From Hermits

The following are excerpts from just a few of the hundreds of written testimonials we have received from those who have made hermitage retreats at Pacem In Terris.

Hermit Letter

“Over seven years ago I spent two nights with you. Those two nights
changed the trajectory of my life and my family. Thank you.”
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“My son is a seminarian at Saint Paul Seminary and has
enjoyed your hospitality. Thanks for what you provide!”
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“I had a wonderful time communing with God at St. Mary Magdalene. This is such a needed place–where I can restore my soul, talk and listen. Thank you!”
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“What an amazing place you have all kept for God’s people to come and have a
date with Him. Thank you for all the preparations and the daily prayers.
You are a blessing to us first timers.”
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“Thank you for a wonderful stay! It’s peaceful place where I can come and slow down, be still, and get serious about my conversations with God. I feel refreshed and excited about where God is leading me next! I look forward to coming back in 2011.”
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“I thought I’d come here and be a mighty prayer warrior all weekend. Instead, God directed me to rest, sleep, and take delight in the woods and deer and bask in His peace. My spirit is renewed and I feel I can go back home to my children a more patient mom (at least for a little while.)”

Hermit Testimonials

June 2010

“Thank you! What a great place! I have never been in the woods in Minnesota and seen so many birds and animals. the most magical moment was at the dock when a beaver decided to swing out in front of me. Silence is scary but with human silence we for once really listen to what nature has to say to us. I suppose you could say you hear God. For that I thank you.”

“Thank you for the prayer support which is proving to be especially powerful right now. I am working trough some very difficult and painful childhood abuse memories, but want to get through them and put them behind me so I can do whatever God’s will might be. A place like Pacem where you can be alone with God is perfect for this kind of “work”. Thank you for everything.”

May 2010

Hermit Letter“What a gift to be in God’s holy presence. It seems as though the time was not long enough, but this will hopefully bring me back very soon! Shalom”

“This was a wonderful experience for me and I will be back. It was great to have the quiet time to reflect with God and the Holy Spirit. Thank you!”

“Praise be to our God! Intimacy with a thrice holy God through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord–a possibility beyond imagination, yet real. May God richly bless all as He has me!”

“Yes, this weekend won’t soon be forgotten by this young mom of three. I will seek God in stillness and quiet more purposefully now because I know He is there. As a pilgrim I will journey to this place again to seek God and find Him. What you have here is a treasure and I will share it with others–like my faith in a majestic, one, true God.”

“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.”

“God is so Good! I thought I was coming here to get over my fear of loneliness, but in-stead, God saturated me with His love and gave me peace with being alone–with Him. This is my Poustinia! Alleluia!!”

August 2011

“I really loved being here. I work with a lot of teens, so I rarely have time to sit and “think” like Little Flower often did. It’s really what I need to recharge. You can be sure that I will be coming back. We at C.Y.E. will be praying for you and your ministry. God Bless!”

 

 

“Once again I have been blessed to be here with Jesus, our Loving God and the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit.I am rested in body, renewed in my soul and revived in spirit . . .ready to return to ministry. May God continue to bless and prosper this ministry to all who seek the fullness of God’s purpose.”

 

September 2011

“Thank you for allowing me this extra time to spend with our Lord. It was amazing & a much needed rest. Thank you for your prayers and providing a place where we can leave the world behind and be in His uninterrupted presence. Blessings.”

February 2012

I haven’t been here for awhile, but I’m thankful I came again! I can’t stop saying I’m so glad to be alone with my Lord, ’cause lately there have been noises and interruptions where I live. Here again He spoke and gave His peace and guidance to go into 2012. He even sent some extra “kisses” – a little bird, right outside my window. May Jesus bless each one of you today!

I am eating the silence like bread and it fed my soul Jesus was here with me and we had a great time together.I took 3 delicious walks, one at night, and felt very safe!

June 2012

God does amazing work here – He restores, blesses and provides just what each of us need. I come away refreshed. And as a bonus I got to see does and fawns and even a hawk! And I’m sure God has a purpose for the deer fly – even if I don’t know what it is! As always – I will be back.

Winter 2012

Thank you so much for providing this holy place for me to “stop the world” for 2 days and sit with God. My take-away from this experience is to be still and know ( rather than try to feel) that God is God. When my life gets hectic again (and surely it will) I will always have this moment to recall and remember that I know God is God, and that He is with me. Thank you.

Archives

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!”

Other Notes

“Thank you – I feel as if I’ve discovered a new definition of peace!”

“I just wanted to thank you for making a place like Pacem In Terris possible and available. I did not leave Pacem the same person. I know my faith and relationship with God and the world have been enhanced.”

“What an amazing blessing it has been for me to still myself in the presence of God, free from any distraction. From the moment I entered this place I felt peace flooding my soul.”

“I’ve always thought of the Lord in the things that are powerful: thunder, multitudes of people in musical worship. But I have learned He also comes through and speaks to me in a gentle whisper. I have experienced an incredible gift from the Lord, to be still – alone- and know that He is God.”

“How can I thank you for what I’ve experienced here? To walk in the beauty of God’s creation–to pray to Him and to listen–to listen in a way that I never have before. I don’t leave here with answers to all my problems. I leave with peace–knowing that He is all I need. Bless you all! Bless this place. I will return.”

“Just a note to let you know what a wonderful and special prayer experience it was for me staying at your hermitage. The silence was golden and the solitude enfolding – an experience I will return to have again. Thank you again for everything. It was a beautiful day in a sacred space.”

“The hermitage experience was like nothing I have ever done before. I cannot think of one thing that needs to be changed. I know deep within me that God is ever-present in this place, working miracles inside of people who come here. God bless all of you – I shall return.”

“Thank you so very much for the role you played in my blessed time with the Lord! This is a beautiful place, beautifully maintained and a beautiful reflection of God’s love and provision. I leave with a whole new and refreshed perspective on God’s will for my life and ministry.”

“I just wanted to thank you again for your hospitality, prayers and caring. God spoke to me in so many ways at Pacem. I feel peaceful, renewed and challenged to a deeper faith life. Pacem was just what I needed and just when I needed it – God’s perfect timing.”