Bethany Retreat Center


2021 Retreat Schedule
Includes COVID-19 Precautions

LAST UPDATED 6/29/2021


Welcome to Bethany!

We are open for all Retreats at this time. Directed 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.  If you are fully vaccinated against COVID 19, you do not need to wear a mask while indoors or in close proximity to another guest or staff member.  We do encourage anyone not fully vaccinated to wear a mask and continue social distancing while indoors. 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 once 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 

*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:
*August 6-8, 2021 *October 13-17, 2021
*September 8-11, 2021 *October 20-30, 2021
*September 24-26, 2021 *November 8-12, 2021
*September 30-October 3, 2021 *December 3-5, 2021
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.  If you do not reside in a COVID “hot spot,” and are not experiencing any symptoms, or  have been around anyone that has been exposed to the virus, you are welcome to come.  Call today!

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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Grounded Grieving Retreat

“Come with me, just you, to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

August 6-8, 2021 (Friday – Sunday) *Commuter Option Available

Presenter:  Jackie Naginey Hook

When you’ve lost a loved one, the grief journey can be lonely and exhausting. This retreat will be a safe and gentle place to lovingly care for yourself as together we’ll hold our grief and maybe even heal a little. You’ll know you’re not alone as you’re present to one another and to God’s love.  We’ll share stories, engage in creative expression, spend time in nature and deepen into the place where our grief is grounded. 

Grounded Grieving is a supportive and spiritual gathering for individuals who have lost a loved one. Each person’s journey through grief is different and this group retreat is designed to help you find your own path. The support is not intended to replace the relationship that exists between you and any health professional. It is not a therapy or counseling group.

Jackie Naginey Hook, MA is a spiritual director, Life-Cycle Celebrant™ and end-of-life doula whose work helps people find hope, healing and wholeness. She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program with Koch Funeral Home, which includes memorable funeral ceremony creation, grief education and support programs gatherings and end-of-life support. Jackie also offers individual and group spiritual direction, programs and retreats in loss, grief, spirituality and forgiveness and writes articles for local publications. She has a B.S. in Business from Penn State University and an M.A. in Wellness from the University of Central Florida.  Jackie can be reached at

Offering: $235.00 per person ($155.00 Commuter)*
*If you are choosing the commuter option, please note that in the comments when you register.
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

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Pray Without Ceasing Centering Prayer 6 Day Retreat

August 18-23, 2021 (Wednesday – Monday)

Presenters: Sr. Ruth Ann Madera and Fr. Phil Billotte

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.

Intensive:  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. 

Post-Intensive:  An opportunity to spend extended time in deep silence in community to encourage a more intimate union with God.  An Intensive Centering Prayer experience is a prerequisite of the Post-Intensive.

Offering $625.00 per person
Deposit $125.00
Arrival: To Be Determined
Departure: To Be Determined

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Icons: Companions in Prayer

1 Day workshop with over night stay

Thursday, September 9-September 10, 2021

Presenter:  Mary Kay Laplante

Religious Icons have been called windows to heaven or doorways to the sacred. When you are standing in front of an icon, it is as if you are looking through a window into the heavenly world of divine mystery. Join us to learn about the history of religious icons, what makes them different from other art, their inherent symbolism and use as instruments of prayer, as well as the ancient contemplative process by which they are created. Mary Kay Laplante will offer an informative lecture on these intriguing and ancient religious images, as well as provide time to gaze upon and pray with the saints portrayed in her hand-painted icons. There will also be a demonstration of the ancient egg-tempera technique used to create these unique instruments of prayer. The workshop will begin on Thursday evening, September 10th, with dinner followed by a group gathering and time to settle your mind and spirit.  Friday morning, you may join our community for Mass (optional) and a home-cooked breakfast before the workshop begins. 

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. You may contact her at

Offering: $123.00 *(Commuter Option Available)
Deposit $30.00
Arrival: After 3:00 pm on 9/9 (Dinner will be served at 5:30)
Departure: 4:00 pm on 9/10

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Native Drumming Retreat ~ A Unique Drumming Experience

Saturday, September 11, 2021
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

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. For an added retreat experience or if you are coming from a distance, ask us about adding a night or staying the entire weekend. 

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

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

Tom Campbell has led the last seven drumming retreats at Bethany; many times there were close to 50 people in attendance. 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. Tom is also a frequent visitor to Bethany as a volunteer and retreat guest. Tom lives in New Jersey with his wife and enjoys time with his grandchildren as often as possible.

Offering $35.00 per person
Deposit $10.00
**Coming from a distance or want to add some personal retreat time? Add Friday or Saturday night for an additional $88.00 per night. Let us know in the comments when you register. All meals beginning with dinner on the night of your arrival and ending with breakfast on the day of your departure are included.

