Summer at the Center
Week 2: July 17-22

Topics on Spiritual Practices

Choose from our options of dynamic speakers and build your own retreat during our weeklong gathering.
Come explore topics in spiritual direction to enrich and deepen your life and ministry!

*Retreat includes the weeklong program, and meals and accommodations at Mercy Center*

Learning Grants Available

These are unprecedented times. If you need financial assistance, please fill out the Learning Grant application. We want to make sure our offerings are available to everyone.

Apply Here

Lo Cotidiano: Sacred Stories, Sacred Journey

Keynote Address: Ana Maria Pineda, RSM
Date: July 17
Time: 7PM - 8:30PM
Price: FREE

Meet all of the presenters for our retreat as we begin exploring the meaning of spiritual practice in everyday life.

Reflections from the Center - Celebrating 40 Years!

Mary Dillard, Mercy Center Director
Date: July 22
Time: 11AM - 12PM
Price: FREE

Join us as we close out our week-long retreat together and celebrate Mercy Center's 40th Anniversary!


Please choose one morning workshop for the entire week.

The Art of Sacred Words: Writing As Spiritual Practice

5-day Workshop with Lunch: Commuter Rate $75
Workshop with Meals & Overnight Stays: $625

Just like prayer, meditation, yoga, or chant, writing offers a powerful way to deepen our lives of faith. Spiritual writing is writing that honors process over product. Writing that opens up possibility, asks probing questions, and challenges easy assumptions. Putting our “sacred words” to paper can be a pathway to exploration, confrontation, healing, celebration, and lament. In this generative workshop, we will read and discuss some masterful examples of spiritual writing, and we will do a LOT of writing ourselves, guided by “free-writing” exercises and prompts; meditations on Scripture, poetry, and icons; and collaborative conversation. We will talk about how to begin and sustain a writing practice in the midst of our busy lives. We will experiment with a variety of forms and genres. We will consider how to shape our personal experiences of the numinous, the painful, the mysterious, and the transcendent into writing that draws us closer to God. At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees who wish to share a brief piece of their creative work will be welcome to do so during an “open mic” reading.

This workshop is for anyone who wants to write about their spiritual lives, but needs some support and inspiration to get started, as well as for long-time writers who want to deepen their practice, get a lot of writing done, and benefit from the company of fellow writers. Attendees who like to write longhand should bring a notebook (or plenty of loose-leaf paper) and their favorite pens/pencils. If you wish to compose on laptops or other electronic devices, you are welcome to bring them along.

Debie Thomas

Debie Thomas is a columnist and contributing editor for The Christian Century, and a staff writer for Journey with Jesus: A Weekly Webzine for the Global Church. Her first book, Into the Mess and Other Jesus Stories, is forthcoming from Cascade Books in Spring 2022. Her published work includes spiritual memoir, book reviews, and reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary. She also serves as the Minister of Lifelong Formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, California, where she lives with her husband and two children. Debie holds a Masters in English Literature from Brown University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University.

Spirituality of Dignity

5-day Workshop with Lunch: Commuter Rate $75
Workshop with Meals & Overnight Stays: $625

The Spirituality of Dignity workshop will explore the understanding of dignity through the lenses of scripture, Church tradition, Catholic Social Thought, current events, and personal experience. If the foundation is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God, what does that mean for every aspect of our lives? What gifts does our dignity provide us? What responsibilities and obligations does others’ dignity require?

This workshop will explore these questions as well as look at discernment and moral decision making. This workshop is open to everyone regardless of previous knowledge on the topic. The approach will be discussion based, so engaged hearts and minds are welcome!

jon metz
Jon Metz, PhD

Jon Metz is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jon holds a doctorate in Leadership, Learning, and Service from Cardinal Stritch University. Jon also holds master’s degrees in ministry and social work. Jon has a strong passion for the intersection of spirituality and justice. Jon has also served as a college campus minister and has served in many different parish formation roles. Jon currently resides in Milwaukee Wisconsin with his wife Lisa and two kids Maria and Nate.


Please choose one afternoon session for the entire week.

Christ of the Forest: Spiritual Practices for Earth Connection

5-day Workshop with Lunch: Commuter Rate $75
Workshop with Meals & Overnight Stays: $625

When Jesus saw that his companions were faltering, he took them to the forests of Mount Hermon for rest and reframing. Both Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ and recent scientific research reveal how profoundly humans need to experience their interconnection with all creatures. This workshop provides opportunities to explore spiritual practices that foster such interconnection, while also taking note of emerging Christian theologies that support these practices. The workshop will include two sessions of Forest Therapy — a group practice in which participants are guided in a contemplative outdoor walk. (Note that the trails at Mercy Center may be rather rugged, so those who cannot safely join these walks will be offered alternative practices for these times.)

