A unique retreat at Loretto Maryholme offers writers a time and place where they can concentrate on their craft. Photo courtesy Loretto Maryholme

A place where the writer has time for their craft

By  Kristen Curtis, The Catholic Register
  • April 3, 2016

A unique annual retreat offers writers the time and space to connect with themselves and work on their craft. 

Entering its sixth year, The Sanctuary of Writing Guided Retreat is a three-day experience for professional and amateur writers alike taking place May 6-8 at the Loretto Maryholme spirituality centre near Georgina, Ont. This year’s theme is writing as a sanctuary. 

Sr. Brenda Peddigrew is the facilitator for the retreat. A Sister of Mercy from Newfoundland who now lives in Haliburton, she has written several books herself. Her latest, A Shadow of Bells, is to be released within the next month. 

e idea for the retreat grew out of a local writer’s group Peddigrew started 13 years ago. Members found they did not have the time to write as much as they would like and longed for somewhere to get away to focus on their craft. 

For Peddigrew, “writing is not a hobby. It’s essential to my being.” She said it is important to reclaim a time in space for one’s writing. 

“Every year, it seems to get worse with having no time. I think we live in a world where the pressure is just escalating. People feel overwhelmed,” she said. 

With about 20 to 25 attendees, Peddigrew allows the writers to share their work with each other and choose one thing they really enjoyed about the other person’s 

piece. She respects that everyone has their own style and preference for writing. 

Jane Malloy is the booking co- ordinator for Loretto Maryholme. She describes retreats at Loretto Maryholme as “a beautiful, meaningful experience.” Malloy believes “we’re all different but we all have the same yearning — to be whole. A retreat could help with this, that’s why people attend.” 

She advises first-time retreatants to “come without expectations, be open to the experience,” and to “always trust that when you’re going with the intention to connect with God or the Divine, it will happen, though it might happen in a way you’re not expecting.” 

Loretto Maryholme offers a variety of different retreats and free local events year round. They also book out their facilities for outside groups to hold retreats. 

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