Retreats & Events

A Day Away Retreat

Day Away Retreat September 24th, 2016

“DAY AWAY” RETREAT at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Crozet, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 8:30am to 4:00pm. The topic will be “What Exactly is Mercy in this Year of Mercy?” Join us and explore the meaning of mercy and its impact in our lives, as well as some obstacles to giving or receiving mercy. There will be periods of interaction/time for meditation, quiet, journaling, walking, etc. No cost/donations for the Sisters accepted. Coffee, bagels, and fruit provided. Bring lunch, your own mug, a Bible, writing material, and comfortable walking shoes.

To register, send an e-mail to Bev Mirmelstein,, or call (434) 996-8291.

Let us know if you need directions to the retreat cabins, which are located a short distance from the monastery.


From the retreat on October 11th, 2015

Thoughts on Gratitude – Nancy Nerem

Gratitude seems like something so basic.  Like, of course we are grateful for our lives – our jobs, our family, our ability to buy groceries and have electric power and clean water.  That’s the base right?  Then we can be grateful for even more…grateful for friends, vacations and wonderful meals, nice clothes to wear and books, movies and concerts that move us.  The list goes on and on.  But sometimes it feels like we are simply spinning so fast (even in our desire for gratitude in our lives) that we miss, really, the whole meaning of gratitude and where the experience of gratitude can take us.  It’s not just a list of what we have or what we have accomplished.  Or, at least it can be much more than that.  When we are really in a place where we experience gratitude, we “feel” it- it’s not just cerebral.  It washes over us and washes away other feelings.  Feelings of fear, uncertainty and unworthiness don’t seem quite so strong. A moment of true gratitude will often bring happiness and wonder. 

Lao Tzu said, “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”  I would add, not only does the whole world belong to you – you become ONE with the world, and in becoming one you see yourself as a part of God’s wonderful kingdom.  That seems like a good place to start in beginning to think about what we can do in the world while we are here.

I think one of the most basic things that I am thankful for on a daily basis is my ability to breathe.  It is very magical, this transport of oxygen to our bodies and the transport out of what we don’t need.  It symbolizes so many other things that bring us fulfillment and joy.  By simply looking at our breathing, we can center ourselves and find a peaceful place.  It’s something we carry with us always.  We imagine ourselves breathing in attributes we need – joy, peace, love,  and breathing out things that may harm us –  fear, stress, and anger.  Once you find yourself grateful for your breath, you can even look forward to long waits in offices.  You just center yourself and start noticing your breath.  It always brings you to right where you are…the present.  Out of our heads, full of the past and the future,  what we have done, what we need to do – and right to where we are. 

This talk is supposed to be about gratitude for small things.  Because, gratitude for small things can be what makes our lives meaningful.  If we can be truly grateful for someone leaving the light on for us or remembering to feed the dog, our lives can move seamlessly through some pretty happy days.  Those happy days can give us the emotional reserve to reach out to others in love.  To give from our excess.  If we are always waiting for the big moments of our lives to be grateful, we are placing our happiness in the hands of someone else.  Gratefulness is beyond the list that you will make to start.  When we are truly grateful for the small moments, there is simply no way to make a list.  Life becomes magical, where God is ever present, and you are co-creating your life together.


Spiritual Direction Institute of Shenandoah Valley

The Spiritual Direction Institute is beginning a new division of the Shenandoah Valley in September 2014.  Orientation and Summer preparation assignments will take place Sunday, July 13th from 2-4:30pm at Friendship Industries, 801 Friendship Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22802-4566.  Since Monsignor Chester Michael retired priest of the Diocese of Richmond, started SDI, over 500 people have participated in the 2 year ecumenical program for spiritual direction, growth, and development.  Through his Open Door Ministries, SDI-Valley is currently accepting registrations for the program.  For more information or to receive a registration form, please contact Patty Huffman, SDI Director at (540) 908-7722, or ; or Tom Hook, SDI-Valley Team Leader at

Spiritual Direction Institute of Tidewater

The Spiritual Direction Institute of Tidewater is accepting registrations for a 2-year ecumenical program for spiritual direction, growth and development offered through Msgr. Chester Michael’s Open Door Ministries. There will be an informational meeting on Sunday, April 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Education and Health Resources Center in Newport News. For more information, please contact Gary Bill at 757-867-6933 or Pattie Kennedy at 757-766-1205




Old Oak Tree near Tabor House

Old Oak Tree near Tabor House