Bethany Retreat House began during my annual retreat in the spring of 1992 with a sense of God saying to me, “Just do it, Joyce!” regarding my 9-ear desire to provide silent retreat space in Northwest Indiana. I happily set about following that ”nudge” to bring to life what has become Bethany Retreat House. Established in August of that year, Bethany has served 6,115 guests over these 25 years.
Along with the many blessings that guests have received here, these years at Bethany have been for me personally a very happy and satisfying time as I have welcomed people for prayer and reflection and have had the privilege of a front-row seat to witness God’s work in individuals’ lives. I am immensely grateful for the goodness and the trust of Bethany guests, for the support of many generous donors and volunteers, and for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ who have provided infrastructure and monetary and spiritual support over the years.
God’s ongoing nudges and inspirations have continued to shape Bethany at every turn. Recent nudges lead me to act on my desire to let go of administrative duties connected with running a retreat house and to focus my energy on the interpersonal aspects of this ministry. To that end, Bethany Retreat House will close on June 30 of this year. Practically, this means there will no longer be retreat space available, the bookstore will close, and the autumn tea will no longer take place.
What will continue is my availability for ongoing spiritual direction, dream groups, a peer supervision group, and a women’s study group. I look forward to more years of ministry as a spiritual director and facilitator of faithsharing and reflection groups.
For the time being, I will continue to reside at 2202 Lituanica Av. until another use for the building is determined by the Poor Handmaids. When that happens, I will move to a smaller place from which to offer spiritual direction and group work while also enjoying solitude for my own prayer and reflection and a bit more time to devote to quilting.
An upcoming newsletter will announce particulars about a bookstore sale and an open house date for people to come back to visit the retreat house one last time.
I know this is difficult news for many of you for whom Bethany is a spiritual oasis. Along with grieving this loss, I invite us to also be grateful for the many rich blessings we have all received at Bethany in these 25 years. Our God who has gifted us through Bethany will continue to provide for us Bethany Retreat House is a ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in new ways, even as God provided for us before the retreat house began. I look forward to continuing relationships begun at Bethany and to being with many of you in ongoing spiritual direction and small groups.
Sister Joyce Diltz, PHJC, Director