August 18-21, 2011

This gathering was keynoted by S. Irene Nowell OSB and S. Mary Collins OSB who explored respectively “Fidelity to the Word of God in a Divided Church” and “Discovering Hope from a Dim Horizon”. Each presentation was followed by time for private reflection and facilitated dialogue. Break-out sessions explored other aspects of Sharing Benedictine Peace in a Divided Church, including “It’s So Peaceful Here–Really?”, “Keeping Peace: Monasteries and Retreat Centers Relating”, and “Risk Management and Safety Issues.”S. Jeanne Ranek OSB was recognized for her long service as executive director of the ABRC and a new Leadership Team members were elected to replace outgoing members S. Michaela Randolph OSB (with thanks for a full term and additional hosting term) and S. Dorthoy Manuel OSB: S. Carol Falkner OSB (Co-Director), S. Eleanor Suther OSB, and S. Marilyn Schroering OSB, joining ongoing members—Abbot Leo Ryska, OSB, Jean Maher, OSB, and Co-Director Sam Rahberg. OblOSB.Dates and site for the next biennial conference are August 22-25, 2011, at St. Benedict’s Monastery, Benet Lake, WI.

August 20—23, 2009

The Biennial Conference 2009, hosted by Benedict Inn, Beech Grove, IN, was keynoted by Fr. Terrence Kardong, OSB with reflections on contemporary culture and implications for retreat ministry following a half-day retreat led by S. Julianne Babcock, OSB, utilizing illuminations from the Saint John’s Bible.  Another highlight of the gathering came from members’ sharing their best Benedictine ideas and interaction over issues of concern in the retreat ministry endeavor.Leadership Team members for the next term include newly-elected Dorothy Manuel, OSB, and Sam Rahberg, OblSB joining ongoing team members—Abbot Leo Ryska, OSB, Jean Maher, OSB, Michaela Randoph, OSB, and Executive Director Jeanne Ranek, OSB.

May 6-8, 2008

Plans for the August, 2009, ABRC Conference headed the agenda for the Leadership Team meeting at Benedict Inn, Beech Grove, IN. Other business included a progress report on a printed ABRC directory, other publicity opportunities, a proposal to involve ABRC membership in the selection of Leadership Team members in the future, and the adoption of a set of stipend/benefit guidelines for presenters.

August 16-19, 2007

Abbot Leo Ryska graciously hosted the 2007 ABRC Conference at the Saint Benedict’s Abbey Retreat Center in Benet Lake, WI. Following a retreat day on “Humility & Greatness” led by Father John Kelleher, dialogue with Father Dan Ward addressed “Policies, Procedures & Legal Issues.” Breakout sessions addressed topics of interest to retreat center administrators. The business meeting and recreation/informal interaction time rounded out the agenda. The meeting was marked by enthusiasm for fostering the Benedictine charism in our retreat ministry, fresh ideas, and supportive friendships among directors and staff from the centers represented. Andrew Anderson stepped down as Executive Secretary; Sister Jeanne Ranek was elected to lead the organization.

January 9-11, 2006

The Leadership Team met at the Benet Lake Retreat Center, St. Benedict’s Abbey to plan the August Conference. George Freeman, Retreat Center Director hosted the meeting.

August 18 – 21, 2005

The fifth biennial conference was held at the Christian Life Center, St. Joseph’s Abbey, Saint Benedict, Louisiana. Our keynote speaker was Sister Joan Ridley, OSB. Her presentations were about Fostering Benedictine Peace in Retreat Ministry. Other activities included discussions of policies and procedures for guests and staff, and marketing and technology. On Saturday afternoon, the attendees were treated to a paddle wheel cruise on the Mississippi, Mass at the historical St. Louis Cathedral, and dinner at Brennan’s Restaurant. Twenty participants attended the conference.

The weekend after the conference, Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area. Fortunately, their were no injuries at the Christian Life Center or Abbey. And, they only had minor damage to their buildings. They were without electricity and phone service for approximately four weeks.

January 2005

The Leadership Team met at the Christian Life Center, St. Joseph’s Abbey to plan the August conference. Fr. Thomas Perrier OSB, hosted the meeting.

August 26 – 29, 2004

The fourth biennial conference was held at the Coury Retreat House Center Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco, Arkansas. Out keynote speaker was Abbot Jerome Kodell, OSB. Abbot Kodell gave three presentations on Treating Guests as Christ, Opening a Door to Interior Freedom. Other activities of the conference included, several breakout sessions, sharing best Benedictine idea, a short business meeting. The conference concluded with a tour of some of the local attractions and dinner at Wiederkehr’s Winery Restaurant. There were twenty-three participants in attendance at this conference.

The membership decided to have our conferences on odd years. Consequently, we met in 2005 to avoid waiting three years hold our biennal conference.

Winter 2003

First Newsletter was published.

August 2003

The planning team met at Subiaco, Arkansas to plan the 2004 conference. Br. Mel Stinson hosted the planning committee.

August 21 – 25, 2002

ABRC met at St. Benedict’s Retreat and Conference Center in Winnipeg, Canada. There were twenty-nine participants at this conference. Rev. Eugene Hensell was guest speaker. Eugene’s conferences focused on our retreat centers as places of Benedictine Hospitality. Other activities of the conference included: Participants shared something that was successful in their centers, process time using Open Technology format, a short business meeting. The following participants agreed to plan the next conference: Chair- Andrew Anderson ObOSB, Mary Luke Jones, OSB, Jeanne Ranek, OSB, Mel Stinson, OSB and Barbara C. Schimtz, OSB. The conference ended with a dinner cruise on the Red River.

January 2001

The planning committee for the 2002 conference met in San Antonio, Texas Date. Andrew Anderson, OblOSB and the Omega Center graciously hosted the committee.

August 17 – 20, 2000

The second conference met at Kordes Retreat Center. The focus of this conference was exploring the following issues:

  • What does it mean to be a Benedictine Retreat House?
  • What do we offer different from non-Benedictine Retreat Centers?
  • What Contributions do we make as Benedictine Retreat Centers?
  • How do we minister out of our charism?
Thirty-three participants attended this conference

May 28 – 29, 1999

The Planning Committee for the 2000 Conference (Alexander Plasker, OSB; Kate Casper, OSB; Andrew Anderson, ObOSB; Jan Ginzkey, OSB and Barbara Schmitz, OSB) met in Colorado Springs to plan the next ABRC Conference.

August 27 – 30, 1998

The first conference was held at Kordes Retreat Center with twenty-eight participants. Participants represented nineteen centers. The conference focus was hospitality, prayer, programming and administration. Presenters included Sisters Carol Faulkner, Betty Drewes, Joella Kidwell, Barbara Lynn Schmitz, Archabbot Lambert Reilly and Sue Ellspermann, facilitator. At the conclusion of the first conference participants stated they were interested in continuing to hold a conference, every two years. Other items of interest discussed were: 1) posting members websites, 2) holding a conference every two years, 3) asking for volunteers to plan the 2000 conference and 4) viewing this group as a resource for all Benedictine Retreat Centers.

January 1998

An initial letter was sent to all Benedictine Houses in the United States and Canada. The letter was addressed to the prioresses, abbots and retreat house directors. The letter asked if there would be an interest in a meeting of Benedictine Retreat Centers to explore the mission of Benedictine Retreat Houses in today’s society. Over half of the Benedictine Communities that received the inquiry letter replied in the affirmative. In light of the positive response, planning for the first conference began.