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Welcome to Bethany Retreat House

paying attention to the inner life


Christians know Bethany as the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, a place of hospitality where Martha served Jesus.

Away from the demands of public life, Bethany was a place of intimacy where Jesus and his friends could share their faith, their dreams.

In Bethany Mary enjoyed sitting at Jesus' feet as a disciple. In Bethany Jesus raised Lazarus to new life. To Bethany Jesus went for comfort and friendship before his passion.

Like its namesake, Bethany Retreat House is a place apart to spend time with God. It offers hospitality, beauty, and encouragement for prayer and discipleship.

Bethany Retreat House is open to women and men of all faiths, to laity, clergy, and religious who seek its silent atmosphere for prayer and reflection.

News and Events

From the Director’s Chair

by Joyce Diltz, PHJC

Daffodil greens and iris shoots here at Bethany are peeking up from their winter
nap, and temperatures are flirting with the 50s and 60s. What a joyous time of
year when spring emerges from winter, green returns, and we humans emerge as well
into the out of doors! Lent has been called the “springtime of the soul,” a time when
new life rises in us as we open ourselves more to God’s action in our lives even as we
see evidence of God’s touch of life all around us.

This newsletter alerts you to things germinating at Bethany. A journal group is
“graduating” from six monthly sessions and a new dream group is forming. We only
need four more sign-ups before this group will begin meeting monthly. Might this be
your time to be one of these new members? Our annual volunteer garden day is on
the calendar (May 21) as is our annual autumn tea (September 25). Please mark your
calendars for each of these events.

We are so very grateful to the Foundations of East Chicago for the operations
grant received from them for this calendar year. Their gift, along with your donations,
help us continue to welcome and accompany people who want to pay attention
to their inner life and discover God, who dwells both in us and among us. It is a deep
joy and a great privilege to accompany people in this process.

Bethany’s spirituality bookstore is periodically available to go on the road to
parishes. If your parish is interested in such a visit, please call the office for details.
May these remaining days of Lent bring us closer to the heart of God. May
Easter joy abound in us and among us as we experience God’s power to bring life out
of death, meaning out of meaninglessness, and hope out of despair.

BRH Bookshelf

Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith
by Tom Roberts
Orbis Books, cloth, 248 pages, $28
reviewed by Deb Szrom Steppe

Joan Chittister has become one of the most influential voices
of our time in the Church. Religion, spirituality, peace, justice,
and equality are just a few of the areas where she has lent her
clear, prophetic voice. As the author of over 50 books and 700
articles, her impact on the Church and the world is significant.
This book is a biography of Joan Chittister written by Tom
Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter. As a friend of
Chittister, he navigated well the transition from being friends and
colleagues to being biographer and subject. I appreciated that
Chittister had no editorial role in this book, nor did she desire
such a role.

While one can get a strong sense of an author by the works
he or she produces, this biography gives much new insight into
this woman’s life – from a childhood that was well beyond difficult
into religious life and beyond into international prominence.

The story of the Erie Benedictines, Chittister’s religious
community, is naturally woven into this book. Chittister entered
the Benedictines in 1952. Her story then involves the changes the
community underwent after Vatican II and in future years. Roberts
takes the reader inside Chapter meetings and community
gatherings as well as to interviews with Chittister’s colleagues,
friends, and community members. I am not a member of a religious
community, but I found fascinating and most inspiring the
story of how this community moved forward through decisions
that changed them forever.

Joan Chittister is an impressive woman. After reading this
biography, I am more impressed. She chose to share deep personal
pain and vulnerability. The honesty with which she sees
issues she and the community had to face, coupled with her utter
reliance on doing what is right in the eyes of God, is inspiring. In
her book In Search of Belief, she defines the opening line of the
Creed to mean, “I commit myself to make God a presence in the
center of my heart, in the humdrum of my days, in the dregs of
my struggles.” It is clear from reading Tom Robert’s biography
that Joan Chittister has done just that.

Deb Szrom Steppe writes from Milwaukee where she lives with
her husband Mike and two sons.