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2017 & 2018 Calendar


4-Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat
October 26-29, 2017 (Thurs. to Sun.)

This retreat gives Centering Prayer practitioners an opportunity to deepen their practice and relationship with God by joining with other in a silence community the experience of immersion in Contemplative Prayer apart from ordinary life. This retreat will include several periods of prayer, and daily Mass. There will only be one video conference and the rest of the retreat will be in deep silence and solitude.

Requirements: Established daily practice of Centering Prayer.

Arrival: 5pm - Dinner at 6pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

Offering: $200 per person
Deposit: $75
Save $15 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

Centering Prayer Advent Weekend Retreat
December 1-3, 2017

Theme: Advent & Christmas Series
Bridges to Contemplative Living with writings from Fr. Thomas Merton

Take some time during this Holy Season of Advent and begin your Advent journey with us! The retreat will be on the Advent and Christmas Series of Bridged to Contemplative Living with writings from Fr. Thomas Merton.
The weekend will include conferences, prayer, personal time, meals, and Mass in an environment of silence. 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.

Requirements: Established daily practice of Centering Prayer.

Arrival: 5pm, Dinner at 6pm
Departure: 11am Sunday
Offering: $190 per person
Includes: overnights, meals, & retreat handouts
Deposit: $75
Save $15 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

Open Studio Days
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

This is a day where you can bring any creative project you're working on -- painting, drawing, knitting, quilting, crocheting, writing, etc., -- and be together with kindred spirits while pursuing your creative endeavor. Experience fellowship, and the peacefulness of the Retreat Center; be inspired and inspire each other in creativity. There is a big box of watercolor paint supplies available in case you'd like to work with those. Come join us!

The day is from 10 am-2 pm; lunch included (free will offering).

Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service
Including Presenter's Training
January 25-31, 2018 (Thurs. to Wed.)

Facilitators: Therese Saulnier & Sr. Ruth Ann Madera

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.


  • $600 - Room & Board, private room
  • $25 - Retreat materials & Presenter Handbook

Deposit: $150 non-refundable deposit


Holy Week Triduum Retreat
March 29 - April 1, 2018

Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday, participants can share in the Holy Week Liturgies and silent atmosphere of Bethany. Participants not registered for the full retreat may attend any of the services.

Holy Thursday
5:30pm – Seder Meal~Please make reservation
7:00pm – Liturgy & Adoration
9:00pm – Tenebrae

Good Friday
10am – Outdoor Stations of the Cross
2:00pm – Celebration of Our Lord’s Passion
7:30pm – Veneration of the Cross

Holy Saturday
10pm – Easter Vigil

Arrival: 4pm - Seder at 5:30
Departure: 11am Sunday
Offering: $100 for full retreat/per person
Deposit: $25

8 Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat
God is Love ~ The Heart of All Creation

June 10-17, 2018 (Sun. to Sun)
August 5-12, 2018 (Sun. to Sun)

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. God is Love: The Heart of All Creation continues and builds on the works of Thomas Keating over the past 30+ years, beginning with the Spiritual Journey Series. It offers a vision of hope and a view of reality that at once integrates the sciences, religion, and humankind's place in the cosmos as divine in origin, unifying in purpose, unfolding in it grandeur.


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

Arrival: 5pm & Supper at 6pm
Departure: 11am, Sunday
Offering: $425 for Shared/Semi-Private Room (not married couples)
$475 for Private Room
$525 for Private Room w/Bath
Deposit: $150
Limited Scholarships Available
Save $25 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

8-Day POST Intensive ContempLative Prayer Retreat
June 10-17, 2018 (Sun. to Sun)
August 5-12, 2018 (Sun. to Sun)

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

The purpose of the retreat 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.)

Arrival: 5pm & Supper at 6pm
Departure: 11am, Sunday
Offering: $425 for Shared/semi Private Room (not married couples)
for Private Room
$525 for Private Room w/Bath
Deposit: $150
Limited Scholarships Available
Save $25 - Bring your own single sheets & towels

Drumming & Native American Spirituality
2018 Date to be Announced

Presenter: Tom Campbell

Join us for our fourth drumming retreat at Bethany Retreat Center! This year we will delve into Native American Spirituality and its deep connection to the Creator - God. The day will include group drumming, ritual, prayer, storytelling and an experience of Native American Spirituality.


Tom Campbell has led retreats for over 30 years and he has been drumming 28 years, leading drumming experiences with men, women, couples and mixed groups. For the past 3 years, Tom has led groups of people through drumming experiences here at Bethany. Tom has studied Native American spirituality for over 28 years. Its Creator-centered approach to life with a reverence toward the Earth and all creatures on it, resonates with his Catholic upbringing.


Sr. Rita Panciera, RSMContemplative Outreach of Central Pa Presents:
Welcoming Prayer Retreat
2018 Dates to be Announced

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.

Icon Writing Workshop - Bethany Retreat CenterIcon Writing Workshop
2018 Dates to be Announced

Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante

Come to Bethany Retreat Center for a special opportunity to learn about and create an icon in the ancient Byzantine style. Mary Kay Laplante will lead the class in creating the icon shown here of Christ, Pantocrator using ancient techniques and all-natural materials rich with symbolic meaning.

Previous artistic experience is not necessary, as writing an icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline. Students will receive step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials will be provided. The underlying theology of each technical step will 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. Materials to be provided include: a prepared icon board, set of brushes, palette, 23K gold leaf, pigments, and all other necessary materials to complete the icon.

For more information contact: Mary Kay Laplante at

Testimonial: I never imagined I’d actually write an icon myself…

"I first met Mary Kay’s icons at a Good Friday gathering in 2015. I felt so much energy I couldn’t take my eyes off them, but I never imagined I’d write an icon myself. I have never painted ordinary human faces, to say nothing of those of Mary and baby Jesus. The 2016 workshop was a truly Blessed Time -- 7 days of Art as Meditation and Prayer in the relative silence of Bethany Retreat Center, imbibing the immense symbolism in the icon and the icon-writing process, as Mary Kay patiently and gently coached us in our work. The results were beyond my wildest dreams -- Mary and baby Jesus emerged surrounded by halos of 23kt gold. Some of us came with very little art experience, yet each of our icons is unique and beautiful.

I love my Tenderness icon, and I look forward to writing Christ, Pantocrator this year. I hope to see you there!"

- Shih-In Ma, Bellefonte, PA, 2016 Icon Workshop participant

Contemplative Outreach of Central Pa. presents:
11th Step retreat
2018 Dates to be Announced

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran & Michael Gidlewski

This retreat is for people in 12 Step Recovery programs to introduce or expand and deepen the experience of Contemplative Prayer as part of a daily 12-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 Contemplative Prayer in the context of 12-Step recovery.

For those with an established Centering Prayer practice, there will be the option of reviewing any part of the Introductory Workshop or participating in a Track Two if there is enough interest. (Please let us know 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.

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