Prayer retreats and programs, both at Bethany Retreat Center and elsewhere.
Brochures available.


“The Seven Mansions of the Interior Castle”
5-Day Contemplative Prayer Retreat

Presenter: Susan Komis

Come away for a special Retreat offering sacred space and time to explore the Seven Mansions of Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. Teresa is a one of Christianity’s great mystics and teachers. The Interior Castle is her final work and one of the most profound literary works on contemplation and experiential mysticism.

Prayer stood at the center of Teresa’s teaching. Her fidelity to prayer was a means of deepening her intimate relationship with God. She considered a life of prayer in terms of love.

Together we will reflect on the light of Teresa’s timeless insights into the human soul, its journey towards God, and how Teresa’s teaching is relevant to our personal contemporary spiritual journey today.

This retreat includes presentations, small group process with periods of Centering Prayer, reflection, silence, and daily Mass.

Susan Komis is the former Director of Chapter Programs & Services of Contemplative Outreach and continues to serve Contemplative Outreach as a commissioned presenter and retreat director. She is Pastoral Minister and has been active in adult faith development, spiritual direction and interspiritual dialogue. Susan previously worked in Human Resources for two corporations.

The Interior Castle is one of her favorite topics in the contemplative dimension. Susan has offered this retreat throughout the United States and Canada. She resides in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, is married and the mother of adult children and grandchildren.

Suggested reading for this is “The Interior Castle” – some retreatants found reading the book was most helpful after attending the retreat. It will be available in our bookstore as well.


Neuroscience & Well Being:

How Spirituality Affects our Health & DNA

Presenter: Ann Kertz Kernion

Our spiritual habits affect our physical and emotional health in a variety of ways. We’ll explore recent findings in neuroscience and positive psychology, showing how practices such as Mindfulness, Meditation, Gratitude, Compassion, and Community slow aging in our cells, keep our brains healthy and nimble, reduce stress, and bring more health and happiness into our lives. We will also look at other habits that support brain health and keep our telomeres, the end caps of our chromosomes, from prematurely fraying. This multimedia presentation aims to educate and entertain.

We will incorporate these spiritual practices into our days, along with discussion and activities, allowing us to share and experience some of their benefits. Time for personal reflection and quiet will be provided, as well.

Anne Kertz Kernion (BS in Environmental Engineering, Penn State; MA in Theology, Duquesne University, Certificate in Science of Happiness, UC Berkeley, currently a graduate student in Positive Psychology, U. of Missouri) is the owner/artist of Cards by Anne, an inspirational greeting card company founded in 1986. Her book, “A Year of Spiritual Companionship” was published by SkyLight Paths in 2016. Anne’s cards are available online (cardsbyanne.com) and in hundreds of stores. For 14 years, Anne taught “Cross-Cultural Understanding of Religious Meaning” at Carlow University. For seven years, she was also an adjunct professor at CCAC, teaching courses ranging from Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Nutrition, to World Religions and Ethics. Currently, Anne is a frequent lecturer and retreat leader, presenting topics that combine neuroscience and spirituality to groups around the country. Anne is married to Jack and they have 3 grown children and 6 grandchildren.


Mother of Jesus, Mother of Us All

Presenters: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, C.A. & Monica Nachman

You are invited to spend a day praying with Mary who leads up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A wonderful gift for Moms; bring your mother, daughter, sister, or a friend. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.


Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

Including Presenter’s Training

Facilitators: Therese Saulnier, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera & Nancy Cord Baran

What is Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service?

The purpose of Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service, including Presenter’s Training, is to provide an intensive Christian community experience in order to better understand and grasp the essentials of the Centering Prayer method and thus be able to share it appropriately with others.

The theory is “Good practitioners make good presenters, facilitators, and administrative helpers.” Because the group spends four days focusing on the Centering Prayer practice itself, they better understand the essentials of Centering Prayer and the many nuances of the practice. This deeper understanding helps them to better recognize that contemplative service is service freely offered without expectation of return.

Contemplative Service is not tied to roles or only those willing to function in a specific way. Rather one sees a need and fills it. Contemplative Service is God in us serving God in others.

