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Bethany House retreat examines ‘Spirit of Season’

Author to address life transitions

September 27, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Growing older takes patience. Handling that growth may need help.

An all-day retreat to help men and women alike reconcile their emotional self with their physical self will be Oct. 11 at Bethany House, with writer Mary Swander leading the discussion.

Reservations must be made by Oct. 5 by calling Bethany House at 570-3736 or 573-7503.

Swander, a professor of English at the Iowa State University, also is a distinguished professor of liberal arts and sciences. She lives in an old Amish schoolhouse, plays the banjo and raises geese, goats and a large organic garden.

''Each age in life has its own passages and expectations,'' Swander says. ''Sometimes we feel older than we are. Sometimes we feel more creative, adventuresome, intellectual or spiritually connected than society assumes we'll be at a particular age.''

Carol Joselyn, director at Bethany House, said Swander has been in Fort Dodge previously for a retreat. She was invited back to address the transitions of life.

Fact Box

If you go

WHO: Mary Swander, of Ames.

WHAT: Retreat, "The Spirit of Season."

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11.

WHERE: Bethany House, 1024 Sixth Ave. N.

COST: $35, includes lunch and snacks.

''Those transitions of life get difficult,'' Joselyn said. ''Especially for those of us moving into ... times for slowing down or wisdom.''

She stopped short of saying transitions may be difficult for people going into retirement age.

''I had been at one of her retreats,'' Joselyn said. ''I was just taken by it. She gave it on her book, 'The Desert Pilgrim.' It's her spiritual journey back to healing.''

For the Oct. 11 retreat, Swander will be help participants learn to live in the moment, enjoying and embracing life.

''We will seek to center and ground ourselves in our own stage in life,'' she said, ''exploring our sense of spiritual, emotional and physical aging. We will meditate upon and gain greater insight into how we can grow in confidence, experience and wisdom.''

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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