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Seniors' retreat center opens doors in Boerne

By By Christianne Young-Staff Writer
The Shadow of the Dove, a non-profit spiritual retreat center, has opened its doors for senior citizens looking for rest, rejuvenation and spiritual encouragement.
For seven years the retreat center has been a dream of retreat director and founder Therese Burgess. Her husband William Burgess also serves as a camp director.
The couple is also equipped to reach out to a variety of denominations. Most programs will have participants discussing their own beliefs, since the center is not aligned with one particular faith. Therese Burgess is Catholic and William Burgess is New Thought.
"We are asking the churches to sponsor their seniors in need of support by sending them to camp for a week," the camp's founder Therese Burgess said.
"In return we aim to return the senior to the congregation both spiritually uplifted and with a renewed sense of self worth."
The retreat will cost $250 a week.
During the five-day camp, seniors will participate in classes, enjoy home cooked meals and have time for thought and reflection in a serene Hill Country setting.
"We will be offering spiritual direction. We will be offering a Bible study series and teach them to do centering prayer or meditation," Therese Burgess said.
An Anglican priest will also offer spiritual guidance.
"I do what is called Holy Listening," Therese Burgess said. "I ask the individual the right questions in order for them to answer their own internal problems.
"In asking the right questions then, their own answers come from within them. You're not advising; you're not counseling. We're not considered to be counselors, per say. We listen in holiness and ask the right questions."
Bible studies will not be mere teaching, but a portion of Scripture will be read, and the class will participate in open discussion, in order to talk about how the verse speaks to class members individually.
The Burgesses want people will see why the Bible is the greatest book ever written.
Classes will include fun spiritual exercises, such as soul mapping – a process in which each "camper" draws a memoir of his life, which will be a reminder of the person's value and the importance of their contribution to their family, church and society, Therese said.
"There will be health classes to help them know their bodies better," Therese Burgess said.
William Burgess, a former health food store owner, is a bio-kinesiologist and reflexologist.
The class is for seniors 55 and older. Class members will not be rushed through the weeklong retreat but will be able to relax and enjoy their classmates' company.
For more information or to register for the retreat ,call Therese or William Burgess at (830) 816-2999.
E-mail Christianne Young at cayoung@boernestar.com.