Friday, February 14, 2014

A Scenic Spiritual Retreat In Maine

My travels aren't always filled with joy. When a good friend and colleague recently and suddenly passed away, I needed time to grieve and reflect in a natural setting, which, for me, is the most therapeutic. Luckily, I found the Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford Pool along Maine's south coast.




Though the seaside location fronting a long stretch of sugary sand couldn't be beat, this property is solely for those who desire a spiritually-focused time for reflection.

The behemoth castle-resembling building dates from the 1890s when it was a major hotel resort that later fell on tough times, transforming first into a girls boarding school in 1948, and much later, in the 1970s, into an adult learning center, a nursing school and finally into this spiritual center run by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary. But men and women of all faiths are welcome at this peaceful oasis.

I spent my time taking long, contemplative beach walks, jogging a short loop to East Point and back, bird watching, meditating while gazing at one of two ponds, and mindfully eating simple but flavorful meals, often outside at one of several picnic tables set beside shade trees. (When there is a silent retreat going on at this spiritual center, then no talking is allowed at designated meal times, which is why I chose to eat outside.) There are no embellishments here, but none are needed. My room was spare but comfy with bathrooms down the hall. But, then, I spent little time in my room because I enjoyed the comfort of nature.

And, for those who do prefer to reflect in a more formal way, you can attend morning or evening prayers in the chapel as well as mass and also the afternoon rosary.

11 comments:

Sheryl said...

Glad you found the peace and contemplation that you needed. This sounds like the perfect place to reflect and heal.

Roxanne said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you could get away to reflect.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Sheryl, It's an ideal setting, especially for someone like me who craves the comfort of nature.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Roxanne, Thanks for your kind thoughts.

ruth pennebaker said...

I'd think a place that looks this austere could help you face your grief instead of trying to escape it -- which I would assume would be more painful at first, but ultimately better for you.

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

So lovely. A perfect place to grieve and gain some perspective.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi ruth, The austerity of the interior that provided views of the ocean and the lush grounds was all that I needed to gain a better sense of serenity.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Jane, Yes, I needed a place where I could take comfort in the waves, the grass, the sand and the sun.

Brette @ PuttingItAllontheTable said...

This looks lovely and peaceful.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Brette, It was amazingly revitalizing.

Daryl @ Longboat Key Architects said...

You're right about the building looking castle-like. I really like the setting for the castle, with plenty of trees and near the water. I really enjoy the older architecture and interior design. I would enjoy seeing photos of the inside of this place.