Nestled amongst the trees of Holly, Michigan is the Maryville Retreat Center. Perched atop a hill on Elliott Lake, one can’t help but to marvel at God’s creations while wandering through the grounds. It is the perfect place to reflect on the words of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’. In the spirit of St Francis of Assisi—who calls us to live in reverence for all God’s creation—Pope Francis’ letter calls on the world to remember that people and planet are part of one family: the Earth is our common home and we must take swift, unified, global action to take care of it. As a Franciscan community, Felician properties have implemented ‘green’ initiatives for years, such as rainwater preservation, organic gardening, and the installation of solar panels.
It is in that spirit, that the Maryville Retreat Center has chosen to dive deeper into Laudato Si’ this autumn with the Saturday speaker series, Voices of Compassion. The series begins in September and runs through mid-November, featuring topics including: “Embracing the World With Compassion”, “Click Responsibly”, “Created in the Image of our Loving God”, “Ecology: God’s Art of Nonviolent Power”, and “Even the Wind and the Sea Obey Him”. The sessions include conversations about the intersections of theology, modernity, and ecology, and how to incorporate them into your everyday life.
Time of discernment is necessary to truly understand how to apply these concepts in your personal and community life. The Maryville Retreat Center offers directed silent retreats in promotion of compassion and spiritual reflection. New this year, is a weekly “retreat in daily life” guided by The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. This eight-month program of prayer and meetings with a spiritual director, includes meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help find God in the silence.
For more information on all of Maryville’s autumn programming, visit their website at https://www.maryvilleretreatcenter.org/.