It's not Oz, It's Iowa

Lisa Martin

Working for the Sisters of Humility provides a variety of blessings that I would never have found in the corporate world. The fact that they pray for me is pretty awesome. But one of my favorites is actually a CHM ministry--Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat. It is a spirituality center in the middle of the Iowa countryside that sits on 200 acres of prairie grass, wildflowers and timber.

Leaving the city of Davenport, taking the interstate, then travelling over county then gravel roads you finally approach The Prairie Retreat which sits like a jewel on top of a hill. Once you drive up the lane and park, getting out of the car reminds me of that favorite moment from the Wizard of Oz when it goes from black & white to color; you feel as if you've stepped into another realm. A place of peaceful stillness with only the sounds of nature and miles of beautiful rolling hills in every direction.

Lucky me, I often act as photographer at The Prairie and I've also led summer hiking and winter fun retreats. A group of communications directors I collaborate with have started having an overnight retreat there once a year. It seems we come up with our best ideas at The Prairie. I hear this from most everyone who visits--that it changes their attitude and clears their mind. It really is an inspiring place.

The sisters are now planning the 4th Annual Spirit of the Prairie event to be held in August.This is a great opportunity to experience this lovely place, have some fun and enjoy local food, drink and entertainment, all while supporting this important ministry. If you are unable able to attend the party, there are a variety of retreats that the sisters host at the prairie, or a person or group can make their own arrangements. All faiths are welcome!

Over the past decade the sisters have added some very cool things: the labyrinth was created, stations of the cross from the former Marycrest College were erected, the Cosmic Walk's 22 stone markers were placed along 2-miles of walking paths to tell the story of creation, bird houses and identifiers were placed, a nature pond established and the gazebo and other meditation areas were added.

And the FOOD. Organic gardens are a part of this place and much more is raised by surrounding farmers. Here you will enjoy truly delicious meals prepared with love. There may be no place like home, but The Prairie Retreat is a close second.