2019 Retreats Schedule

Personal Days of Renewal

March 6-8th (Ash Wed. to Fri.)
June 18-21 (Tues. to Fri.)

You are invited to take a day or days of personal retreat to focus on your “self care”. How am I taking care of myself spiritually, physically, and emotionally? Bethany Retreat Center is offering days of renewal for those who want to come for a day, overnight, or a few days to join the Sisters for prayer and daily Mass, walk the grounds, opportunity for reconciliation, and home-cooked meals.

Offering: $80 per night (includes meals)
Deposit: $25 (nonrefundable)

Register Now

Contemplative Outreach of Central Pa. presents:

11th Step Retreat

March 15-17, 2019

Presenters: Nancy Cord-Baran, Carolyn Yankovitz & Michael Gidlewski

This retreat is for people in 12 Step Recovery programs to introduce or expand and deepen the experience of Contemplative Prayer as part of a daily 12-Step Practice.

Centering Prayer is a simple method of prayer rooted in ancient Christian practice that opens us to God’s presence and divine healing. It is simply moving deep within ourselves, in silence, saying nothing, asking for nothing, just being and allowing our Higher Power to be with us.

The retreat will offer an environment of solitude and silence in community with time for reflection, fellowship, and a 12-Step Meeting. For those new to Contemplative Prayer, the retreat is an Introductory Workshop on Contemplative Prayer in the context of 12-Step recovery.

Retreat staff have been active in 12-Step programs for many years. They have completed the Formation for Contemplative Service process of Contemplative Outreach as well as the Formation Training for Presenting and Leading Retreats for Contemplative Prayer and the 12-Steps. Brochures available.

Offering: $190 per person
Deposit: $75 non-refundable

Register Now

Lectio Retreat: Call to Holiness

Pope Francis & the Beatitudes Matthew 25
In the light of the Master

March 29-31, 2019 (Fri. to Sun.)

Presenter: Deacon George Welch

Join us as we share ways to become the Word of God through the practice of Lectio Divina in group and individual time you are invited to express your love for God. Pope Francis invites us to focus on the call to Holiness. Jesus has touched each of our Hearts. The Holy Father tells us the most compelling way to holiness is to turn toward Jesus’ own words. We hear his Word by praying the scriptures. We will though silence, solitude and scripture invite all to become the word of God. We will use the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer and the meditations of the Holy Father’s letter, “Rejoice and be Glad”.

Pope Francis writes that when we are grounded in God, have joy and good humor, boldness, community and being open to God we are transformed. Good news is that holiness is for all of us and Lectio Divina is a pathway to walk in holiness.

This weekend will include time for conferences, personal prayer, centering prayer, Mass and silence.

Deacon George Welch is our guide for this retreat. He lives in Pine City, NY and was ordained 37 years ago for the Diocese of Rochester. He is a presenter of Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina and served on the service team for Contemplative Outreach. George is also a chaplain at St. Joseph’s hospital in Elmira, NY. He is a trained spiritual director from Shalem and retired school principal and blessed by his wife Paula, two daughters and three grandchildren. George’s hope for this retreat is an opportunity to listen to God’s call and message that God loves you so that we can say back we love God. We live as the Holy Father said in the light of the master.

Offering: $190 per person includes books
Deposit: $75 nonrefundable

Drumming & Native American Spirituality

~ A unique Drumming Experience ~
Presenter: Tom Campbell
Saturday, April 6, 2019 ~ 10am to 4pm

Join us for our sixth drumming retreat at Bethany Retreat Center! This year we will delve again into Native American Spirituality and its deep connection to the Great Spirit ~ God. This day will include lunch, group drumming, ritual, prayer, storytelling, and an experience of Native American culture.

No experience necessary
Drums will be provided OR bring your own.

Tom Campbell has led the last five drumming retreats at Bethany; close to 50 people attended the last two years! He has been leading retreats for over 30 years, and he has been drumming 29 years; leading drumming workshops with men, women, couples and mixed groups. Tom has studied Native American spirituality for 30 years. Its Creator-centered approach to life with a reverence toward the Earth and all creatures on it, resonates with his Catholic upbringing.

