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The Sun News: Springbank retreat was a rewarding experience

by / Thursday, 08 March 2007 / Published in Articles, Media


For years now, I have wanted to visit and experience Springbank Retreat Center near Kingstree, so last Friday, I packed my bag and drove to the eco-spiritual center for a retreat called “Dreams: Visions of the Night.”

Leading the retreat was Justina Lasley, a dream specialist, who enjoys working with individuals and groups to unlock the wisdom of their unconscious. She is internationally recognized as a leader of individual and group work, a lecturer and qualitative researcher.

Springbank was founded as a plantation in the 1770s. However, for more than 50 years, the center has been used for retreats, hospitality, healing and the arts. It is located on 80 acres in a quiet, rural setting in Williamsburg County. The peaceful place is surrounded by woods with walking trails, which are lined with ancient live oaks and magnolia trees, plus flowering plants. Peace and serenity.

The director of the center is Trina McCormick OP, who has a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting and is a certified massage therapist, spiritual director and Well-Springs facilitator. She brings a deep respect for earth through scripture, native teachings, prayer, watercolor and healing massage.

Other staff members include Ursula Ording OP, who has an master’s degree in earth science, teaches pottery making and also plans and prepares the food for the center with an accent on vegetarian meals.

Karla Barker OSF has an master’s in culture and creation spirituality. She integrates Christian and Native American wisdom at Springbank. Judy Markiewicz SND has an master’s in pastoral counseling, and being of native heritage, she has a deep respect for earth and native traditions.

S. Anne-Marie Bourque is new to Springbank from Portland, Maine. She does office work and answers mail. Bourque also helps with gardening, cooking and greeting guests and presenters who come to the retreat center.

The accommodations are made up of quaint guest houses that can house 28 people in mostly private rooms. There are comfortable lounges with large picture windows and outdoor decks in the guest houses. The meeting areas are comfortable, and the spacious art studio has panoramic views of the woods. Lovely!

The mission of Springbank is to live simply, to create beauty, to respect earth and all beings, and to share the learned wisdom as co-creators with the Divine, using the Dominican and Franciscan traditions.

For me, visiting Springbank was a memorable experience, and I may have found a place to visit and escape the increasing traffic and the exploding population on the Waccamaw Neck. A blessing!

I’m planning to return for the March 23-25 retreat, “Eco-Spirtuality.” This retreat will explore the vibrant connections between the powers of the universe, personal experience and the Gospels through story, reflection and prayer. Call 800-671-0361 for a brochure.

To quote “The Earth Charter”: We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history. A time when humanity must choose its future. We must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity, we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.