November 18th, 2018

Martha Retreat Centre celebrates 50 years

By Kalinowski, Tim on June 26, 2018.

Sister Theresa Parker, director of St. Martha Retreat Centre. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

A multitude of guests came out through the course of the afternoon on Sunday to celebrate the Martha Retreat Centre’s 50th anniversary within the City of Lethbridge. The come-and-go tea featured displays and talks on the history of the centre and on the Sisters of St. Martha, who have maintained the retreat for the past five decades.

“We wanted to support the Sisters who are here,” said the order’s national congregation leader Brenda Lee Boisvert, who flew in from Nova Scotia for the celebration. “There are four Sisters who live here and are involved with the ministry at the Martha Retreat Centre. It has now been 50 years our (order) has been committed to the work of developing the faith of the people in this Lethbridge area.”

Boisvert was pleased to see so many turn out on Sunday who seemed to strongly value that commitment and effort.

“I think it is the most welcoming place,” she said. “If I were to put a word on it, as soon as you walk in the door you meet hospitality. I think you walk in you feel you are safe here.”

Kathy Gillis was one of those who came out to the anniversary celebration. She told The Herald she had been coming to the retreat centre regularly for the past 20 years.

“It’s a place for me to come for that spiritual energy, recharge, peacefulness,” she explained. “I just find when I come in this building the Holy Spirit meets you right here. I think it just speaks to the gift of the Sisters of St. Martha and their service within the community, and their example of hospitality and love and care of all.”

Sister Theresa Parker has been one of the caretakers of that spiritual legacy handed down from the original Sisters for the past eight years. She now serves as director of the Martha Retreat Centre. She said the word which summed up her feelings best during Sunday’s celebration was gratitude.

“So many people coming in today have said congratulations and thank you so much,” said Parker. “I know they are not just thanking me. They are thanking all the Sisters who have maintained this place for the past 50 years. There is a lot of gratitude – gratitude from us to them, and gratitude returned from them to us.”

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