Offering: $30 per person ~ space is limited
Deposit: $15 (non-refundable)

Overnight Accommodations available for Friday & Saturday nights – $90 per person per night.
Friday arrival after 3pm
Supper at 6pm (does not include the $30 cost of retreat)

Register Now

Contemplative Outreach of Central Pa Presents:

Welcoming Prayer Retreat

May 3-5, 2019

Presenter: Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in the events and situations in daily life. It provides a method of being aware of our physical and emotional reactions and a method of dealing with them prayerfully in the midst of daily life.

The Welcoming Prayer helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored – in the body. It contributes to the process of transformation in Christ initiated in Contemplative Prayer.

The time together will be both retreat and workshop, with opportunity for silence and Centering Prayer in community. Also, participants will be introduced to the actual method of the Welcoming Prayer and provided with opportunities to practice. Discussions will include the human condition and the false-self system as the conceptual background of the Welcoming Prayer practice. There will be time for focusing, working with what is happening in our bodies and practicing the prayer.

Sr. Rita Panciera, RSM is a Sister of Mercy and Director of the House of Prayer in Erie, PA. She has been an experienced practitioner of Centering Prayer for many years and has facilitated many Centering Prayer retreats and programs, both at Bethany Retreat Center and elsewhere.
Brochures available.

Offering: $190 per person
Deposit: $75 non-refundable by April 22nd

Register Now

8 Day Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat

The Gift of Life ~ Death & Dying, Life & Living
June 9-16, 2019 (Sun. to Sun.)
August 4-11, 2019 (Sun. to Sun)

Facilitators: Sr. Rita Panciera, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, & Fr. Philip Billotte

Bethany Retreat Center is providing an in-depth retreat for those with experience with Centering Prayer who wish to enter into a more profound level of spiritual practice. Gift of Life ~ Death & Dying, Life & Living continues and builds on the works of Fr. Thomas Keating over the past 30+ years. It offers a a vision of hope and a view of reality that counter the cultural norms that view death as a tragedy, or the end of living, or an entry into harsh judgment and retribution. Fr. Thomas sat with Fr. Carl Arico in an intimate conversation focused on the transformative process of death and dying as part of, rather than the end of, life’s journey.

Requirements for Making the Post-Intensive Retreat

Contemplative Outreach, under whose auspices these retreats are given, require that those who participate in the Intensive Retreat be regular practitioners of Centering Prayer.

(Massage Therapist available – not included in the cost.)

Limited Scholarships Available

Arrival: 5pm & Supper at 6pm ~ Departure: 11am, Sunday

$490 for Private Room
Deposit: $150 non-refundable

Register Now

8-Day POST Intensive Contemplative Prayer Retreat

June 9-16, 2019 (Sun. to Sun.)
August 4-11, 2019 (Sun. to Sun)

Facilitators: Sr. Rita Panciera, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera & Fr. Philip Billotte

The purpose of the retreat is to assist the participants in entering into a more intimate silence in a nurturing, supportive environment that combines both solitude and community. The Post Intensive is a next step into a profound silence and stillness in order to facilitate a more intimate union with God.

Requirements for Making the Post-Intensive Retreat

  1. Be regular practitioners of Centering Prayer
  2. Have made a 5 day or longer Intensive Retreat prior to making the Post-Intensive Retreat

(Massage Therapist available – not included in the cost.)

Arrival: 5pm & Supper at 6pm ~ Departure: 11am, Sunday

$490 for Private Room
Deposit: $150 non-refundable

Register Now

The Breath, Mindfulness, and the Courage to Be Imperfect

June 28-30, 2019
Presenter: Anne Kertz Kernion

Bethany Retreat Center is excited to bring Anne Kertz Kernion to Frenchville and offer a unique retreat opportunity of self care. The weekend will include conferences on the three topics listed below, personal silent time, meals, and Mass. The practice of deep, conscious breathing and mindfulness are intimately connected, and are a part of every major religious tradition. We will discuss and practice basic breathing techniques used to reduce anxiety and manage stress, as review the physical and psychological benefits of breathing and relaxation exercises.

