Letters from the Archives

November 2009
“I came to Pacem with no expectations. God is here and I thank you all for the warm welcome, the care package and Silence. Prov. 8:17 says “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” My date with Jesus was a blessing I cannot describe. He was with me as I walked through the rustling leaves. He was with me on the bridgeway. He was listening when I spoke to Him at the cross, and He blessed me beyond measure. Thank you for sharing your love of Christ with so many hermits. The accommodations are beyond my expectations and so God moves in the hearts of His people, Pacem will continue to be a place of peace and refuge. “But in each of one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Eph. 4:7 Amen I’ll see you again.”

December 2009
“I experienced the gift of the hermitage many years ago. It was three days of being “fully attentive to the presence of God”. Those three days enabled me to let go of some troublesome things in my life.

The small room seemed to protect me as I sat in the rocking chair looking out on a grey January day with the hazy sun trying to break through. I went for a long walk one of the days and the sun seemed to follow me. I knew God had heard my plea and He stayed with me. It was indeed a turning point for me and I will never forget that very special time.

Once again my Lord met me and spoke in my spirit and heart as I listened in silence and looked into His Word. He’s telling me I need to be still and know that He is God and that He will work all things out.”

December 2010
“Thank you for your wonderful hospitality. I felt welcomed and at home the moment I arrived. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of being at a more peaceful place in my entire life. This weekend was exactly what I needed to refocus and be refreshed before my next leg of the journey. I hope the Lord will call me to return here from time to time.”

May 2010
Father, I come to you for rest!

Not trains, cars or sirens
But the wind, birds, rustling leaves.

Not television, radio or ringing phones
But walking, reading, long hours of sleep.

Not therapist, mom, sister, or friend
But God’s little girl holding His hand.

Not cooking, or cleaning , or washing my clothes
But sitting on the porch eating cheese and fruit.

God said, “Come to me my tired little girl. Empty all that is not of me and I will fill you up. Let go of all the pain and worries of others and I will give you rest. Stop trying to fix the world and I will give you healing. I give you all of this, not because of what you have done, I give you this because you are my child and I am your Father.”

August 2010
“This is a new experience for me to be a hermit and take a couple of days out of my schedule to bask in the presence of the Lord. I came to this event with no set expectations. I looked at this time as the beginning of a process, and a way to rekindle my relationship with God as I journey as His child.

I have struggled over the years that through what I have done and what I have failed to do, I am unworthy of the unconditional love of the Father. I have studied scripture, attended women’s retreats, and listened to counsel of friends who say how much God loves me–to no avail.

From the moment staff drove me out to my hermitage–St. John the Beloved–a stay ordained by God and so perfectly matched for how He needed to minister to me. I watched and marveled as the deer ran back and forth in front of my window. I sat in awe as the scripture I was meant to study leapt off the pages, while the birds and crickets serenaded me with their songs. I slept soundly knowing how God wanted me to rest and refresh my weary body. I sang praises as I walked through the prairie and onto the boardwalk for a time of prayer and reflection, while the flowers and grasses seemed to wave a friendly greeting as I walked by.

All of this, such beauty and peace, brought to me through the vision of one who knew the potential for the hermit experience and was obedient to fulfill that call. I am grateful.

And yet, all of what God has given me to ruminate on after leaving Pacem, I take with me His words whispered to my spirit in the early morning hours on my first day when I asked Him–How could you love me, Lord?  “I love you.” I ask again–How could you love me, Lord? He says again, “I love you.” How could you love me Lord? “I love you. Be still.”

These words, at the beginning of my time here at Pacem, have been the longing of my heart. I have been able to begin a process of forgiving myself, knowing that the God I love and serve calls me His beloved.”

April 2010
“I am very blessed and thankful of having had the chance to spend some time in this little comfortable and peaceful hermitage. It felt like the Lord surrounding me in His presence with open arms. What a powerful word is “SILENCE”–to experience it this way. Just the singing of the birds and all God’s creatures and creation all around was so inspiring and peaceful. I pray that more people attempt these precious moments at least once (or more) in a life time.”

January 1010
“Pacem has become a vital necessity in my relationship with Our Lord, and I long for this place and the fellowship it brings. It amazes me that God longs for us to be intimate with Him. He is constantly drawing us closer if we would just listen. Thank you for providing me with an opportunity to do just that.

My time here with the Lord has been exactly what I needed. God directs and plans each visit just for me, yet each time I come here I’m “blown away” at how His plan unfolds. He is truly Marvelous. I spent much more time in the Scriptures—especially Psalm 25. I wrote it down and prayed it out loud. How wonderful to be able to read, write and speak God’s Word all at the same time! I am truly blessed each time I am here. I tell my friends and family that the second I cross over Pacem land I feel a sense of Peace—in a Mighty Way.”

“It was dusk as I walked the trail to St. Peter’s. The woods, which envelop the hermitage, were shadowy. The walls of the little prayer cabin reflected the last of the daylight.

For the first few minutes, I rattled about, hanging up my jacket, exploring the cupboard, testing the gas lamp then turning it off, changing into my slippers, peeking into the food basket. I lit the altar candle (not sure why, but it seemed appropriate), mentally registering a quick and awkward prayer. I’m not quite certain what to do next! What do pilgrims do?

The rocking chair, situated in front of the large, wrap-around windows, is comfortable, both for sitting and gazing, but also because it provided me something to do: rock. I wrap myself, Indian-style, in a big blanket and rock, the motion a calming outlet for my impatient energies. I’m still making mental notes about next week’s “I have to’s” and the “I should have before I came…” Conversations from this morning and last week distract me. It’s so hard to shut it off!

The woods are disappearing into the night. Inside, there is only the dancing of the altar candle, softly highlighting the cross and the two icons. Outside, the only light comes from a few stars flickering through the trees, which are now just silhouettes against the fading sky. It’s so very quiet. One can’t ignore the quiet.

There’s a moth fluttering against the window, attracted perhaps by the candle light inside. I rock the minutes past, minutes building upon minutes. The motion and the blackness is calming, healing, satisfying.

Without quite realizing it, I’ve begun to put away the preoccupations of this morning, tomorrow, next week, next month. In the rocking chair, in the quiet, in the hermitage, in the woods, the “real” world is distancing itself from me. I rock…

Suddenly I hear myself saying out loud, “What will you teach me, Lord? What are we going to do?” There’s a feeling of awkward, yet intimate, expectation in the air.

As I sit here, rocking, rocking, rocking, I understand. I have been offered a precious gift as well as a challenge: solitude. An invitation to listen, to reflect, to grow. I realize I need only say “yes” (trusting God will be satisfied even with a hesitant “maybe”).

May this Pilgrim’s adventure begin!”

Posted in: Archives