Being mindful, being present, nurturing the soul these are all reasons people book spiritual retreats. Providing those opportunities for quiet and healing to locals is why Mary Ann and Terry Maslak turned their Florida Mesa home into Silent Meadows Retreat: A Place of Prayer.
I had one woman call it a spa for the soul, Mary Ann Maslak said. I like that. Ive been on the journey for almost 40 years, and I have a lot of stories to tell and witness to give.
Maslak is a retired teacher who earned a masters degree in community leadership and spiritual direction from Regis University in Denver. Although she is a member of St. Columba Catholic Church and was raised in the Catholic tradition, she says the retreats are not based on Catholic doctrine.
I want to see people find a closer relationship with God, she said. Im not doing it for the money, I only want it to pay for itself. This ministry is in my heart.
Maslak creates an annual schedule of retreats, with each retreat repeated once because she limits group size to 10. Topics included in this years series included Suffering-Conversion-Transformation, Into the Silence, Prayer: Our Connection with God, Letting Go, the Spirituality of Forgiveness and the Sermon on the Mount.
Forgiveness had a full house, she said. A lot of people get stuck and cant tell the difference between judgment and evaluation.
Maslak worries that people are afraid theyll have to bare their souls at one of her retreats.
They shouldnt be intimidated, she said. There are three talks that are one hour each, then everyone gets a handout to do some introspective thinking. They dont have to share anything personal.
Maslak has begun building a loyal following in the three years the retreat has been open. Pat Lougee tries to go to one retreat a month when Silent Meadows is in session.
Its a way for me to reflect on Gods presence in my life, she said. Its quiet time, prayer time, it helps me enter into a deeper conversation between God and myself. I get to listen.
Lougee had wanted to attend a retreat for many years before linking up with Silent Meadows when Maslak began hers.
She takes into consideration everyones beliefs, Lougee said about Maslak. Shell mention Martin Luther, Gandhi, the Amish, Mother Theresa. ... And I get a lot out of people of different faiths who attend.
Not only does Maslak find great personal fulfillment from putting on retreats, she tries to go to at least one five-day silent retreat each year at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Retreat House near Sedalia, just south of Denver.
I have had a spiritual director for the last 20 years, she said. You cant give what you dont have.
Lougee considers Maslak her personal spiritual director.
Shes an amazing woman and just has this way about her, Lougee said. She helps me fulfill my desire to please Him in all that I do.