Peace Retreats was born from a dream of establishing a Retreat Centre in the north, a dream shared by a number of people.
Sister Louise Vanderploeg SSND, Arlene Logan, Aline Houle and Caecilia Neurohr were the founding members of what is now a growing ministry of retreat work and Spiritual Direction in the Peace Region. They each brought a variety of skills and knowledge upon which to build the ministry of Peace Retreats.
Sister Louise worked in Faith Formation for the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan and had both education and varied experience in adult faith formation, retreat ministry and spiritual direction.
Aline and Caecelia had completed a two-year program in Lay Formation. Arlene graduated from the Pacific Jubilee Program in Spiritual Direction. When it became clear that establishing a Centre to which people could come for retreats was not possible, they began to explore different avenues for bringing retreats to the people.
Left to Right:
Jennifer Wrzosek, Cam Switzer, Roma Kosyk, Sr. Louise Van der Ploeg,
Tracy Moore, Arlene Logan, Harold Imes and Pat Hunt
In April, 2005 Arlene organized a Women’s Spirituality Retreat in Grande Prairie facilitated by Sr. Louise. Forty women came. In December of that year, Peace Retreats offered its first Advent retreat at Caecilia’s home. Sister Louise led the first official Peace Retreats team meeting in February of 2006 with the addition of a new member, Pat Hunt. Over the next few years, the team changed and grew. Caecilia & Aline left to pursue others interests. Cam Switzer and Jennifer Wrzosek joined, followed by Roma Kosyk. Janice Orr, an ordained Deacon in the Anglican Church, and Mike Kosyk joined
the team for a time. Tracy Moore, a Spiritual Director from Detroit, Michigan was a valued member of the team during her time in the Peace area. Harold Imes, the pastor of St Paul’s United Church in Fairview, came on board followed most recently by Sheila Shepherd and Allan Forsberg. In 2016, Arlene Logan left Peace Retreats, but continues to work with the team as a guest speaker in addition to her independent work.
In 2008 year after several meetings with Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, Peace Retreats became a Grouard-McLennan Archdiocesan retreat team - with a very ecumenical spirit. The team has members from both Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, and retreats are open to any person seeking a deeper relationship with God.
Peace Retreats has been very fortunate to have the support of the Redemptorist Centre for Growth Society. Their financial support in the form of several annual grants has made it possible to bring retreats to various communities in the Peace Region and assisted in funding professional development for team members.
Since its inception in 2002, Peace Retreats has offered many retreats on a wide variety of topics in Grande Prairie and Peace River. They have also taken retreats “on the road” to smaller communities, including Beaverlodge, Fairview, Manning, High Prairie, and McLennan, fulfilling the vision of offering opportunities for spiritual growth to people throughout the region. Peace Retreats has also sponsored several guest speakers, including Sr. Maureen Wild, Dr. Jane Leifer, Sandi Prather and Fr. Bill Bernard. The team has been creative in offering retreats not only in churches, but at a ski lodge, museum, camps and private homes.
Peace Retreats is profoundly grateful for all that the blessings that have come as the result of a dream which is still unfolding.