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The Voice of the Heart – The Practical Magic of Public Speaking

September 24-26, 2021 (Friday – Sunday) *Commuter Option Available

Presenter:  Elle Morgan

Elle Morgan, Public Speaking teacher at Penn State University and a certified Yoga instructor will guide you through the mind, body, spirit approach to public speaking.  

During this retreat you will learn that you have everything you need to be a great public speaker. It’s a spiritual practice. You must learn to trust! Trust your body, voice, and your unique message. You will learn how to connect with the deeper part of yourself, and at the same time practice methods of expression through storytelling and pantomime. Finally, you will share a short message from the heart with your fellow retreatants at the end of the weekend.

Elle Morgan is the Director of Summit Hill Transformation Center in Curwensville, PA, where she leads retreats for Health and Well Being and creates

custom-designed experiences for campers in nature and art.  She is a certified yoga instructor, a professor of Public Speaking at Penn State University and the author of The Elements of New Life Scripts–Sacred Theatre. She is also gaining traction as a go-to gourmet outdoor chef!

Offering: $235.00 per person ($155.00 Commuter)*
*If you are choosing the commuter option, please note that in the comments when you register.
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

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From Seeker to Sage: Journey to the Unknowable
The Spiritual Journey

Presenter: Susan Komis
September 30-October 3, 2021 (Thursday – Sunday) *Commuter Option Available

“A common bonding takes place in all who are attracted to the transformative process.  Such is the ultimate lineage of all spiritual lineages emerging in the various religious traditions.  We are companions in the search, moved by common perspective and inspiration…” ~Fr. Thomas Keating

The “Spiritual Journey” is a metaphor for how our beliefs change and develop through life.  In the beginning, we often do not realize that we have entered upon a spiritual path as we begin to search for the hidden gnosis (sacred knowing) of mind, heart and soul that is emerging within us.

Some approach the Journey from intellectual or educational perspective; others may seek reconciliation or desire to know the existence of God.  Some people simply want to become a better human being and ponder the meaning of life.

This retreat experience provides an opportunity to come together to explore and reflect upon the following:

  • The various paths of life we have traveled.
  • Stages of prayer related to faith development.
  • Our personal spiritual journey; from Awakening, to Seeker, to Servant, to Sage.
  • Realization that we have been led every step of the way by a loving, mysterious God.

Join us as we move through the different stages of spiritual growth from our awakening moments, through our seeking and gradual restructuring of consciousness.  This retreat will include: Centering Prayer in community, presentation, interactive experience and small group process.

Susan Komis is a former Director of Chapter Programs & Services for the Contemplative Outreach, Ltd. organization. She began as a volunteer for the St. Louis, MO Chapter and later appointed as Coordinator for the region in 1994 through 1999.  While employed by Contemplative Outreach, Susan served the spiritual network for 20 years as a faculty member, member of the Board of Directors and commissioned presenter.  Her primary role supported the leadership of Contemplative Outreach chapters by developing and offering formations, retreats, spiritual enrichment and organizational support until she retired in 2016. 

Susan continues to offer programs on contemplative spirituality and leads Intensive, Post-Intensive and themed Centering Prayer retreats. She is a certified Pastoral Minister and has served in adult faith development, spiritual direction and interspiritual dialogue.

Susan is married and the mother of 4 daughters.  She currently resides in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri,

Offering $298.00 per person ($178.00 Commuter)*
*If you are choosing the commuter option, please note that in the comments when you register.
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

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Male Spirituality in a Pandemic World – Men’s Retreat

October 1-3, 2021 (Friday – Sunday) *Commuter Option Available
Presenter: Tom Campbell & Steve Alemi

This gathering of men will occur, without question, in one of the most turbulent times that mankind has ever known. COVID 19 has caused suffering and death throughout the world. For close to a year, churches, businesses, schools, sports, and entertainment facilities were closed, and we were told to distance ourselves from each other. Families faced financial hardship and separation, and for many, working from home took on a new meaning. 

COVID-19, however, is just one of a number of changes which have disrupted the way that we live. The Internet greatly expanded communications and offered opportunities for learning and doing business like never before. But many people feel that these technologies have also interfered with our personal relationships. This includes our relationships with each other as humans and our relationship with God.

In this men’s retreat, we will examine the role of man in today’s world.  These include characteristics of a healthy relationship with God from the masculine perspective and man’s role in family, work, and community. We will reflect and share on the gifts that each of us have been given. We’ll gather as only men can do together helping each other through teaching, sharing, drumming, and ritual. We will examine the characteristics of our changed world and how, as men, we might prepare for the needs of our future years. 

