Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 26, 2008
Queen's House has offered paths for healing for 50 years
Founded on a garbage dump, the centre is a sanctuary of peace
By ANDREA LEDDING
"As soon as you walk in, you feel it, that sense of sacred space."
- Gisele Bauche
Bauche describes the Oblate retreat and renewal centre as founded on Gospel news.
Describing poverty as more than a financial issue, Bauche speaks of bringing healing to the broken, abandoned and wounded as a means of addressing poverty of heart and spirit.
"Our resource people are able to transform and change things for others, so that they can make deep changes in their lives," Bauche explained. "The original vision to nourish people's souls and enrich their minds, give them space to heal, is still there. As soon as you walk in, you feel it, that sense of sacred space."
Twelve-step programs have a long history with the centre, but initiatives focused on grief, divorce, reconciliation, and inter-church or inter-faith dialogue have also found a home here.
A newer addition is Returning to Spirit, a movement intended to bring about reconciliation, dialogue, and healing between First Nations and Church representatives.
Healing through art, creativity, and the spiritual component of artistic expression is another focus of Queen's House. Resource people include art therapists, reflexologists, spiritual directors and Reiki masters. Last year more than 1,500 people participated in the diverse selections provided by program coordinator Lucie Leduc.
Leduc speaks particularly of the community healing that has come out of Queen's House over the years, and the many other denominations who use the facility.
"We are providing places for communities to gather - lay formation, school boards, student and teacher groups, interdenominational meetings. At the same time we still take into account personal growth and development."
Leduc adds that she sees the next 50 years of ministry as a continuation and expansion - offering a place of tranquility, deepening, spiritual growth and connection with God and others beyond the borders of denomination, race or creed.
"It doesn't mean letting go of our identity, but being inclusive and engaging with the world - finding rest here so we can do it in an authentic and integrative way," said Leduc.
The retreat house is working towards the sustainability of its programs through alternative funding, including dinners and silent auctions, and a walk and bike-a-thon which will take place this year Aug. 7-9.
Although the centre is now run by a board, the founding order maintains strong ties. With the amalgamation of all the provinces into OMI Lacombe, community gatherings take place at Queen's House.
De Mazenod House, named for Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the OMI order, is adjacent to the retreat centre and home to many of the retired community. The shared grounds, perched on the bank of the South Saskatchewan River, include an outdoor chapel, stations of the cross and a sweeping river view.
Countless thousands have found healing and peace here since the official opening on May 31, 1958. In gratitude for this legacy, an invitation is extended to join in a celebration of the Eucharist on the grounds at 3 p.m., June 1, followed by a program and barbecue.
(Phone RSVPs for the barbecue to 306-242-1916).
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