November 12 2018
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Inspiration for thanks

You never know where you’ll find inspiration; sometimes inspiration finds you. In La Crosse today, a funeral is being held for Sister Margaret Wagner, for whom Margaret’s Lane at the Christine Center is named. When we received word of her passing last week, I was moved by how the news evoked rich expressions of gratitude from people who have long-standing relationships with the Christine Center. Her ministry here clearly made a difference in many lives, but as I listened to those who knew her, it struck me how beautiful, challenging, and helpful an exploration of gratitude can be.
The moment was a convergence of streams of gratitude. November is the month of Thanksgiving, when many of us find the annual rhythm inspires a seasonal heart of gratitude. I’ve just concluded my first year here at the Christine Center and I’m feeling a kinship with the symbolic pilgrims of our Thanksgiving folklore—they and I both on a spiritual journey arriving at a new place far from home, making a new life among strangers, enduring hardships, and finding bountiful reasons to give thanks.   
My gratitude begins, of course with our founder, Sister Virginia Mary Barta, the Wheaton Franciscan nun whose depth of spirit, breadth of intellect, and incomparable commitment brought the Christine Center into existence. Over the years, the Christine Center has been blessed by the wisdom and work of many volunteer leaders on its board of directors, most notably Bela Maroti who shepherded the center through its darkest hour, and Sherryl Andrus who has led the center through its largest transition. I’m grateful for the Sisters who worked with and after Sister Virginia, including Sisters Margaret, Cecilia, Johanna, Henrita, Marge, and Gabe—without their profound commitment and loving service the Christine Center would not exist today. I am grateful, too, for the transformations the center has brought me personally. My deepest gratitude is for the staff of the center. These are people who have eschewed the so-called rewards the larger culture treasurers and, instead, dedicated themselves to the center, its mission, and its guests. The warmth of their welcome got me through my first winter here, and now their love, laughter, and loyalty sustain and inspire me. 
Even with all of these wonderful people living these beautiful lives, however, the Christine Center would be nothing without you who love and support it. Your generosity, year after year, enables the center to serve so many and with such meaning. And regardless of the level of support—from those who make small monthly gifts to the breathtaking gifts of supporters like the Wheaton Franciscans, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and others—we bow our heads in gratitude for your expressions of love. In the next few weeks, you’ll hear from us about Giving Tuesday and receive our annual holiday letter, asking for your continued support. My prayer and my faith are that you will continue to give to support this sacred place.
This inspiration for gratitude found me this week, invited me to contemplate how many and how deeply I owe. I raise my head from its contemplative posture filled with the gifts of gratitude: a smile, a sense of joy, and a renewed vigor. May you, too, feel the spiritual richness that gratitude brings.

Russell King, executive director
A Feast of Fall Programs

V isit our  retreat calendar web page  for more program offerings and descriptions. Visit the  reservation  page or call (715) 267-7507. 

Enter into deep creativity this season...

Read about Sister Henrita’s inspirational Mandala experience here !
Mandala Weekend
with Sister Gabriele Uhlein OSF, PhD
November 23 – 25 (Friday-Sunday | 10 am – 5 pm daily)

Tuition: $60 a day / $30 for half days (all materials included, meals and lodging are additional)

Commuters are welcome! Bring a bag lunch or purchase a delicious vegetarian meal for $16.

Learn how to make mandalas and discover creativity, relaxation and meditation.

Relax, refresh and reflect as your hands create circles of beauty and light.
Sister Gabriele provides guidance and introduces how to use mandala making as a form of prayer and meditation. No previous drawing or art experience is necessary. We will use artist grade colored pencils and watercolors. All materials are provided. Mandalas make wonderful personal keepsakes to honor special occasions and lovely one-of-a-kind gifts.   Register here. 
Activate compassion....

Midwest Diamond
Approach Weekend
The Lataif: Gateways to Essence
with Timothy Bernhard
and Sister Johanna Seubert FSPA
November 23 – 25 (Friday-Sunday)

All-inclusive cost: $315.00 (includes tuition, two nights lodging and four meals)

The lataif are centers of subtle physiology. Activation of the compassion or green lataif gives us access to our loving kindness and compassion and reveals the mystery of having an open heart. This ongoing program on the lataif is presented by Midwest Diamond Approach teachers. The Diamond Approach is a path of spiritual realization characterized by sincere inquiry into one’s experience, fueled by the love of truth. This Midwest Diamond Approach retreat offers:
·          a unique understanding of psychological and timeless spiritual wisdom.
·          awareness and direct personal experience of a doorway to our being.
·          support for one’s inner journey, and living in the world with loving kindness.
The weekend includes meditations, teachings, movement, and experiential exercises. The retreat begins on Friday night at 7:00 and ends on Sunday noon.
For more information and to register: email S. Johanna Seubert or call (715)267-5703 .
The Art of Self-Care: Ayurveda, Yoga & Meditation
with Andrea Russell 
November 30 – December 2