The schedule includes:

  • One and a half hours of Centering Prayer daily
  • Presentations by the staff of one conference of Session one of An Introduction to Centering Prayer each morning.
  • Participants present portions of the same material to a small group in the afternoons.
  • Discussion of Issue

Criteria for Register for: Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

  • Participated in “An Introduction to Centering Prayer”
  • Established Centering Prayer practice – minimum of daily two twenty-minute periods ~ for three years.
  • Participated in an 8- or 10-day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat, either before attending Formation or within one year after attending Formation, and before becoming fully commissioned. If intensive retreats are not geographically available
  • (or) Participated in a 5 or 7 day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat (or) Participated in four weekend silent Centering Prayer Retreats over previous 3 years
  • Studied Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating. Preferably has also read/studied Invitation to Love, Mystery of Christ, and/or Spiritual Journey materials by Thomas Keating (Tapes, CDs, DVDs or transcripts).
  • Has been recommended by a Chapter Coordinator or Contact Person, or (in an underdeveloped chapter) by a commissioned presenter who is willing to mentor and recommend him/her for full commissioning after serving a minimum of one year as a presenter-in-training.

Advent Centering Prayer Weekend Retreat

Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton: Traveling Your Road to Joy
Being Re-scheduled due to COVID

Presenter: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, C.A.

Bridges to Contemplative Living leads participants on a journey toward personal spiritual transformation and a more contemplative and peace-filled life.

This retreat is designed for those with an established daily practice of centering prayer who wish to deepen the transforming love of God in the midst of silence and solitude.

The weekend will include centering prayer, conferences with contemplative dialogue, personal time, meals and Sunday liturgy.

Sr. Ruth Ann is a Retreat Director and Spiritual Director. She does spiritual direction during retreats, as well as on an on-going basis. Sr. Ruth Ann has her degree in Religious Studies from St. Francis University. She is also a graduate of Shalem’s Spiritual Guidance Program.


Icon Writing Workshop : St. Paul the Apostle

Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante

Come join us at Bethany Retreat Center and spend a week immersed in prayer while you paint an image of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles with accomplished iconographer and teacher, Mary Kay Laplante. Mary Kay will share her love of icons and the spirit-filled process by which they are created. And as we paint Paul’s image, we will contemplate and discuss his teachings.

Icons remind us of our connection to Christ and the saints and are beautiful instruments of prayer and contemplation. Painting an icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline. People of all levels of artistic talent are invited into this contemplative process. Mary Kay will guide you and encourage you with step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials. The underlying theology of each step will also be emphasized.

The days will include class instruction and painting, personal prayer time, optional Centering Prayer, daily Mass and home-cooked meals provided by the Bethany staff. Please let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary needs.

For more information contact Mary Kay Laplante at mklaplante11@gmail.com

“My entire prayer life has been deepened from your workshop. I can’t thank you enough. Looking forward to working closer with you.”
~ Susan Gregonis 2019 workshop participant


Contemplative Attitudes Through the Practice of Centering Prayer

A Retreat Based on the work of David Frenette

Presenter: Doug Laplante

In the teachings of Jesus, there are prayers, and then there is prayer—the silent, loving communion with the divine, beyond words or ritual. With Father Thomas Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart, hundreds of thousands have discovered the transformative power of Centering Prayer as a form of Christian meditation. Now, with The Path of Centering Prayer, Keating’s senior student, friend, and adviser, David Frenette, reveals the profound depths of this practice, facilitating a deepening of intimacy with God.

The retreat will focus on the contemplative attitudes, as reflected upon in David’s essential book. It will also include silence and Centering Prayer.

Contemplative attitudes, the fruits of contemplative prayer, are revealed in daily life and we will explore how to foster them. Such qualities as simplicity, gentleness, letting go, resting in God, embracing, and finally integrating one’s experience of prayer into one’s daily life, are paired with David’s Guided Meditations.

Doug Laplante has been coming to Bethany as a Retreatant and Volunteer for many years, and in January of 2020 Doug joined the staff as the Executive Director of Young People Who Care. He has been practicing Centering Prayer for many years and regularly teaches others through church and prison ministry. Doug and his wife Kay live on the grounds of Bethany.


Virtual Confirmation Retreat

Baptized to Be God’s Witnesses as Priest, Prophet and King

Presenter: Sr. Suzanne Thibault

This retreat entails 5 Zoom Sessions with process material for candidate and sponsor to work on together before next Zoom Session. It will provide an opportunity to explore the connection of Baptism and Confirmation, as well as the topic of growing in the Catholic Faith beyond Confirmation.

Sr. Suzanne lives at Bethany Retreat Center. She has been directing retreats for youth, kindergarten to college age since 1987, 33 years. Using education, process activities and
reflection techniques, Sr. Suzanne has the ability to bring the faith journey alive and make it relevant to today. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, Sr. Suzanne is offering virtual retreats by integrating Zoom Sessions with process and reflection materials between sessions.