Mindlessness to Mindfulness
We often go through our days on “autopilot,” rushing from one task to another without any awareness. In this presentation, we examine the research of Ellen Langer, Harvard psychology professor whose research since the 1970’s shows that mindful thought can lead to better brain and physical health. She recommends we cultivate mindfulness by simply noticing: looking carefully at our surroundings, observing our loved ones and co-workers, paying attention to the details in our everyday world. If we can engage in this simple practice, our ability to be aware and mindful will be vastly increased, leading to greater health, better relationships, and increased happiness.

The Courage to be Imperfect
We often think we need to do it all, do it perfectly, and do it effortlessly. We want to feel loved, connected to others, and we want to matter. But we run aground trying to be perfect. What we really need is the courage to be imperfect, the courage to care for ourselves and be our authentic selves. This presentation will draw upon recent findings in neuroscience and psychology, illuminating self-care and spiritual practices that nurture gentleness, kindness and patience towards ourselves. Far from being self-centered or selfish, these practices also generate deeper understanding of others and aid in reducing stress and inflammation, while slowing aging in our cells and our brains.

Anne Kertz Kernion (BS in Environmental Engineering, Penn State; MA in Theology, Duquesne University, Certificate in the Science of Happiness, UC Berkeley, currently a graduate student in Positive Psychology, U. of Missouri) is the owner/artist of Cards by Anne, an inspirational greeting card company founded in 1986. Her book, “A Year of Spiritual Companionship” was published by SkyLight Paths in 2016. Anne’s cards are available online (cardsbyanne.com) and in hundreds of stores. For 14 years, Anne taught “Cross-Cultural Understanding of Religious Meaning” at Carlow University. For seven years, she was also an adjunct professor at CCAC, teaching courses ranging from Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Nutrition, to World Religions and Ethics. Currently, Anne is a frequent lecturer and retreat leader, presenting topics that combine neuroscience and spirituality to groups around the country. Anne is married to Jack and they have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren.

Arrival: 4 pm & Departure: 11 am
Offering: $225
Deposit: $75 (non-refundable)

Register Now

Drum Making

2019 Dates to be announced
Presenter: Thomas Long

In this workshop we will gather to make our own unique traditional-style hand-drums. Everything you need to build your own sacred instrument is included! Building a drum is a sacred ceremony, and, as it is with all things, it should be done in a good way. When we are finished (see photo) we will have a nice Wopila (wo-pee-lah) or Thanksgiving. Each of the elements used in making these sacred instruments has specific meaning for their use, and will be shared during the workshop. These “lessons” provide each retreatant with an experience rich in tradition, and takes them beyond just the basic skill of assembling a drum.

Thomas Long attended a workshop at which he built his first traditional style hand drum. During the workshop the instructor announced that she was not going to offer the workshop any longer, and was looking for an apprentice. His hand went up immediately – that was 20 years ago! This rich “journey” has taken him from an intimate workshop in York, PA to the Black Hills of South Dakota, and back, studying the varied designs and stories of drum from native elders, and tribal drum makers. These “lessons” he has learned, are instrumental in the evolution of the style of drums that he builds today. Mitakuye Oyasin! We are all relatives.


$ per person ~ includes meals & ALL drum making materials
$ per person ~ Friday Supper & Overnight, workshop Saturday, Meals and ALL drum making materials
$ per person ~ Friday Supper to Sunday 11am. Includes 2 overnights, meals, and ALL drum making materials.

Deposit: $ (Non-refundable)
Arrival: Saturday ~ 8:15am – Coffee available, workshop begins at 9am

Register Now – You must register early in order to give Tom enough time to order all the required materials.

Icon Writing Workshop

2019 dates to be announced.

Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante

Come to Bethany Retreat Center for a special opportunity to learn about and create an icon based upon this 13th century image of Archangel Gabriel. We will discuss this messenger of God and consider what he has to say to us as we anticipate the upcoming Advent season. Mary Kay Laplante will lead the class in creating the icon of Archangel Gabriel using ancient techniques and all-natural materials rich with symbolic meaning.

Previous artistic experience is not a pre-requisite, as writing an icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline. Students will receive step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials will be provided. The underlying theology of each step will be emphasized.

The days will include class instruction and painting, personal prayer time, optional Centering Prayer, daily Mass and home-cooked meals provided by the Bethany staff. Please let us know prior to your arrival if you have any dietary needs. Materials to be provided include: a prepared icon board, set of brushes, palette, 23K gold leaf, pigments, and all other necessary materials to complete the icon.

