Bethany Retreat Center


2021 Retreat Schedule
Includes COVID-19 Precautions

LAST UPDATED 10/25/2021


Welcome to Bethany!

We are open for all Retreats at this time. Facilitator Led Retreats, Personal Retreats & Outside Groups are all welcome as we continue to navigate what we pray are the final days of the COVID 19 Pandemic. Many of our retreats have a Commuter option and some that can be done through Zoom will have that option as well. Your health and the health of our staff and volunteers will remain a priority; we continue to monitor the guidelines and will make adjustments to our health & safety protocols as needed.  All staff and guests are asked to mask when moving about indoors and practice social distancing at all times.  We have returned to our previous practice of sharing restrooms, but with more stringent sanitizing of those spaces throughout the day.  We will opt for outdoor activities whenever and wherever possible including having the option for eating meals outdoors as the weather permits. We will be following WHO, CDC & PA guidelines regarding group sizes, masking and social distancing. Space on some retreats may still be limited.

Personal Days of Retreat and Renewal 

You are invited to take a day or days of personal retreat to focus on your “self care.” How are you taking care of yourself spiritually, physically and emotionally? At Bethany Retreat Center we are pleased to offer private retreats in a peaceful and beautiful setting where you can get away from the cares of everyday life and focus on your faith journey. You may come for a day, overnight, or a few days. Join the Sisters for prayer and daily Mass, walk the grounds, have opportunity for reconciliation and soul-friending. Enjoy home-cooked meals and a comfortable room in a nurturing environment.  We continue to take the COVID pandemic very seriously and are taking many safety precautions to keep you and our staff safe.  Call today!

*Note: If we do not have enough registered guests to make this a viable event for both staff & guests, we may cancel or contact you to see if it is possible to move your reservation to another time slot. 

Available Dates:
*December 3-5, 2021
**For groups of 5 or more adults that would like to come together, we can possibly offer other dates to fit your group’s schedule. Call the Bethany office at 814-263-4855 to inquire. 

Offering: $88 per night *(All meals beginning with dinner on the night of your arrival and ending with breakfast on the day of your departure are included.)
Deposit: $25
Arrival: 2:00-5:00 pm (Dinner is served at 5:30)
Departure: Prior to 11:00 am

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Lectio/Visio Divina Retreat

To Be Rescheduled for Spring of 2022
Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante and Elizabeth Graboski

Mary Kay Laplante, of Bethany Retreat Center, and Beth Graboski, of Contemplative Outreach, will
offer a workshop/retreat combining the ancient practices of Visio Divina and Lectio Divina. Visio
Divina (Divine Seeing) is a way of drawing closer to God through meditation on visual objects. It is an
intentional way of praying with images. Mary Kay will offer an informative lecture and practicum using
her beautifully hand-painted religious icons as images to be contemplated in this prayer form.
Beth Graboski will introduce you to the ancient practice of praying with Scripture known as Lectio
Divina (Divine Reading), one of the great treasures of the Christian tradition of prayer. Lectio Divina
reveals the four senses of Scripture-the literal, the allegorical, the moral/behavioral and the unitive in
a Spirit-led, transformative experience of relationship with the Divine. Come and let the Spirit speak to
your heart as you “see” and “hear” scripture revealed through these ancient prayer forms.

Mary Kay Laplante, Iconographer in Residence at Bethany Retreat Center, received her degree in Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1987. She has been studying the ancient Byzantine technique of iconography since 2006 with Vladislav Andrejev, a Russian Orthodox Master Iconographer and Principal of the Prosopon School of Iconography and Iconology. She enjoys the opportunity to share her knowledge of icons, teaches icon writing workshops and accepts commissions from individuals and churches. Mary Kay’s icons have been shown locally and internationally.

Elizabeth Graboski, is a longtime contemplative prayer practitioner, a Centering
Prayer facilitator and commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer and Lectio
Divina for Contemplative Outreach. She currently serves with Contemplative
Outreach Central Pennsylvania local chapter for the Spiritual Enrichment and
Formation for Facilitators of Centering Prayer Groups.

$397.00 per person

Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm on 10/20 with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: Saturday 10/23 by 12:00 pm

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The Cloud of Unknowing
Centering Prayer Retreat

Presenter: Doug Laplante
October 25-30, 2021 (Monday – Saturday)

Join us for a deep contemplative journey into The Cloud of Unknowing.  This 14th century work is the basis for the method and practice of Centering Prayer.  During this 5-day retreat, with the writings of “The Cloud of Unknowing” as our guide, Doug Laplante will lead an exploration into 5 key elements of the spiritual journey: spiritual growth, humility, dealing with thoughts, intention, and unity.  This retreat is designed for participants with a well-established Centering Prayer practice.  Through a combination of prayer and contemplative dialogue we will delve deeply into the teachings of “The Cloud…” that have changed countless lives and lead directly to a deepening relationship with God.

Doug Laplante has been coming to Bethany as a Retreatant and Volunteer for many years, and in January of 2020 Doug joined the staff as the Executive Director of Young People Who Care. He has been practicing Centering Prayer for many years and regularly teaches others through church and prison ministry. Doug and his wife Kay live on the grounds of Bethany.