Participants receive a Certificate of Completion when the retreat is over.

For more information contact Sr. Suzanne at bethanyyouthcenter@gmail.com


The Language of the Soul

Discovering your Inner Self with Archetypes & Essential Oils

Come to Bethany and discover who you truly are by leaning about your personal archetypes. Archetypes are the language of the soul, and in this workshop, you will discover the four primary archetypes in your wheel of origin that make you the person you are. By the end of the retreat on Saturday, you will leave with practical tips for engaging your own archetypal survival patterns to nurture and comfort yourself and others. You also will leave with an essential oil blend to use in prayer, meditation and working with your archetypes to achieve balance and peace in your life. Come for a potentially life-changing experience. If you have any questions about this retreat content, please email barb@barbkl.com

Barb Kurkas Lee is a registered Aromatherapist and Certified Archetypal Consultant. She offers in-depth education on personal archetypes and essential oils which lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships and understanding of self and others.


Introduction to Centering Prayer

Fostering Intimacy with God Through Silence & Stillness

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran, Sr Ruth Ann Madera & Sr Suzanne Thibault

Sourced from the depths of Christian contemplative tradition, Centering Prayer has emerged as a life-changing prayer practice for those who embrace it. Centering Prayer is a receptive method of Christian silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer; prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. Its purpose is to foster a deeper intimacy with Christ through the silence and stillness of contemplative prayer.

Join us to learn the method or to renew your practice of this ancient form of silent prayer.


Native Drumming Retreat ~ A Unique Drumming Experience

Presenter: Tom Campbell

Our Drums will echo again at Bethany! Our drumming retreat will include lunch, group drumming, storytelling, ritual, ceremony, prayer and an experience of Native American culture. If you attended previously, there is always something new and if you haven’t experienced the power of group drumming, join us for this daylong retreat.

Drumming connects you to a deeper part of yourself and the Great Spirit – God.

No experience necessary
Drums will be provided OR bring your own.

Tom Campbell has led the last six drumming retreats at Bethany; close to 50 people attended each of the last two years! He has been leading retreats for 35 years, and he has been drumming over 30 years; leading drumming workshops/retreats in homes, churches, community centers and businesses. Tom has studied Native American spirituality for 30 years. Its Creator-centered approach to life with a reverence toward the Earth and all creatures on it, resonates with his Catholic upbringing.


Exploring the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice

Facilitator: Carmel Stabley

Join us at Bethany Retreat Center’s outdoor labyrinth as Carmel Stabley leads us in this 4000-year old practice of reflective labyrinth walking. Come away with an understanding of the Classic and Medieval labyrinth patterns and brief history; personalize your walk with intentions, and deepen your experience through a process called Key Word Journaling. Nurture your inner self and explore the many reasons for and benefits of walking this ancient path. No previous experience needed. All faith traditions welcome.

This day will include conferences, time to walk the labyrinth, lunch and quiet time.

“Perhaps there is a pattern set up in heaven for one who desires to see it. Having seen it, to find it in himself” ~ PLATO

Carmel Stabley is an Advanced-Certified Labyrinth Facilitator with training through Veriditas in Chartres, France, as well as labyrinth studies and pilgrimages in Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Iona. Carmel hosts monthly walks and seminars throughout PA and the surrounding area where she creates labyrinth experiences and provides teaching on the history, sacred geometry and mental, physical and spiritual benefits of the walking meditation practice. She is the originator of the Labyrinth Connection of Susquehanna Valley, a group of walkers with a newsletter and Facebook page by the same name which connects walkers to events. She is also a certified Contemplative Leader, and the Regional Representatives Chairperson for the Labyrinth Society.

A graduate of Faith School of Theology in Charleston, Maine (now Faith Bible College International), Carmel holds a bachelor’s degree in Theological Studies with a minor in Pastoral Theology Cum Laude. She also serves at the Hempfield United Methodist Church on Stony Battery Road in Lancaster, PA as a Retreat Planner, Spiritual Formation Leader and Steward of the Prayer Chapel. Through silence and solitude her personal Centering Prayer and labyrinth practice have guided her to service in these and other areas such as Prayer Companioning.

What Others Experienced:
“I experience insight and development of helpful ideas. Made me feel extremely grateful.”

“The energy of the day was fantastic.”

“A renewed sense of trust in the universe to provide and take care of me, calm and peace.”


