Pacem in Terris hermitages offer silence, seclusion

| April 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

Guests of Pacem in Terris stay in hermitages during their retreats. The hermitages provide a quiet, simple place for prayer and reflection. Courtesy Pacem in Terris

People who make individual retreats in Pacem in Terris’ hermitages make a free-will donation, but the center gets “spiritual paychecks” in the form of letters from former “hermits” that describe their stories and experiences, said Tim Drake, executive director.

“They talk about relationships that are healed because of their time at Pacem; they talk about direction they’ve been given in regards to their job or school or decisions that they need to make because of that time,” he said.

In 1988, Pacem in Terris Retreat Center began welcoming retreatants. The center was the realization of foundress Shirley Wanchena’s vision to create a place for silent, self-guided retreats. Its nineteen herm itages in the woods near Isanti have been a place of silent encounter with God for thousands of people for the past three decades.

“They’re coming there because they want to set aside some of the time that God’s given them and give that back to God,” said Drake, who became the center’s executive director last year.

Each hermitage equips its occupants with basic daily necessities, allowing the “hermits” to stay in prayer with minimal concerns. Staff members provide food baskets but also offer an optional community dinner in the retreat center on weekdays. Sunday Mass is typically offered in the retreat center’s chapel, and directions to local parishes are provided when a priest isn’t available.

The retreat center also has three hermitages in the main building for people with special needs. Pacem in Terris can host retreatants of any age over 18. Retreatants make a free-will offering for their stay, which can vary in length.

Around 1,100 retreatants come to Pacem in Terris each year. The majority come from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, but the center also draws from around the state and beyond.


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Category: Travel and Pilgrimages