Presenter: Stephanie Dowrick
Course #: 1508

  • October 3, 2019 - October 9, 2019
    Check In Time: 4:00 pm
    Check Out Time: 2:00 pm

The annual Spring Retreat, led by Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick and supported by Rev Hilary Star, is a rare chance to experience your life from its most honouring and sacred perspective. This is a retreat which offers us a meaningful opportunity to come together as a single human family, without labels that divide us in any way. We will enter the sacred through focused, inspirational teachings, as well as personal enquiry, reflective silence, and community with others sharing our retreat experience. We are also blessed by coming together in the most extraordinarily beautiful surroundings. This year’s theme honours the unfolding power of inspiration in our lives – and the need we have for that continuing resource in order to live more peacefully and effectively.

Stephanie Dowrick offers clear, wise teachings within a genuinely inclusive spiritual context, drawing on wisdom traditions and contemporary psychological and social insights. Enthusiastic responses to the wide-ranging support she offers appear below. Stephanie has been teaching at Mana for nearly 20 years, and leading retreats for a decade longer. Also a social justice activist, her focus is always on how we can weave our retreat insights into everyday life to greatest benefit for ourselves and for all those whose lives we touch.

A spiritual retreat offers profound “wellbeing”. Participants are invited to welcome extended periods of silence and a constant practice of mutual consideration. Each day includes silent and guided meditation, thoughtful, accessible teachings, time for walks, reflection and guided reflective discussion periods. The beauty of Mana and the kindness offered there support the deep peace of retreat. As usual at our Spring Retreats, Stephanie will be accompanied by Reverend Hilary Star who brings to these retreats a shining example of loving-kindness and acceptance.

Why a retreat? We have no better answer than these words from poet John O’Donohue: “In some unnoticed way we have managed to inflict severe surgery on ourselves. We have separated soul from experience, become utterly taken up with the outside world and allowed the interior life to shrink. Like a stream that disappears underground, there remains on the surface only the slightest trickle. When we devote no time to the inner life, we lose the habit of soul. We become accustomed to keeping things at surface level. The deeper questions about who we are and what we are here for visit us less and less. If we allow time for soul, we will come to sense its dark and luminous depth. If we fail to acquaint ourselves with soul, we will remain strangers in our own lives.”

Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick is Australia’s leading writer on spiritual life and psychologically wise conduct. She has been teaching from an inclusive universal perspective for more than 25 years. She has written many deeply thoughtful internationally-published books, including Seeking the Sacred, Heaven on Earth, The Universal Heart, Choosing Happiness, Creative Journal Writing, and Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love, plus an inspirational study of the leading spiritual poet, Rainer Maria Rilke: In the Company of Rilke. Also a trained psychotherapist as well as being an interfaith minister, a public speaker, and an opinion writer on ethical issues, she has been leading a large inner-city interfaith community in Sydney, since 2006, and has been leading retreats at Mana since 2000. “Every retreat is different,” she says, “but what is absolutely predictable from year to year is how changed and enriched people feel by the time they leave. They are not only rested, they shine. Each person takes away something unique for them. What they share, is how abundantly resourced they feel.” You can find many of Stephanie’s shorter talks via the InterfaithinSydney You Tube channel. You can follow Stephanie on her public Facebook page facebook or her website.

Rev Hilary Star has been supporting these Mana Retreats with Stephanie for many years – and will be present again in 2019. Hilary co-leads the Auckland Spiritual Community and is widely known also for her gifted teaching of social leadership throughout the Pacific, as well as her leadership mentoring and skilled spiritual direction. Hilary lives in Auckland and is also a mother and grandmother.

“I know what a different person I would have been without Stephanie’s wonderful teachings at Mana. It’s because of her encouragement and wise words that I am able to live my life with courage and conviction” – Jude F

“What a fantastic retreat Stephanie gave at Mana. It was peaceful, reflective, thought provoking and wise (with lots and lots of compassion)