2020-2021 Retreat Schedule
Includes COVID-19 Precautions

LAST UPDATED 8/14/2020

UPDATE: We are restarting some retreats where we can do so safely. We will use thermal body temperature and blood-oxygen levels as arrival screening. Hand washing and hard-surface sanitizing will be done, before, during and at the end of each day. We will utilize 6-foot or greater spacing both indoors and outdoors. We will opt for outdoor activities whenever and wherever possible including having the option for eating meals outdoors. Meals will be done either with servers or using pre-boxed food and bottled beverages to reduce the possibility of cross contact. We will be following WHO, CDC & PA guidelines regarding group sizes and masking as well. Space on all retreats is limited.

Advent Centering Prayer Weekend Retreat

Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton: Traveling Your Road to Joy
December 4 – 6, 2020 (Friday – Sunday)

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.

Offering: $198.00 (includes overnight accommodations, meals and Thomas Merton’s book.)
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3:00 pm Friday for 5:30 dinner
Departure: 11:00 am, Sunday

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Personal Days of Retreat and Renewal

December 8-12, 2020 (Tues – Sat) – SPACE IS LIMITED

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. We continue to take the COVID pandemic very seriously and are taking many safety precautions to keep you and our staff safe. If you do not reside in a COVID “hot spot,” are not experiencing any symptoms, or have been around anyone that has been exposed to the virus, you are welcome to come.

Offering: $88 per night (includes meals)
Deposit: $25 (non-refundable)
Arrival: Anytime after 9am (whatever day you attend)

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Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

Including Presenter’s Training
January, 2021 Dates to be Announced

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.

To register fill out the online reservation form. We will then email you an application form and reference form to fill out and send back for approval to attend the training.

Offering: $625 per person

Deposit: $150 (non-refundable)
Arrival: Any time after 4:00 pm with dinner at 6:00
Departure: after lunch on Friday

Opening to Our Pre-existing Union With God

March 19-21, 2021

Presenter: Keith Kristich

So many of us grow up with the message that God is the great, old Guy-in-the-Sky. This God loves the world, but is ultimately separate from it and separate from us.

But the great contemplatives say otherwise, that God is the Heart of our hearts and the very Center of our souls. From the contemplative perspective, the spiritual journey isn’t one in which we get closer to God, but rather about waking up to the reality that we are already one!

Join this weekend retreat as we explore Centering Prayer as a path of waking up to our pre-existing oneness with God. We are not ultimately separate from God, and we’ll explore the significance of opening to this reality through teaching, reflection, and centering prayer practice.

Keith Kristich is certified with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats, as well as, with Contemplative Outreach as a presenter of Centering Prayer.

Please let us know of your interest in an extra day when you register.

Offering: $190 per person
Deposit: $75 (non-refundable)
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm with dinner at 6pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

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

Being Re-scheduled
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.

Please let us know of your interest in an extra day when you register.

Offering: $335 per person
Deposit: $80 (non-refundable)
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm Sunday for 5:30pm dinner
Departure: 1pm, Thursday

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.

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Neuroscience & Well Being:

How Spirituality Affects our Health & DNA


Due to COVID space is limited for overnight guests.
Zoom and Commuter Options Available.

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.

Please let us know of your interest in an extra day when you register.

Offering: $225.00 (On Site Attendance), $175.00 (Commuter) $145.00 (Zoom Attendance)
Deposit: $75 (non-refundable)
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm Friday, dinner at 5:30pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

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Mother of Jesus, Mother of Us All
8:30am to 3:30pm

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.

Offering: $30 per person, with lunch at noon
Deposit: $15 (non-refundable)

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Click here for a list of our “staple” retreats that aren’t currently scheduled.