53 Mill Street, Westfield, MA 01085 • 413.562.3627

Ongoing Group Testimonials

In reflecting upon my periodic contact with the Genesis Center over many years what most strikes me is the distinctive, even unique, role the Center plays in addressing religious, spiritual and secular needs within the Greater Westfield community. At one time or another I have approached Genesis to facilitate or host a parenting workshop, an 8-week secular mindfulness-based stress reduction course, an all-day retreat for the staff of a local elementary school, and a free ongoing bi-weekly meditation group. The Center’s willingness to support each of these services is a small reflection - a microcosm, if you will- of the wide range of spiritual and secular services they offer throughout the year.

            In recent years, as I’ve worked more closely with the nuns and staff I feel particularly grateful for their truly ecumenical and open-minded spirit. Their Center welcomes individuals of all faiths and no faith to experience activities and programs that nurture the body, mind and spirit. A brief glance at their semi-annual brochure will attest to the breadth of their Catholic, Christian and other spiritual retreats and programs along with a variety of yoga classes, AA services and other healing and health-oriented offerings.

            Having lived in the area for nearly 40 years, I can confidently say there is no other facility in the Westfield area that hosts such a combination of religious, spiritual and secular health and wellness services. Every community needs and deserves such services, but not every community has a facility like Genesis to provide them. It is my understanding that such retreat centers tend to exist all too near a financial razor’s edge. I sincerely hope, for the well-being of our community, that Genesis will continue to find creative ways to maintain its financial sustainability long into the future.

John leads the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction series at Genesis, and coordinates and leads the
Westfield Meditation Group bi-weekly gathering.

John H. Meiklejohn, LICSW, BCD

I have been actively involved in a couple of support groups at the Genesis Center since 2006. Hundreds of people from Westfield and several neighboring communities have received vital spiritual nourishment and fellowship through these two groups, both of which I founded. Since day one, the Genesis Center has been a remarkably gracious and accommodating host for our groups. In fact so much so that many group participants, myself included, openly refer to the Genesis Center as their "spiritual home". It is difficult if not impossible for me to sufficiently articulate how important the Genesis Center is to me and countless others who have been graced by their kindness, generosity, and unwavering spiritual commitment to our community.

Brian coordinates two groups weekly: Men’s 12 Step group which averages 35-40 participants,
and the Conscious Contact group for 45-50 women and men working explicitly on the 11th step of their sobriety.

Brian M. Gwozdz, LADC I

The Yoga classes I teach at Genesis consistently fill to near-capacity enrollment because what I teach is consonant with the center’s mission: to foster and support the whole body, mind, spirit, and being on the journey to centeredness and enlightenment. My students, from the Westfield and greater Western Massachusetts area, return to my classes because they are able to deeply explore their lives and themselves in a safe, nurturing environment. With rates below half the cost of the majority of non-religious centers, weekend/weeklong retreats draw people from the New England and Tri-State areas and beyond, who would otherwise be unable to experience the healing benefits the programs I and other facilitators offer. Bless Genesis for filling such a vital need in our local, as well as regional community.

Kathy teaches seasonal 8-week yoga class series three times each year which regularly
have more than 20 participants, and weekend yoga retreats with about a dozen participants at Genesis annually.

Kathy Niedzielski, CYT
We cannot create knowledge without acting. The focus of this action is (a) to transform the world, (b) to establish interdependent relationships with human beings, with the cosmos and with God.
— Paulo Friere