March 1, 1999 Vol. 13, No. 1 [p. 1]

Dear Friends-

As this goes to press, Lent is just getting underway but spring is already in full swing. The daffodils and Japanese magnolias have greeted the season a full two weeks ahead of schedule. Eagerly they have shared their beauty, then suffered the consequences of the expected cold spell. I am sure there is a meditation in that somewhere! With eagerness we may run ahead of schedule-- but we still give glory to God by our willing hearts!

A friend of mine who has hermitages in Illinois sent the Ojibwa saying above. How's that for pulling us up short when we become shortsighted! It takes faith to be aware of the bigger picture that God has in mind for us and then allow God to carry us in that direction.

Have you ever thought of spending a week of your vacation on retreat? That is the 'why' behind our week-long retreats during the summer months. Get off the fast track, enter the silence, let God love you and hold you and let us meet your every need for a week!

We invite you also to join in doing the never ending tasks here-- from mailing this newsletter to upkeep of the lawns and buildings. Last spring we had Spruce up Days. This year, since either Mary or I are usually always here, come help us for a day or even an hour or two. Besides the companionship and fun, you can get the joy of helping the needy, chalk up some of our $100,000 in donated service while we get the work done and make the operating expenses more manageable besides. Everyone wins!

Or maybe you would want to combine the two-- have some time to yourself, offer service, and join our Community in prayer and meals. Enjoy the best of two worlds- besides defraying the cost of the retreat! Think about it!!


As you enter into the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ this Lent-Easter season, may you experience the freedom of this salvation event in your life. Come spend some of your Holy Week with us and with Corpus Christi Church, Macon.

July 12-18-- Handwriting Analysis
and the Directed Retreat Experience

Handwriting analysis can be a useful tool in self-knowledge. Graphoanalysis is the official name for the science that deals with the strokes of handwriting. Just as our finger prints and our facial features are uniquely ours and disclose our personality, so is our handwriting.

In the hands of an experienced spiritual director who is a certified graphoanalyst, one can be guided in personal and spiritual growth. Sr. Mary Engler is qualified in both areas and will combine the two as she leads the person through a 6 day retreat.

To participate in this experience, it is necessary to send two pages of handwriting on unlined paper written with pen at two different times prior to the retreat. Writing should be natural writing-- not copied from a book.

Please submit both examples one month prior to the dates of the retreat to: Sr. Mary E. Engler, 1001 Davis Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa 52001. Fee for the week is $260. There is an additional fee of $70 for the handwriting analysis.

Please note: You need not have the analysis done if you wish to make the retreat with Sr. Mary E.


We continue to offer opportunities for spiritual renewal and a place and time for solitude. One of the retreats we have offered and will offer in April is the Christian Zen Experience. It joins a bit of the Eastern tradition with ours of the West.

For centuries, meditation and contemplation have been gifts the Catholic Church has offered the world. Personal prayer is a necessary component for seeking union with God. Christ is the central focus of all Christian meditation.

Martin Davis, who conducts the retreat, says "For many, the two words are an oxymoron. They think that Christianity and Zen simply do not belong together. 'Zen' is a Japanese word that literally means 'meditation.' The fundamental practice of Zen is called zazen, that is, 'sitting meditation.'

"The purpose of zazen is to empty the self in order to become as receptive as possible. For the Christian, emptying the self mirrors the kenosis or 'emptying' of Christ described by St. Paul to the Philippians. ...The practitioner of Christian Zen who empties him/herself of ego clears a place deep within for the indwelling of the Divine Presence."

In this retreat a common practice of both East and West is used to enhance our Christian journey with the Spirit. Also in April Sr. Therese Jacobs is leading us in Centering Prayer. There are many similarities. Quieting the body and mind in the stillness to focus on the Word is central. We appreciate both these prayer styles. Thank you both.

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