Mary Frohlich, RSCJ

Mary Frohlich, RSCJ, taught Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago from 1993 to 2020. The Earth called to her at a young age, and awakening others to Earth connection has been a passion throughout her career. She has offered many varieties of courses, workshops, and retreats on ecospiritual themes. During the pandemic, she trained to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide. She is the author of Breathed into Wholeness: Catholicity and Life in the Spirit (Orbis 2019), and is currently working on a book entitled A World with Heart: New Stories of the Sacred Heart.

Levanté 1 Video Retreat

5-day Video Workshop with Dinner: Commuter Rate $500
Workshop with Meals & Overnight Stays: $800

Michael Fish on Road
Michael Fish, OSB Cam

Levanté 1, the first of Michael Fish’s fascinating new retreat series, is designed to help us recognize the opportunities for personal growth that are often hidden within everyday experiences. With each video session, he provides a springboard inviting fresh perspectives on life’s challenges and rewards.

Born of Michael’s experiences during his arduous and eventful fifth Camino across Spain, Levanté 1 focuses on how simple everyday events hold valuable lessons for living life in the “now.” Each session, each day, offers a separate, distinct experience that can reveal simple, easily overlooked opportunities for us to live more fully in the present and in the presence of the Divine. Amazing and unpredictable, the Levanté journey provided a wealth of wonderful opportunities to see what God can teach us about each and every life experience. Michael uses his remarkable gift of storytelling and metaphor to show us how these experiences can hold the key to opening our hearts to a wider view of our relationship with ourselves, our families and the world around us.


Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day

Date: July 18

Event Only: $30
Event with Dinner: $50

Event with Dinner & Overnight Stay: $155

Haunted by God is an acclaimed play about the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, Dorothy Day (1897-1980), who spent 47 years caring for the poor and leading the Catholic Church to a more active concern for the needy in U.S. society. The Catholic Worker became a living movement that has been responsible for feeding and housing the homeless; and today, there are over 200 Catholic Worker houses around the world. Pope Francis praised Day in a speech to the U.S. Congress, saying, “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”

This dramatic portrait, featuring Still Point Founder/Artistic Director Lisa Wagner-Carollo, follows Dorothy Day from her days as a 17 year-old Greenwich Village bohemian through her later years as a tireless champion of social justice. Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day has been touring the U.S. since May of 1990, and has also been presented internationally at the Pax Christi International Conference in Assisi, Italy in 1995, and at the 1999 Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, South Africa.

Haunted by God was written by Paul Amandes, Lisa Wagner-Carollo and Robert McClory. It was directed by Virginia Smith, with costume and set design by Daniel Ostling. Lisa Wagner-Carollo performs the play.

Lisa Wagner-Carollo

Lisa Wagner-Carollo is the Founder and Artistic Director of Still Point Theatre Collective. She founded the company in 1993, motivated by a strong desire to combine ministry and theatre. Ever since, she has toured the country and overseas with Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day. Wagner has also performed in and produced (for Still Point), the internationally toured Points of Arrival: A Jean Donovan Journey, a play that explores the life and commitment of one of the four North American church women killed in El Salvador in 1980. Lisa also works as a facilitator in Still Point’s outreach programs. Her education includes a B.S.E. from Emporia State University. She completed her certification as a spiritual director at Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin and has begun a spiritual direction practice in the Chicago area. Awards: Outstanding Recent Graduate, Emporia State University, 1997 Seeds of Hope Award, Wheatridge, 2009. Click here to view Lisa’s book, Above Along Inside and Through, published in 2017.

Taizé Prayer

Date: July 19


Experience our Taizé prayer service in-person! Mercy Center’s Taizé prayer service is usually offered on the first Friday of every month in-person in the Chapel and online. It is now available to Summer at the Center participants!

Western and Eastern Spirituality: The Book of Job and Ten Ox Herding Pictures

Date: July 20

Event Only: $30
Event with Dinner: $50

Event with Dinner & Overnight Stay: $155

Eastern and Western spirituality both have deep histories in different kinds of spiritual practice. In this presentation we will look at both traditions’ spiritual practice. Two classic spiritual texts from the West and the East -The Book of Job and Ten Ox Herding Pictures – will be explored and compared. We will see how they can apply or integrate into our own practice.

gabrielle lou
Gabrielle Lou, Psy.D

Gabrielle Lou Psy.D. is a spiritual director and licensed clinical psychologist. She specializes in providing a depth-oriented approach that supports people in their psychospiritual development. Prior to becoming a psychologist, she had worked at a global high-tech firm in Silicon Valley for more than twelve years. Originally from Hong Kong, her own diverse background allows for high regard and sensitivity for ethical, cultural, and religious values.


Date: July 18 & July 20

One Session for $25
Both Sessions for $50

Rearview shot of a yoga instructor instructing her class in studio.

Gentle, slow-paced yoga classes designed to relieve stress, improve flexibility, and build strength through mindful movements. The pace will be meditative and emphasize peace and calm in your mind and body.