Archdiocese Local

Seek a little peace this Holy Week at Marillac in Leavenworth

by Katie Peterson
Special to The Leaven

LEAVENWORTH — Lent is a season of prayer and fasting, a time for deep reflection one one’s faith journey, a time to reaffirm one’s connection with God. 

As it draws to a close, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth will host their annual Holy Week Retreat April 14-20 at the Marillac Center.

“It is an opportunity for people to get in touch with God in a deeper sense. When you enter into silence and you enter into that as your focus, you begin to have a better understanding of who God is in your life,” said Sister Noreen Walter, Marillac Center director.

“Today, there’s so many distractions with Facebook and people on their devices that you forget that sometimes it is important to unplug a little and plug into God and into your spiritual life and see where you’re being called.

“In a retreat you can deepen that relationship with God that you don’t do on a normal day because our lives are so hectic,” she said. “So, in order to deepen that relationship, you need to have that time to really zero in on who God is and what that is.”

This year’s Holy Week retreat will be led by Father Richard Gielow, director of the Vincentian parish mission center and member of the Vincentian Fathers Religious Community. The theme of the retreat is, ‘Where are all the prophetic voices?’

“Jesus was the greatest [prophet],” said Father Gielow. “Why then did Good Friday happen?”

Participants can prepare for the retreat, he said, by pondering that question and using it to find a renewed interest in being a prophetic voice.

The cost for the retreat is $70 per day and includes meals and room and board. Participants may attend the whole retreat or just the days that fit his or her schedule. Scholarships are also available for those who cannot afford the entire amount.

To register, contact Sister Susan Chase, retreat coordinator, at (913) 680-2342 or, or go online at

The Holy Week retreat is one of several retreats that are held throughout the year at the center, including daily, weekly and directed retreats. The Marillac Center, named after Louise de Marillac, co-founder of the Daughters of Charity, was opened in 2003 by Sister Sue Miller, then-community director. It temporarily closed in 2014 while the current Ross Hall was being rebuilt, and was reopened in 2016.

“The main purpose was to be a retreat and spirituality center. It was built to be that and is built beautifully,” said Sister Noreen. “Right from the beginning we started having retreats. A lot of the retreats we had were for religious, but now we’re trying to move out and have retreats for lay people and everyone so that they have a chance to experience God’s presence in a sacred space. We invite all faiths to be a part of our center.”

The Marillac Center includes a chapel, a second chapel for the Blessed Sacrament, conference rooms, lounges with full kitchens, libraries and 32 bedrooms — 16 with one queen-size bed and 16 with two twin beds — with full baths.  

For more information about the Marillac Center and upcoming retreats, visit. 

About the author

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson attended Xavier Catholic School, Immaculata High School and the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth. She majored in English and minored in music. Katie joined The Leaven as a freelance writer and photographer in May 2017. Her favorite assignment, though she’s enjoyed them all, was interviewing her dad, David, in 2017, after he completed his 100th shadowbox rosary, which he has been making as gifts since 1983. Katie’s full-time position is as reporter for the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper.

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