Going on Faith

AUG-SEP 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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Courtesy Golden Isles CVB going on faith [ august | september 2016 ] 34 Reserve a peaceful retreat from the bustling big city. Just a beat from New Orleans, experience Kenner, Jefferson's largest city and home to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. In Kenner, our 75,000 square foot Pontchartrain Convention & Civic Center and over 2,000 of the parish's 7,500 hotel rooms are ready to host your group. Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. Call 504.731.7083 Toll Free 1.877.572.7474 VisitKenne r LA.com Experience where New Orleans goes to meet and unwind! MERCY CENTER BURLINGAME, CALIFORNIA Last spring, Pope Francis surprised many Catholics by announcing a Holy Year of Mercy, saying at the time, "Mercy is the beating heart of the Gospel." The jubi- lee started in December and will end November 16 this year on the Feast of Christ the King. The Year of Mercy has special significance for the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame, California, just 15 miles south of San Francisco, because mercy is their core mission. The Sisters of Mercy run the 40-acre Mercy Center, where visitors will find a chapel, a conference and retreat center, a bookstore and gift shop, and a labyrinth and meditation garden. The center has 11 meeting rooms for groups ranging in size from four to 250 people in the 2,500-square-foot Sequoia Room. Groups that want to arrange overnight stays and multiday retreats may use the 90 private, single-occupancy bedrooms, although the center can help make arrangements with local hotels for larger groups. Part of the Sisters' mission is to live environmentally and ecologically conscious lives, and their food reflects that. The center uses seasonal local produce from area growers and vendors. Meals are served three times a day, and the main guest dining room can seat 130 people. Visitors can wander paths that wind through the wooded grounds as well as walk the labyrinth, which is open during the day for those seeking meditation and contemplation. The jagged stone at the center is meant to remind visitors of the stone pillar Jacob erected at the spot where he dreamed of heaven. Every other month, Mercy Center's rotating art exhibit features regional artists and their original works that showcase their spiritual engagement. www.mercy-center.org ABBEY OF GETHSEMANI BARDSTOWN, KENTUCKY The Abbey of Gethsemani, about 12 miles south of Bardstown, Kentucky, is the oldest monastery still operating in the United States. As such, it's considered the mother of all the nation's monasteries belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, better known as the Trappists. The abbey has received guests since its founding in 1848 and continues to do so today. At the Welcome Center, visitors can watch a film and explore an exhibit about Gethsemani's monastic life. There's also a shop where guests can buy gifts, books and a selection of products made by the monks at the abbey, including a variety of fudges, fruitcakes, jellies and preserves. Because the monks live a cloistered life, many areas are closed to the public to maintain the monks' separation from the world, and no tours are provided of the monastery or the grounds. However, about 1,200 acres are open to the public for walks and hikes, and visitors can get maps of the nature trails at the Welcome Center. In addition to private rooms at the main retreat house, some rooms in the monastery are available to male guests year-round. Reservations are restricted to women during two weekday and two weekend retreats a month. www.monks.org Kentucky's Abbey of Gethsemani holds daily mass. Courtesy Abbey of Gethsemani

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