Vision of Peace Hermitages: A place for silence, solitude

Claire Yallaly

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"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

Amidst our busy lives, setting a time for silence and solitude becomes increasingly difficult. The demands of our world around us do not easily go away. We face countless requests and demands each day over the radio, on the television and from the people around us -- each competing for our time and attention.

Certainly some of these voices are important for us to hear, such as the voices of our family. However, there is one voice more important than the rest. We must give ourselves opportunities to be unavailable to the voices around us so we can learn to hear the Divine Voice. Vision of Peace Hermitages, 30 miles south of St. Louis, is a place where you can make yourself totally and completely available to God.

Situated on seven scenic acres overlooking the Mississippi River in Pevely, Vision of Peace Hermitages offers a place to slow down, catch a breath and listen for the voice of God in your life.

A hermitage can simply be a place to experience silence and solitude. Each hermitage at Vision of Peace is meant for single occupancy and is equipped with a twin bed, a desk, chair, private bath and a kitchenette. While visiting Vision of Peace, many guests spend time praying, reading, journaling, sketching and simply relaxing.

In 1974, Sister Miriam Stoll of the Sisters of Providence in St. Mary of the Woods, Ind., felt inspired by God to open a prayer house with hermitages. In 1977 construction began in Pevely. Managed by a volunteer board of directors and under the care of lay director Larry Ponder, Vision of Peace remains a haven of serenity in the midst of the busyness of life. Ponder noted that guests "feel the peace as soon as they arrive ... there is a sense of peace and serenity as soon as they come up the driveway."

Often, in order to find peace in our lives, we must enter into silence and solitude. Combining that with a mind actively anticipating God will enable us to view life as God reveals it to us. In silence and solitude, we discover that our lives can only find fulfillment in an infinite God. Therefore, in silence and solitude, we seek Him and find Him! When our emptiness has been replaced by the fullness of His presence, we begin to view our life in a new way. Silence and solitude combined with attention to the presence of God are the starting points. They place us where we may listen to hear God's perspective on our world, our circumstances, our goals and our relationships.

Consider taking a trip to Vision of Peace Hermitages. However long the stay -- a weekend or an entire week -- it will offer opportunity for renewal and time in silence with the Lord. For more information or to make reservations, visit vophermitages.org or call Ponder at (636) 475-3697.

Yallaly has interned with the Archdiocese of St. Louis in the Office of Communications and Planning. She attends the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will graduate this month with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor in business. Yallaly lives in St. Charles and is a volunteer in the teen ministry program at her parish, Sts. Joachim and Ann.

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