53 Mill Street, Westfield, MA 01085 • 413.562.3627
Event:**ON SITE** Prayerful Pause at Year’s End Retreat
Date:December 30th, 2021 to January 1st, 2022.


Prayerful Pause at Year’s End Retreat


Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

The year 2021 has held challenges for all of us in our personal lives, in society, and as Earthlings. Some of the pains we’ve experienced are related to personal loss, racial injustice and the climate crisis. Also in this past year, there have been graces as we’ve deepened into prayer and solitude and celebrated reunions with loved ones. Our time together in retreat will be in shared silence with contemplative reflection on the past year and deepening into this in-between time, liminality. Brief presentations will be followed by options for creative expression with prompts for journaling and poetry, and materials for drawing or painting; group dialog; and ritual as we make way for God’s transformative activity within us. A Creation-centered labyrinth will be available for walking meditation. On New Year’s Day, we will celebrate Eucharist and engage in Genesis’ traditional blessing of timepieces as we turn toward the year ahead.

Cost: $305, includes private room and meals. 

Optional arrival on December 29th or departure on January 2nd - $75 each night, includes 3 meals.


Facilitated by Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP  Liz Walz, ASP, and Fr. Norm Comtois, OMI (Pictured L-R)


Sr. Elizabeth Oleksak, SP, foundress of Genesis, is an experienced retreat and spiritual director and BioSpiritual Focusing facilitator. Sr. Elizabeth has a background in pastoral counseling.  She studied Centering Prayer with the Trappist Monks in the 1970's. She is also an eco-spirituality resource person.

Liz Walz, ASP, Executive Director of Genesis, draws on her experience as a Catholic Worker, Plowshares activist, non-violence trainer, yoga teacher and massage therapist in facilitating programs, retreats and group process.  She is trained as a Spiritual Director and BioSpiritual Focusing Facilitator. In 2018 she graduated from the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Living School; she is a facilitator of Circle Groups for new Living School participants. Liz co-founded and is Director of the Genesis School for Contemplative Living. In March 2020, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, she launched Heart Centered Meditation, a virtual, twice-daily meditation and sharing group. Liz is currently enrolled in a Masters/Doctoral program, Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies through Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Fr. Norman Comtois, OMI, MA is an ordained Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates.  His experience in Pastoral Counseling, Intentional Eucharistic Communities and Renewal programs for women religious continue to inform his ministry as a current retreat director. Since the year 2000 he has devoted his interest and education toward developing retreats and courses that bring the Universe Story to life in a spiritually relevant and meaningful way. Father Norm encourages those attending his presentations and retreats to ponder the wisdom of their religious tradition in the context of the Universe Story and of contemplative ecology. 


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*Semi-private room requests, please call 413-562-3627

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It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others' religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world's religions is a sacred duty.
- Mahatma Gandhi