Spiritual Life Office for the Diocese of Owensboro

IMG_1893When the doors opened on the Mount Saint Joseph Retreat Center in September 1983, the first group to use it was the staff of the Diocese of Owensboro and their new bishop, the Most Rev. John McRaith.

The diocese hadn’t had a retreat center, something McRaith knew needed to be remedied. To illustrate how important a retreat center is, he designated the Mount Saint Joseph Retreat Center in Maple Mount as the Spiritual Life Office for the diocese.

“To set aside time to turn off the noise of the world and spend some time with God in a special way is so important,” McRaith said in 2008, which was the 25th anniversary of the Center. The setting at Mount Saint Joseph, home of the Ursuline Sisters’ Motherhouse, makes it special, he said.

20070101_Spring 2013 at MSJ_0049“God’s creation is so magnificent and such places are more conducive to the beauty and grace of others,” said McRaith, who is now bishop-emeritus. “The Mount is a beautiful example of God’s handiwork.”

The former Mount Saint Joseph Academy was transformed into the Retreat Center over the summer of 1983. It was renovated in the 1990s, and changed its named to the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center, to make it clear it was available for multiple groups who need the opportunity for peace and quiet among nature.

Even artisan groups that use the Center are getting in touch with their spirituality, whether they know it or not.

100_8919“The spinners and quilters come because they enjoy the peace,” said Sister Ann McGrew, director of the Center. “It nourishes their spiritual life. It’s about relationships.”

Sister Ann serves on the diocesan staff in her role leading the Spiritual Life Office, just as her predecessors did. Aside from her duties at the Center, she gets called on to lead retreats or organize prayer days for schoolchildren.

There are always programs planned at the Mount to enhance spirituality, which are needed now more than ever because of the often frantic pace of life.

For the rest of this year, guests are welcome to take part in any of these programs:

  • An Evening with an Ursuline Sister, a monthly gathering featuring one of four Ursuline Sisters who will lead a program that taps into a different aspect of spirituality. The first two sessions are at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2 and Oct. 7,  “Finding God in our World: Environment and Me” and “Spirituality of Beauty” led by Sister Amelia Stenger and Sister Rose Marita O’Bryan, respectively.
  • On the second Thursday of each month, a study of the Catholic Catechism for Adults takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The next session is Sept. 11. It is led by Sister Ann.
  • The Marian Retreat, led by Monsignor Bernard Powers, is Oct. 18-19. It will focus on Mary and include opportunities for solitude as well as communal prayer.
  • “Walking with the Poor: Bishop Oscar Romero and Pope Francis” is a one-day retreat from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22, led by Father Anthony Shonis. It will focus on our responsibility as Christians to ensure the best opportunities and care for our children and the poor.
  • The Advent Day of Prayer on Dec. 3 will bring Monsignor Powers back to the Mount to help participants deepen their faith as they prepare to welcome the birth of our savior.

Information for all these programs is available on the Ursuline Sisters’ website, ursulinesmsj.org, and then clicking the Conference and Retreat Center tab. Or interested parties can call Kathy McCarty for more information, (270) 229-0206, or email at kathy.mccarty@maplemount.org.

The motto of the Retreat Center is “Give peace, quiet and prayer a chance.” Come find out why Maple Mount is the Spiritual Life Office of the Diocese of Owensboro.

For more information on the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center, click here.

By Dan Heckel