A SPECIAL NOTE: It is with a certain sadness that I need to tell you that Bethany Spring is going to be in transition starting on November 16, 2019. Bethany Spring will be moving to Springfield, Kentucky. The present site of Bethany Spring is going to be what it was before the Sisters of Charity turned a rundown, empty house that was part of a distillery, into Bethany Spring. The present site will be once again part of a distillery. The new owner is going to use the main house and the Emmaus Cottage as a bed and breakfast as part of the distillery operation. We felt that the area will change to the extent that our prayer-filled retreat center will lose some of the peace and quiet that has been part of Bethany Spring for over 40 years.
Plans are to re-open, as we did on March 1, 2014, this time in Springfield, Kentucky on March 1, 2020.
It has been a good 5 years and 8 months; but progress has finally caught up with Bethany Spring. The newsletter will continue and we are working on making the Guided Retreats available again as well. We are also going to build a hermitage and a meditation space.
We are all subject to the ancient law of Impermanence. So we go forth with as much blind faith that brought us to extend the life of the present Bethany Spring almost 6 years, and take the message of the hospitality of Sister Mary Madeline and the spiritual inspiration of Thomas Merton to the new home of Bethany Spring in Springfield, Kentucky with the help of God, the Universal Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
GUIDED RETREATS FOR 2019
The Sacred Feminine and Self-Care.
May 31 - June 2
Led by: Lori-Lyn Hurley
Our capacity to love and hold others is limited by our capacity to love and hold ourselves, and allow ourselves to be held and loved by the Divine. This retreat will offer a space for filling up your inner well through group meditation, contemplative prayer, and reading and journal writing exercises. As we navigate our inner landscape in community, we travel deeper on our journey into the heart of God.
Bio: Lori-Lyn is an artist and writer. She creates Personal Prayer Paintings and daily art journal reflections on the sacred feminine, and leads workshops and retreats for women who are ready to explore the connection between creative voice and spirituality. She is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lexington, Ky. You can find Lori-Lyn at: www.lorilynhurley.com
Suggested Donation: By Donation and Includes Lodging, all Meals, the Retreat and related materials.
To Sign Up for the Retreat: Contact: Bethany Spring Retreat Center, 115 Dee Head Road, New Haven, KY. 40051
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: 502-507-8576
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Contemplative Writing: The Art of Noticing Deeply
Led by: Libby Falk Jones, Ph.D
October 12-13 (optional: evening of October 11), 2019
“The artist, like the monk, has an interior wilderness to discover.” -Thomas Merton-
Come explore inner and outer spaces through writing and other arts. We will spend time in writing, reading, and seeing, opening ourselves to the beauty we can notice without and within when we have the opportunity to quiet ourselves. Through generative writing and viewing exercises, we will invite the unexpected. The structure includes time for creating in community and in solitude, as well as time for sharing our work-in-progress as we each desire. In addition to spending time in the hospitable spaces of Bethany Springs Retreat Center, we will visit the Abbey of Gethsemani.
Writers at all levels of experience are welcome. The retreat is limited to ten(10) participants.
Libby is Professor Emerita in English from Berea College, where she taught creative and contemplative writing for three decades. Her poems and creative nonfiction have been published in regional and national journals and anthologies, including Still, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, The Merton Seasonal, and New Growth: Recent Kentucky Writing. She is the author of two books of poems, Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue (Finishing Line, 2010) and, with four other Berea poets, Balance of Five (Berea, 2015). A practitioner of contemplative photography, she has led workshops on writing and seeing at a variety of locales across the country. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Writing Retreat: A Journey Inward Glenda Dent White, past retreat participant
I enter the silence a willing prisoner, seeking to discover I know not what As trusting as a very young child who has not yet learned deceptions Something stirs deep within, faint at first but unrelenting Words form of their own volition, racing across the paper far faster even than my brain could dictate. Where am I headed? Damned if I know Yet I know with all my being the trip will be worth the risk!
Suggested Donation: By Donation and Includes Lodging, Meals, the Retreat and Related Materials.
To Sigh Up: Contact Bethany Spring e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org or
Phone: 502-507-8576 . 115 Dee Head Road, New Haven, KY. 40051
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Thomas Merton and Mary Oliver: Poets of the Sacred.
November 8, 9, 10
Led By: Libby Falk Jones, Ph.D
The poetry of Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton offers invitations to savor our lives and to realize that now is enough. Listening deeply and responding to selected poems that turn us toward “the speech each day makes,” we will co-create a weekend with these two seekers of the authentic life. Familiarity with the lives and work of Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton is encouraged but not required for this weekend of personal discovery and contemplative practice. Bio: Libby is Professor Emerita in English from Berea College, where she taught creative and contemplative writing for three decades. Her poems and creative nonfiction have been published in regional and national journals and anthologies, including Still, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, The Merton Seasonal, and New Growth: Recent Kentucky Writing. She is the author of two books of poems, Above the Eastern Treetops, Blue (Finishing Line, 2010) and, with four other Berea poets, Balance of Five (Berea, 2015). A practitioner of contemplative photography, she has led workshops on writing and seeing at a variety of locales across the country. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Suggested Donation: By Donation and includes Lodging, Meals, the Retreat and Related Materials.