Personal Days of Renewal

You are invited to take a day or days of personal retreat to focus on your “self care”. How am I taking care of myself spiritually, physically, and emotionally? Bethany Retreat Center is offering days of renewal for those who want to come for a day, overnight, or a few days to join the Sisters for prayer and daily Mass, walk the grounds, opportunity for reconciliation, and home-cooked meals.


7-Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat

Facilitators: Sr. Rita Panciera, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, & Fr. Philip Billotte

Bethany Retreat Center is providing an in-depth retreat for those with experience with Centering Prayer who wish to enter into a more profound level of spiritual practice. The retreat enables the participants to deepen their contemplative journey in the contemporary world. Integration of contemplation and activity are cultivated in the silence, solitude, community support and guidance in the time at Bethany.

Requirements for Making the Intensive Retreat:
Contemplative Outreach, under whose auspices these retreats are given, require that those who participate in the Intensive Retreat be regular practitioners of Centering.

Limited Scholarship Available

Also available during this week is a 7-Day Post Intensive Retreat, the purpose of which is to assist the participants in entering into a more intimate silence in a nurturing, supportive environment that combines both solitude and community. The Post Intensive is a next step into a profound silence and stillness in order to facilitate a more intimate union with God.

Requirements for Making the Post-Intensive Retreat

  1. Be regular practitioners of Centering Prayer
  2. Have made a 5 day or longer Intensive Retreat prior to making the Post-Intensive Retreat

(Massage Therapist available – not included in the cost.)



Sr. Therese Dush Memorial Mass & Dinner

Please save the date: We will celebrate a commemorative Mass and meal at Bethany Retreat Center. We hope you can join us to commemorate the anniversary of Sr. Therese’s passing into eternal and everlasting life.


11th Step Retreat

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran, Carolyn Yankovitz & Michael Gidlewski

11th Step – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

This retreat is for people who participate in any 12-Step Recovery program to introduce or expand and deepen the experience of Contemplative Prayer as part of a daily 11th Step practice.

Centering Prayer is a simple method of prayer rooted in ancient Christian practice that opens us to God’s presence and divine healing. It is simply moving deep within ourselves, in silence, saying nothing, asking for nothing, just being and allowing our Higher Power to be with us.

The retreat will offer an environment of solitude and silence in community with time for reflection, fellowship, and a 12-Step Meeting. For those new to Contemplative Prayer, the retreat is an Introductory Workshop on Centering Prayer in the context of 12-Step recovery. For participants who have been with us before, there is an optional Track II program and an extra retreat day and night, beginning Thursday.

Please let us know of your interest in Track II and/or the extra day when you register.

Retreat staff have been active in 12-Step programs for many years. They have completed the Formation for Contemplative Service process of Contemplative Outreach as well as the Formation Training for Presenting and Leading Retreats for Contemplative Prayer and the 12-Steps. Brochures available.


Contemplative Outreach of Central Pa Presents:

Welcoming Prayer Retreat

Presenter: Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in the events and situations in daily life. It provides a method of being aware of our physical and emotional reactions and a method of dealing with them prayerfully in the midst of daily life.

The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored – in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Contemplative Prayer.

The time together will be both retreat and workshop, with opportunity for silence and Centering Prayer in community. Also, participants will be introduced to the actual method of the Welcoming Prayer and provided with opportunities to practice. Discussions will include the human condition and the false-self system as the conceptual background of the Welcoming Prayer practice. There will be time for focusing, working with what is happening in our bodies and practicing the prayer.

Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM is a Sister of Mercy and Director of the House of Prayer in Erie, PA. She has been an experienced practitioner of Centering Prayer for many years and has facilitated many Centering Prayer retreats and programs, both at Bethany Retreat Center and elsewhere.
Brochures available.


“The Seven Mansions of the Interior Castle”
5-Day Contemplative Prayer Retreat

Presenter: Susan Komis

Come away for a special Retreat offering sacred space and time to explore the Seven Mansions of Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. Teresa is a one of Christianity’s great mystics and teachers. The Interior Castle is her final work and one of the most profound literary works on contemplation and experiential mysticism.

Prayer stood at the center of Teresa’s teaching. Her fidelity to prayer was a means of deepening her intimate relationship with God. She considered a life of prayer in terms of love.

Together we will reflect on the light of Teresa’s timeless insights into the human soul, its journey towards God, and how Teresa’s teaching is relevant to our personal contemporary spiritual journey today.

