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IHM Mission Flourishing in New Ways

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM

Among the many retreats and presentations I led during 22 days on the road this past Lent was a retreat morning at St. Peter of Alcantara parish in Port Washington, NY. Our former IHM convent, once blessed by the presence of so many of our sisters, has now been beautifully transformed into the IHM Spirituality Center. I was delighted to see how our mission and vision are integrated into all that the Center now offers: spiritual direction, retreats, presentations, space for quiet prayer and reflection, and enrichment programs. Directing it all is the amazing Mary Nuzzolese, accompanied by a host of energetic and enthusiastic parishioners.

“The blue door” is the way Mary described where to find the entrance in the parish buildings, and the blue door cannot be missed, proclaiming IHM Spirituality and a sense of welcome and respite to the many who come to pray, reflect, and enjoy some stillness in their day.

As soon as I entered, I was greeted by a “table of plenty,” filled with brochures, information, spiritual takeaways, and messages of hospitality. In the first floor kitchen and dining room, we gathered for another table of plenty--breakfast and conversation--and then moved into the large, inviting living room area for our time together for prayer, presentation, and process. During the morning, the chapel offered a space for quiet reflection. In the large group, conversations were lively and references to our IHM Sisters were nostalgic, often sprinkled with words full of gratitude for all that our community has given to the parish and the surrounding area. I wish you could have been there to witness the deep affection in which IHM is held.

On the second floor of the former convent, bedrooms have been reconfigured for individual spiritual direction, with each room outfitted with comfortable chairs, a prayer table, Bible, and warm ambiance.

So many who attended the Lenten retreat day asked to be remembered to a variety of our Sisters. Of course I can’t remember all of the messages so thought I’d share a very large “Thank you” from all who attended the retreat day to all of you who are forever held in sacred memory at St. Peter’s parish in Port Washington, NY.

Retreat Day -Chris Koellhoffer