Men being with men in this spiritual context often opens up opportunities for self-growth, healing, and a deeper relationship with God.  Men of all ages and all denominations are welcome. Men not affiliated with any church group are also welcome.  Join us!

Offering: $305.00 per person ($225.00 Commuter)*
*If you are choosing the commuter option, please note that in the comments when you register.
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm on 10/1 with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: Sunday 10/3 by 12:00 pm

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Fall Labyrinth Retreat – Lammas and Labyrinth Retreat Day

October 8-9, 2021 (Friday – Saturday) *Commuter Option Available

Presenter: Carmel Stabley

Lammas on the Celtic calendar is the time for Fall harvest. Visit the Celtic season of Lammas during this full day labyrinth retreat. Discuss Celtic saints and feast days in October, learn a bit about the Celtic cross and the Seven Celtic Christian Distinctives, walk an indoor and outdoor Labyrinth with a harvested intention. Learn the benefits of labyrinth walking and experience  a cornucopia of reflective practices with the time to deepen them. You will connect with the deeper part of yourself through a group gratitude labyrinth walk and also reap the gifts of the day in small group sharing circles.

This weekend retreat will begin on Friday, October 8th with dinner at 5:30, followed by gathering together for the retreat introduction and fellowship. The retreat will continue Saturday with a full day of teaching and activities centered around the prayer practice of labyrinth walking, ending with a final gathering with Carmel before departing for home. 

Carmel Stabley is an Advanced-Certified Labyrinth Facilitator with training through Veriditas in Chartres, France, as well as labyrinth studies and pilgrimages in Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Iona. Carmel hosts monthly walks andCarmel-Stabley seminars throughout PA and the surrounding area where she creates labyrinth experiences and provides teaching on the history, sacred geometry and mental, physical and spiritual benefits of the walking meditation practice. She is the originator of the Labyrinth Connection of Susquehanna Valley, a group of walkers with a newsletter and Facebook page by the same name which connects walkers to events. She is also a certified Contemplative Leader and the Regional Representatives Chairperson for the Labyrinth Society.

A graduate of Faith School of Theology in Charleston, Maine (now Faith Bible College International), Carmel holds a bachelor’s degree in Theological Studies with a minor in Pastoral Theology Cum Laude. She also serves at the Hempfield United Methodist Church on Stony Battery Road in Lancaster, PA as a Retreat Planner, Spiritual Formation Leader and Steward of the Prayer Chapel. Through silence and solitude her personal Centering Prayer and labyrinth practice have guided her to service in these and other areas such as Prayer Companioning.

Offering: $205.00 per person ($125.00 Commuter)*
*If you are choosing the commuter option, please note that in the comments when you register.
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm on 10/8 with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: Saturday 10/9 by 5:00 pm

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Neuroscience & Well Being: How Spirituality Affects our Health & DNA

October 15-17, 2021 (Friday – Sunday) *Commuter Option Available

Presenter: Ann Kertz Kernion

Our spiritual habits affect our physical and emotional health in a variety of ways. We’ll explore recent findings in neuroscience and positive psychology, showing how practices such as Mindfulness, Meditation, Gratitude, Compassion, and Community slow aging in our cells, keep our brains healthy and nimble, reduce stress, and bring more health and happiness into our lives. We will also look at other habits that support brain health and keep our telomeres, the end caps of our chromosomes, from prematurely fraying. This multimedia presentation aims to educate and entertain.

We will incorporate these spiritual practices into our days, along with discussion and activities, allowing us to share and experience some of their benefits. Time for personal reflection and quiet will be provided, as well.

Anne Kertz Kernion (BS in Environmental Engineering, Penn State; MA in Theology, Duquesne University, Certificate in 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 ( 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 6 grandchildren.

Offering: $235.00 per person ($155.00 Commuter)*
*If you are choosing the commuter option, please note that in the comments when you register.
Deposit: $75.00
Arrival: Anytime after 3pm with dinner at 5:30 pm
Departure: 11am Sunday

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Visio/Lectio Divina Retreat

October 20-23, 2021 (Wednesday-Saturday) 

Presenters: 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.


Offering $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 11/25 between 3:00 & 5:00 pm.  Dinner will be served at 5:30 pm
Departure:  Saturday departure time TBD

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Icon Writing Workshop : St. Julian of Norwich

November 7-13, 2021 (Sunday – Saturday) **SPACE IS LIMITED TO 10 PARTICIPANTS
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 Retreat Director and Spiritual Director. She does spiritual direction during retreats, as well as on an on-going basis. 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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