Going on retreat offers an opportunity to let down the stresses of life and deepen your yoga and meditation practices. In addition to alignment-based yoga classes and mindfulness meditation instruction, you will learn Ayurvedic lifestyle and practice recommendations to align harmoniously with the season, so your health and well-being may flourish.  This retreat offers just enough time to come back home to yourself without having to travel far. All levels are welcome. Click here for more information and registration.
December programs to ignite
joy and deep peace…
Bead-Making Open Studio
with S. Gabriele Uhlein, OSF, PhD
December 3 – 5 (Monday-Wednesday | 10 am – 4 pm daily)

Tuition: $60 a day / $30 for half days (all materials included, lodging and meals are additional)

Commuters are welcome! Bring a bag lunch or purchase a delicious vegetarian meal for $16.

Design a custom set of prayer beads. Make two and give them or keep them! Join S. Gabe and her bead-making friends in making contemplation cords.You will learn basic beading techniques and the amazing history of prayer beads as contemplation and prayer tools. The daily tuition includes materials for two sets of beads. Materials for additional completed prayer beads can be purchased for $20 each. Perfect for creating personalized one-of-a-kind gifts. (Limited to 10 participants.)   Register here
Yoga Nidra 24
with Ann Swanson, E-RYT 200,
RYT 500 
December 4-5 (Tuesday-Wednesday)
Note:   Starts at 2 PM on Tuesday and ends at 2 PM on Wednesday

Tuition $95 (housing and meals are additional)

Enjoy 24 hours of restoration and rejuvenation through the easiest yoga practice of all – simple, deep, natural rest! The Christine Center welcomes you to a monthly day designated for health, well-being, and ease. Each month, one of our featured instructors will offer a mid-week Yoga Nidra based program designed to help you experience quiet clarity and calm from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Join us as we take a 24-hour “time out” from our busy lives to unwind one serene breath at a time. You may even choose to extend your stay and create your own customized personal retreat. Our woodland sanctuary awaits you!
IRest Yoga Nidra Personal
Practice Retreat
with Iris Mickey, MS, LMT, COTA
December 12 – 14 (Wednesday-Friday)

Explore sensations in gentle body sensing practices, inquire into thoughts and beliefs and be guided into deep states of remembering our innate wholeness and joy.

Yoga Nidra is always deeply relaxing and in this Irest form of practice also very contemplative and informative.

IRest Yoga Nidra was developed by Richard Miller, who incorporated all the tradition of Yoga Nidra with a nondualistic approach to self inquiry. Iris is blessed to be a certified Irest teacher and is thrilled to share her passion about this practice.  Learn More
Sound and Silence
with Wendy Kohlhaas and Sheila Nolte
December 14 – 16 (Friday-Sunday)

Tuition: $150 (lodging and meals are additional)

Two practices based on praying from the heart frame this retreat. Sounds produced by gemstone crystal and Tibetan bowls help purify and raise the vibration of the body. The pure sound helps you release aches and tensions of a lifetime. Sacred singing, mantras, toning and giving voice can move us toward higher states of well-being. Learn and practice simple chants to pray when there are no words. Each tone makes its journey into deep places within the soul and aligns us with divine harmony.  Learn more.     Register here.
Our Annual New Year’s Retreat
with Sisters Gabriele Uhlein, OSF, PhD, and Marge Zulaski, OSF, PsyD
December 27–January 1 (Thursday evening – Tuesday mid-day)

Tuition: Sliding scale $250-$450 (meals and lodging are additional)
Sign up for fewer days at a sliding scale rate of $50-$90 per day.       
Wrap yourself in winter’s stillness. 6 days and 5 nights to restore and hearten soul amid the challenge of our times. Join in the signature Christine Center rhythm of meditation.

Experience daily offerings of reflection and conscious conversation to bless and release 2018. Let our snow-clad woodland and luminous night sky inspire you.

On New Year’s Eve there is a splendid candlelight ritual to welcome 2019 followed by a festive social. New Year’s morning features a celebration of intention and blessing for the year ahead.

Let stillness call you! Come for the days you can!   Register here. 
Come for the peace.
We are eternally grateful for your donations!
Or mail your gift to
The Christine Center W8303 Mann Road Willard, WI 54493
Thank you for your support!