Friday, August 16, 2013

10 best things about the Jesuit Center in Wernersville

1. The Amish Room

as a Pennsylvanian German raised Lutheran, there is something very welcoming of being able to eat a pretzel anytime I want one.

2. The Grounds

as one who loves to roam, there is plenty of space to do that. But I have to admit that my favorite place to roam is into the UCC cemetery where I always have a good chance to see a bluebird.

3. Books

The library not only has the full set of the Oxford English Dictionary, but is also where I found the complete stories of Flannery O'Connor. The bookstore is well stocked and a fine place to visit. The only thing that stops me from buying books is knowing I own so many I have not read.

4. The Postage Stamp Messiah 

5. Stained Glass

The sanctuary has amazing glass and then there is the pleasant surprise of seeing my own piece on the third floor. A reminder of all the creative moments I have had at the Jesuit Center

7. The pool

I don't really dig swimming, but the last place I swam was there.

8. The Pool Table

I really do dig pool tables and rarely have a chance to play.  I have even had silent games when a fellow lover of the sport arrived upon the scene.

9. The Feminine Images of God Retreat

Sister Maria has developed this silent retreat that led me to know Sophia. How many pieces of art have I created with 21 pieces because of that week long retreat getting to know Lady Wisdom and her 21 attributes.

10. The Hildreth Meiere Mosaic

A reminder of how art can transform a life. It was seeing this mosaic that sparked the desire inside of Margaret to become a mosaic artist. 


  1. Where is the postage stamp messiah?

    Let's see - in no particular order:

    1. The balcony in the sanctuary.
    2. The crypt chapel.
    3. Watching the moon rise over the big field outside the former main entryway.
    4. My spiritual director there.
    5. Reading in the library.
    6. Eating breakfast on the top of the cloister walk.
    7. Being welcomed as a Protestant.
    8. The Adirondack chairs.
    9. The pond.
    10. The little house down on the edge of the property.

    1. The postage stamp Messiah is outside the main chapel (west side)!

    2. You know I never have any idea where west and east are when I'm there -- thanks to the tour guides who gave me my introduction and got me so turned around that after four visits I still have to pause 20-30 times a day to figure out where I'm going.

    3. So you are saying the Jesuit Center should hire Michelle and I as official greeters.

    4. Ok-- its funny that I recognize the people who commented here from dotMagis! I asked Wayne his opinion of Wernersville, and he obviously loves it. It is neat to see otehrs like it too. Trying to find a date for a silent retreat this fall before baby #3 comes!

  2. my virtual visit...very nice.

  3. do you use other ways of communication in a silent retreat, or is that cheating? like can you make signs with your hands, or write? just wondering.

    1. Nance ~ not cheating at all. A man waived me over to see a mourning dove nest and we had a very brief chat. I draw and then hand out bookmarks on the doors of all the other retreaters. If they know it was me, they whisper thanks in passing. Some leave notes on my door. Eye contact is fine. Thanking someone for holding a door or saying good morning as you pass someone is OK in my book though I don't say good morning to everyone. But there are moments I feel moved.

      What always needs to be kept in mind is how will breaking silence affect the other. On my way to the car to leave my retreat, the man who showed me the nest was willing to leave silence and have a conversation with me. He expressed his gratitude for some bird info I had passed on to him on the day he had waived me over... and I told him he had an amazing smile that had brightened 21 silent meals. I feel my retreat was deepened by those moments with him.

      A friend, who I met at the retreat center and knew I was leaving before her, was willing to chat with me before I left. There the key was to be removed from common areas so our conversation did not break the silence of others.

      the silence is not the death of communication, but you must respect the simple fact that everyone else there came to be in its presence.


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