Offering: $598.00 per person 
Deposit: $150.00
Arrival: Monday 10/25 between 3:00 & 5:00 pm.  Dinner will be served at 5:30 pm
Departure:  Saturday departure time TBD

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6 Day Centering Prayer Retreat **WAITING LIST ONLY

November 7-12, 2021 (Sunday-Friday)
Presenter: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera

Rooted in the ancient Christian contemplative tradition, the goal of this form of Christian prayer is to foster a deeper intimacy with Christ through the silence and stillness of contemplative prayer.

This 6 Day Retreat will be an in-depth retreat for those experienced in Centering Prayer.  The retreat will facilitate entrance into a more profound level of spiritual practice in an atmosphere of silence, solitude, and community with an opportunity to spend extended time in deep silence in community to encourage a more intimate union with God.  An existing Centering Prayer practice is a prerequisite for attending this retreat. 

Sr. Ruth Ann is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Director.  She provides spiritual direction on an ongoing basis as well as spiritual companioning/direction during retreats at Bethany Retreat Center.  Sr. Ruth Ann has her degree in Religious Studies from St. Francis University. She is also a graduate of Shalem’s Spiritual Guidance Program. 




Offering: $635.00
Deposit: $125.00
Arrival: Sunday 11/7 after 3:00 pm, Dinner will be served at 5:00pm
Departure:  Friday 11/12 Time TBA

Register Now (space is limited)

Icon Writing Workshop : St. Julian of Norwich

November 7-13, 2021 (Sunday – Saturday) **SPACE IS LIMITED TO 10 PARTICIPANTS. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please call 814-263-4855. 
Presenter: Mary Kay Laplante

Come join us at Bethany Retreat Center and spend a week immersed in prayer while you paint an image of St. Julian of Norwich with accomplished iconographer and teacher, Mary Kay Laplante. Mary Kay will share her love of icons and the spirit-filled process by which they are created. And as we paint St. Julian’s image, we will contemplate and discuss her teachings which so profoundly resonate with our experiences today.

Icons remind us of our connection to Christ and the saints and are beautiful instruments of prayer and contemplation. Painting an icon is as much a contemplative form of prayer as an artistic discipline. People of all levels of artistic talent are invited into this contemplative process. Mary Kay will guide you and encourage you with step-by-step instructions and all necessary materials. The underlying theology of each step will also 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.

For more information contact Mary Kay Laplante at

“At the beginning of the 2020 workshop in which we painted (wrote) an icon of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, we learned that icons are the manifestations of our prayer, and that every icon is beautiful because of the prayer of the iconographer. These words really came alive for me as my icon developed from the chaos of its beginning, and the image of St. Paul began to emerge. Learning not only the process of crafting an icon, but also the history and spiritual meaning behind each step of the process, enhanced my understanding of how an icon can transform our lives in profound ways. 

When we breathed on the clay material that formed the base of the icon’s halo so that the gold leaf we were applying would adhere, our instructor, Mary Kay, told us we were breathing our own “spirit” into the icon. Indeed, as the week progressed, so did my spiritual connection to St. Paul deepen and take shape. Although much hard work went into the creation of our icons, when I look at the image of St. Paul beaming down on me from the bookcase in my living room, I am reminded of the spiritually transforming experience of the entire workshop.”   ~Malinda Bostick, 2020 Icon Workshop Participant

Offering: $989.00 per person (includes room accommodations, meals and all icon writing supplies)
Deposit: $250.00
Arrival: Sunday 11/7 at 3:00 pm, Dinner will be served at 5:00 pm
Departure:  Saturday 11/13 by 12:00 pm

Register Now (space is limited)

Advent Centering Prayer Weekend Retreat

Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton: Traveling Your Road to Joy
December 3-5, 2021 (Friday-Sunday)

Presenter: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera, C.A.

Bridges to Contemplative Living leads participants on a journey toward personal spiritual transformation and a more contemplative and peace-filled life.

This retreat is designed for those with an established daily practice of centering prayer who wish to deepen the transforming love of God in the midst of silence and solitude.

The weekend will include centering prayer, conferences with contemplative dialogue, personal time, meals and Sunday liturgy.

Sr. Ruth Ann is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Director.  She provides spiritual direction on an ongoing basis as well as spiritual companioning/direction during retreats at Bethany Retreat Center.  Sr. Ruth Ann has her degree in Religious Studies from St. Francis University. She is also a graduate of Shalem’s Spiritual Guidance Program. 



Offering: $235.00
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm on 12/3 with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure:  Sunday 12/5 by 12:00 pm

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2022 Retreats

Native Drumming One Day Retreat ~ A Unique Drumming Experience

Saturday, April 23, 20022
Presenter:  Tom Campbell

Our Drums will echo again at Bethany! Our drumming retreat will include lunch, group drumming, storytelling, ritual, ceremony, prayer and an experience of Native American culture. If you attended previously, there is always something new and if you haven’t experienced the power of group drumming, join us for this daylong retreat.

Drumming connects you to a deeper part of yourself and the Great Spirit – God.

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

Tom Campbell has led the last six drumming retreats at Bethany; close to 50 people attended each of the last two years! He has been leading retreats for 35 years, and he has been drumming over 30 years; leading drumming workshops/retreats in homes, churches, community centers and businesses. 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: $35.00
Deposit: $10.00
Arrival: 8:30 am for check in
Departure:  5:00 pm

Register Now