A Retreat for Priests: Peace in His Presence

Side view of Shrine with grape arbor 2 2Priests are on call every hour of every day. Perhaps their vocations were a bit easier when the world looked up to priests; but in today’s world, they experience increasing prejudice, hostility, and attacks.

“So why not recommend a no-cost retreat/get-away to your pastor?”

That’s the suggestion made by Brother David Mary, Brother Guardian of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist. The Knights are a group of consecrated lay brothers. They extend an offer for priests, deacons, brothers and seminarians to come for private retreats at their facilities in Hanceville, Alabama.

The Knights are the guardians of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, located on 400 acres of hills and woodlands. It’s a place of tranquility and devotion. Online reviewers say the Shrine is a bit of “heaven on earth.”

The Church is built to resemble the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, with a similar style of 13th century architecture. St. Francis is the patron saint of the Knights, who wear a brown habit to designate their Franciscan identity and commitment as Knights.

The Shrine was inspired by a vision that came to Mother Angelica. The Child Jesus spoke to her, saying, “Build Me a temple.” Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, which is the cloister of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, is located on the grounds of the Shrine.

There is a dress code for visitors to the Shrine; no talking is allowed inside the Church. An ever-present sense of peace and Presence pervades here even as visitors come and go. Gently rolling green hills, cows and white picket fences, a replica of the Lourdes Grotto containing 11 relics, a castle, two churches, original Stations of the Cross, adoration, prayer…and a great bookstore! These are aspects of the spiritual feast offered to visitors.

Picture for Judith's article about retreats“Priests are our special visitors. We do what we can to offer good food and hospitality,” says Brother David. “We are a community of service.”

Every year, more than two hundred priests and seminarians enjoy the beauty of this place. Why not send your parish priest?

The Knights hope to spread the word about their vocation as they introduce visitors to their community. The Knights are committed to guarding the Eucharist and expressing deep devotion to the King of kings. They are on a mission to spread their way of life.

For more information about retreats, visit www.knights.org and click on “Priest Retreats.”

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Judith Costello, MA, OCDS is a Third Order Discalced Carmelite from a rural town in New Mexico. She and her family live on a five acre plot they call "Sagging Acres." Even though Peter, age 18, weed whacks two acres on a regular basis, the weeds keep on growing! With two kids, one goat "kid", several chickens and ducks, Sagging Acres is always busy! Judith writes from her experiences in parenting and in studying the faith. She blogs regularly with CatholicMom.com and IntegratedCatholicLife.com and now with CatholicExchange.com. She writes for regional and national publications as well. Her lessons on faith, written for CatechismClass.com are now available in limited edition book form--"How to Pray Like the Saints" and "To Mary, Our Morning Star." She is an artist and her work can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/faithart/. Peter is heading for Notre Dame.

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