For more information contact: Mary Kay Laplante at mklaplante11@gmail.com


“I found the experience of learning to write an icon with Mary Kay Laplante to be a rich and rewarding experience, spiritually and artistically. I was struck by the way Mary Kay was able to meet each student where they were in their own artistic knowledge. This is spiritually meaningful work for her, and she was able to demonstrate that importance through the seriousness and intensity with which she conveyed what she knows. But that seriousness was coupled with her evident delight too–particularly in the painting act itself. Mary Kay loves to paint icons and her delight and commitment to this art is an inspiration to those who have the opportunity to study with her.”
Barbara Campbell Thomas, 2017 Icon Workshop participant

“I came to the Bethany Retreat Center and the Icon Writing Workshop knowing not a thing about either. Mary Kay’s passion and knowledge, not just for the art but for the faith lived out through art, continues to inspire me. As I gaze at my icon each morning, as I start my day and I pray my moring prayers, I know that I have grown deeper in faith because of the time I spent at Bethany Retreat Center. It was a privilege to have been taught by her and to have been touched by her grace.”
Reverend Christina Perkins, 2015 and 2017 Icon Workshop participant

Partial scholarships available based upon need

Arrival: Sunday after 4pm & Supper 5pm ~ Departure: Saturday around 1pm

Tuition & Fees:
$ for class instruction & ALL icon materials
$ for lodging (private rooms) and meals
Deposit: $ (non-refundable)

5-Day, 4-Day, and Weekend Contemplative Prayer Retreat

2019 dates to be announced

Bethany Retreat Center is providing an opportunity for Centering Prayer practitioners to deepen their practice and relationship with God by joining with others in a silent community and the experience of immersion in Contemplative Prayer apart from our ordinary life. This retreat will include three periods of prayer, daily Mass and one video conference each day. The rest of the retreat will be in deep silence and solitude.
Prior Centering Prayer experience is required.

Arrival EACH day is after 4pm in time for 5:30pm Supper.


Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

Including Presenter’s Training
2020 dates to be announced.

Facilitators: Therese Saulnier, Sr. Ruth Ann Madera & Nancy Cord Baran

What is Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service?

The purpose of Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service, including Presenter’s Training, is to provide an intensive Christian community experience in order to better understand and grasp the essentials of the Centering Prayer method and thus be able to share it appropriately with others.

The theory is “Good practitioners make good presenters, facilitators, and administrative helpers.” Because the group spends four days focusing on the Centering Prayer practice itself, they better understand the essentials of Centering Prayer and the many nuances of the practice. This deeper understanding helps them to better recognize that contemplative service is service freely offered without expectation of return.

Contemplative Service is not tied to roles or only those willing to function in a specific way. Rather one sees a need and fills it. Contemplative Service is God in us serving God in others.

The schedule includes:

  • One and a half hours of Centering Prayer daily
  • Presentations by the staff of one conference of Session one of An Introduction to Centering Prayer each morning.
  • Participants present portions of the same material to a small group in the afternoons.
  • Discussion of Issue

Criteria for Register for: Formation for Contemplative Outreach Service

  • Participated in “An Introduction to Centering Prayer”
  • Established Centering Prayer practice – minimum of daily two twenty-minute periods ~ for three years.
  • Participated in an 8- or 10-day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat, either before attending Formation or within one year after attending Formation, and before becoming fully commissioned. If intensive retreats are not geographically available (or) Participated in a 5 or 7 day Centering Prayer Intensive Retreat (or) Participated in four weekend silent Centering Prayer Retreats over previous 3 years
  • Studied Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating. Preferably has also read/studied Invitation to Love, Mystery of Christ, and/or Spiritual Journey materials by Thomas Keating (Tapes, CDs, DVDs or transcripts).
  • Has been recommended by a Chapter Coordinator or Contact Person, or (in an underdeveloped chapter) by a commissioned presenter who is willing to mentor and recommend him/her for full commissioning after serving a minimum of one year as a presenter-in-training.

Arrival on Sunday after 3 pm, departure on Sunday 11 am