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November 22, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – Come join in the celebration of Winter Solstice, as the sun takes its shortest trip across the sky. The celebration takes place at Weber Retreat and Conference Center from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, 2022.
In the darkening days of winter, Earth comes into stillness, ushering in a time for inner growth and the planting of seeds to enrich the world come spring.
The Winter Solstice celebration is free and open to all. Invite a friend and bring a song, poem, or story and a treat to share. Registration is not required.
Weber Center is on the campus of the Adrian Dominican Sisters Motherhouse, Adrian. Enter the Eastern-most driveway of the complex and follow the signs to Weber Center. For information, call the Weber Center at 517-266-4000.
October 27, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – Retreatants and visitors at Weber Retreat and Conference Center can now enjoy the renovated, rededicated labyrinth behind the retreat center as one way to connect physically with their spiritual journey.
First dedicated 22 years ago with a ritual on December 31, 1999, marking the beginning of the new millennium, the labyrinth has been an instrument used to find peace and reflection by retreatants and visitors alike.
Labyrinths have been used through the centuries as a way to become centered and prayerful. The labyrinth is not a maze but includes one meandering path from the periphery to the center and back again. There is no wrong way to walk a labyrinth, but one suggestion is to quiet your mind, soul, and body during the walk to the center, spend some time of reflection in the center, and walk out again with a renewed and refreshed spirit.
After 22 years, Weber Center’s labyrinth “needed a facelift and some renovation,” said Sister Janet Doyle, OP, Director of Weber Retreat and Conference Center. Each stone was removed, cleaned, and reset and the grouting was re-laid with funding from grants given to Weber Center to meet its needs.
The rededication brought about 30 people to the labyrinth on a sunny, autumn day. Sister Kathleen Schanz, OP, former director of Weber Center, noted how fitting the season is to the spiritual purpose of the labyrinth. “This month of harvest is an important milestone because we are on this journey to live what has heart and meaning for our beings,” she said.
Sister Kathleen and Sister Esther Kennedy, OP, led participants in a ritual that included poetry by the late Adrian Dominican Sister Jean Denomme, OP; music with motions; prayer; and a nod to the mythical world.
“The labyrinth is a mythical place,” Sister Esther said. “It’s a place that can help us expand our awareness, harmony in our lives, balance, beauty, and goodness.” She spoke of mythical allies that help people through their lives and pointed to two women who represented the mythical guardians of the labyrinth. “They offer assurance of blessing to us,” she said. “They wonder what’s growing in your soul, what summons is calling you as you take the sacred path.”
Sister Esther invited participants to discern their own summons at this time – whether to learn to take better care of themselves, to accept current difficulties, or to repair a broken relationship – and to whisper that summons to the Guardians as they cross the threshold of the labyrinth.
During the ritual, as participants stood around the periphery of the labyrinth, Sister Kathleen spoke of the part labyrinths have played through the centuries as an aid to the spiritual journey. “Remember that labyrinths have been found in many places of worship, one of the earliest at Chartres Cathedral” in France, she said. “The only decision and choice any of us can make is to enter our labyrinth,” she said. “The ancients knew that this circle was the sacred symbol of harmony, wholeness, and grace.”
The rededication concluded with prayer in the four directions, a Russian circle song and dance for peace, the opportunity for participants to walk the labyrinth, and refreshments.
The labyrinth has been rededicated as “an additional opportunity for meditation” at Weber Center, Sister Janet said. “It’s unusual to have such a beautiful labyrinth of the size we have.” She added that many people who come on retreats are surprised by its size and beauty. Tucked away on the grounds of Weber Center, the labyrinth and other special additions – such as the INAI Art Gallery – offer the opportunity for people to “really get away and have some quiet,” Sister Janet said.
Many people regularly use the labyrinth, Sister Janet said, including a couple of men who walk it on a regular basis, a class of Siena Heights University students, and local parishioners.
“It’s available to anybody who wants to use it,” from dawn to dusk, Sister Janet added.