To Sign Up for the Retreat Contact: Bethany Spring Retreat Center, 115 Dee Head Rd, New Haven, KY 40051
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Call: 502.507.8576
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'Why We Meditate'
Here is what James Finley, PhD says about meditation...
...I invite you to join me in reflecting on a way of understanding and appreciating why fidelity to some form of meditation is so helpful to us in our spiritual journey. We can begin by reminding ourselves that the realm of the ego is more dense and intense than the realm of the spirit. Though the realm of the spirit is infinitely more real than ego, ego easily overshadows spirit and hides it from our view. We can sit before the setting sun so upset that we just got a parking ticket that we do not even see the beauty of the setting sun. We tend to be so caught up in what happened that we tend not to be fully aware of what is happening. The point being, that if we are not careful we can spend our whole life skimming over the surface rather than entering into the depths of our own life.
In meditation we take a hiatus from hectic, ego-based ways. In meditation we settle into a more interior, spiritual awareness of the previously unrecognized spiritual depths of the present moment. In meditation we set aside our preoccupations with all we need to do, so we might be as present as we can be in a "Here I am Lord" stance of openness to God.
Our ego wants to know how we can justify pausing to be when we do not have enough time to do all we need to do! What we come to discover, however, is that if we do not take time to simply be, our ego-based preoccupations with all we need to do tends to dominate our life. But as we learn to just be in the silent simplicity of meditation we transcend the tyranny of doing over our mind and heart. In taking time to be in meditation we transcend the tyranny of sequential time, which, if you have noticed, we are always running out of and never have enough of.
Meditation lays bare our true nature and in doing so lays bare God's nature given to us as our own nature. This is the extraordinary thing; that God's own nature has been given to us by God as our own true nature. God is Spirit who creates us in the image and likeness of Spirit. As long as we remain caught up in the one-dimensional energy of ego consciousness we continue to skim over the surface of the depths of our own God-given Godly nature. As long as we succumb to the demands of doing, we keep flying right past the eternal now in which our lives unfold. But as we cultivate the habit of meditation we can learn to rise from our meditation without breaking the thread of an underlying meditative awareness in our daily life. In this habituated meditative awareness we can learn to do all that needs to be done in a more grounded, more meditative manner that bears witness to the inherent dignity of life's daily tasks.
We must be patient with ourselves as we devote ourselves to this lifelong, transformative process. Taking the time to transcend the tyranny of time is time well spent. In God's good time, an underlying meditative awareness grows within us to the point of becoming our habitual way of experiencing everything that we experience.
Jim Finley - Copyright © 2008 Dr. James Finley - Used with Dr. Finley's permission.
HERE IS WHAT MERTON WRITES ABOUT MEDITATION
Thomas Merton on Christian meditation and awareness of God:
Meditation is not merely the intellectual effort to master certain ideas about God or even to impress upon our minds the mysteries of our Christian faith. Conceptual knowledge of religious truth has a definite place in our life, and that place is an important one....[But] the knowledge of which we are capable is simple knowledge about Him. It points to Him in analogies which we must transcend in order to reach Him. But we must transcend ourselves as well as our analogies, and in seeking to know him we must forget the familiar subject-object relationship which characterizes our ordinary acts of knowing.
Instead we know Him insofar as we become aware of ourselves as known through and through by Him. We "possess" Him in proportion as we realize ourselves to be possessed by Him in the inmost depths of our being. Meditation or "prayer of the heart" is the active effort we make to keep our hearts open so that we may be enlightened by Him and filled with this realization of our true relationship to Him. Therefore the classic form of "meditation" [among others] is repetitive invocation of the name of Jesus in the heart emptied of images and cares.
Hence the aim of meditation, in the context of Christian faith, is not to arrive at an objective and apparently "scientific" knowledge about God, but to come to know Him through the realization that our very being is penetrated by His knowledge and love for us. Our love of God is paradoxically a knowledge not of Him as the object of our scrutiny, but of ourselves as utterly dependent on His saving and merciful knowledge of us....We know Him in and through ourselves insofar as his truth is the source of our being and His merciful love is the very heart of our life and existence. We have no other reason for being, except to be loved by Him as our Creator and Redeemer, and to love Him in return. There is no true knowledge of God that does not imply a profound grasp and an intimate personal acceptance of this profound relationship.
The whole purpose of meditation is to deepen the consciousness of this basic relationship of the creature to the Creator, and of the sinner to his Redeemer.
SO, THIS IS WHY MEDITATION IS SO IMPORTANT:
It can, and does lead to a whole new way we see and relate to our self, our God, our neighbors, family, and friends; and the whole world.
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To Register for any retreat - private or guided:
email: Rick at: email@example.com - or - firstname.lastname@example.org
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RETREATS IN THE PLANNING STAGE
Living in the Presence;