Tag Archives: chapel

Rest Here Watercolor


There’s something about an empty bench underneath a gorgeous, shade providing tree… I couldn’t resist.
Here you find rest. The birds sing for you. The leaves cover you from the scorch of the sun. Time slows down a tad. And your mind unclouds. Life goes on around you without your help as it should. It’s healthy to take a time out.


That’s exactly what I did a few weekends ago at Christ in the Wilderness, a solitude retreat in Stockton, IL.


The tiny little chapel on the property is open all day and night and perfect for solitude meditation. Every retreatant is given a bandana. If you wish to be alone in the chapel, you tie the bandana to the outside door knob and everyone respects your wishes to be alone.

When I start to feel like my wheels are coming undone and life starts to get hectic, I know it’s time for a retreat.


St. Francis Woods Sketch


Being a hectic weekend, I couldn’t get out, so these sketches are from photos of last weekend at St. Francis Woods.

St. Francis Woods is a peaceful place which holds a retirement building for nuns. A highlight of the grounds is a wooded lot which runs along Hickory Creek. This is where I found a tiny plot of pines and the owl pellets.

They have many programs and even cottages for a secluded retreat (must check into that!). They also have an 1876 chapel, stations of the cross, and a labyrinth to visit.


Yes, I spelled labyrinth wrong on my sketch! Isn’t the first, wont be the last…hahahaha!

Despite my spelling this structure is very intriguing. There is only one path to the center. Walking this path with no short-cuts reminded me of life. Sometimes you don’t get very far, but are repeatedly turned around very quickly. Other times you gain great distances and time. This is how life is. Sometimes life throws you around and you do not see the end path or the purpose. And then other times you seem to accomplish a lot and feel good. Neither are bad, neither are good, they are all on purpose from the Creator of your path and you must just go through it, trusting that the Creator has a purpose and a lesson for us to learn.

Here are some photos from my visit:


The Labyrinth took about 15 minutes to complete…no cheating! In the center you are suppose to say 6 prayers, then exit on the same path.


Here is Hickory Creek. It was flowing pretty fast and had a lovely trickle sound.


Here is one pine of a group which the owl pellets were found. This picture will be a painting one day.


I love dilapidated statues. The ones which are weathered and worn have such character.


This is tiny and cute Heritage Chapel, which was dedicated in 1876. It’s charming and is in working order.


A view from inside.


A view out the window.


And finally, one of the stations of the cross which you can visit along a paved path and revisit Jesus’ death and resurrection.

St. Francis Woods is a very neat nature and spiritual place to visit. Highly recommended!

I hope you enjoyed this hike at St. Francis Woods and I would like to thank my friend, Alanna, who introduced me to this neck of the woods! 😉