This retreat includes presentations, small group process with periods of Centering Prayer, reflection, silence, and daily Mass.

Susan Komis is the former Director of Chapter Programs & Services of Contemplative Outreach and continues to serve Contemplative Outreach as a commissioned presenter and retreat director. She is Pastoral Minister and has been active in adult faith development, spiritual direction and interspiritual dialogue. Susan previously worked in Human Resources for two corporations.

The Interior Castle is one of her favorite topics in the contemplative dimension. Susan has offered this retreat throughout the United States and Canada. She resides in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, is married and the mother of adult children and grandchildren.

Suggested reading for this is “The Interior Castle” – some retreatants found reading the book was most helpful after attending the retreat. It will be available in our bookstore as well.


Neuroscience & Well Being:

How Spirituality Affects our Health & DNA

Presenter: Ann Kertz Kernion

Our spiritual habits affect our physical and emotional health in a variety of ways. We’ll explore recent findings in neuroscience and positive psychology, showing how practices such as Mindfulness, Meditation, Gratitude, Compassion, and Community slow aging in our cells, keep our brains healthy and nimble, reduce stress, and bring more health and happiness into our lives. We will also look at other habits that support brain health and keep our telomeres, the end caps of our chromosomes, from prematurely fraying. This multimedia presentation aims to educate and entertain.

We will incorporate these spiritual practices into our days, along with discussion and activities, allowing us to share and experience some of their benefits. Time for personal reflection and quiet will be provided, as well.

Anne Kertz Kernion (BS in Environmental Engineering, Penn State; MA in Theology, Duquesne University, Certificate in Science of Happiness, UC Berkeley, currently a graduate student in Positive Psychology, U. of Missouri) is the owner/artist of Cards by Anne, an inspirational greeting card company founded in 1986. Her book, “A Year of Spiritual Companionship” was published by SkyLight Paths in 2016. Anne’s cards are available online (cardsbyanne.com) and in hundreds of stores. For 14 years, Anne taught “Cross-Cultural Understanding of Religious Meaning” at Carlow University. For seven years, she was also an adjunct professor at CCAC, teaching courses ranging from Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Nutrition, to World Religions and Ethics. Currently, Anne is a frequent lecturer and retreat leader, presenting topics that combine neuroscience and spirituality to groups around the country. Anne is married to Jack and they have 3 grown children and 6 grandchildren.


Mother of Jesus, Mother of Us All

Presenters: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, C.A. & Monica Nachman

You are invited to spend a day praying with Mary who leads up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A wonderful gift for Moms; bring your mother, daughter, sister, or a friend. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.


Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

Including Presenter’s Training

Facilitators: Therese Saulnier, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera & Nancy Cord Baran

What is Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service?

The purpose of Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service, including Presenter’s Training, is to provide an intensive Christian community experience in order to better understand and grasp the essentials of the Centering Prayer method and thus be able to share it appropriately with others.

The theory is “Good practitioners make good presenters, facilitators, and administrative helpers.” Because the group spends four days focusing on the Centering Prayer practice itself, they better understand the essentials of Centering Prayer and the many nuances of the practice. This deeper understanding helps them to better recognize that contemplative service is service freely offered without expectation of return.

Contemplative Service is not tied to roles or only those willing to function in a specific way. Rather one sees a need and fills it. Contemplative Service is God in us serving God in others.

The schedule includes:

  • One and a half hours of Centering Prayer daily
  • Presentations by the staff of one conference of Session one of An Introduction to Centering Prayer each morning.
  • Participants present portions of the same material to a small group in the afternoons.
  • Discussion of Issue

Criteria for Register for: Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

  • Participated in “An Introduction to Centering Prayer”
  • Established Centering Prayer practice – minimum of daily two twenty-minute periods ~ for three years.
  • Participated in an 8- or 10-day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat, either before attending Formation or within one year after attending Formation, and before becoming fully commissioned. If intensive retreats are not geographically available
  • (or) Participated in a 5 or 7 day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat (or) Participated in four weekend silent Centering Prayer Retreats over previous 3 years
  • Studied Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating. Preferably has also read/studied Invitation to Love, Mystery of Christ, and/or Spiritual Journey materials by Thomas Keating (Tapes, CDs, DVDs or transcripts).
  • Has been recommended by a Chapter Coordinator or Contact Person, or (in an underdeveloped chapter) by a commissioned presenter who is willing to mentor and recommend him/her for full commissioning after serving a minimum of one year as a presenter-in-training.