Thirty-Seven Years of Spiritual Deepening for Global Transformation
Thirty-seven years ago, under the direction of Sister Virginia Mary Barta, OSF, of the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Wheaton, IL, the Christine Center was founded in 1980 in the spiritual lineage of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. It was created as a place for people of all spiritual paths to come for meditation and deep transformative spiritual work.
Sister Virgina arranged the purchase of a 251 acre farm with a barn, house and several sheds. Friends and neighbors helped to clean and remodel. By 1982 the barn was transformed into a meditation hall, program area and library. The silo became the chapel. The first hermitages were completed and over the next few years additional hermitages were built for the spiritual seekers who came to live, work and meditate.
The presence at the Christine Center of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration began in 1987 with the arrival of Sister Johanna Seubert, and later Sister Margaret Wagner, FSPA and Sister Cecilia Corcoran, FSPA.
The Center flourished during the 1990’s. Retreat program offerings were expanded. By 1999 expansion plans were in the works. During the next two years a new main facility was built that houses the meditation hall with domed ceiling and skylights, kitchen, dining hall and the office, and guest rooms that can sleep up to 14 people. Existing hermitages were renovated, six with added bathrooms and kitchenettes. The new facility was opened in 2001.
In 2010 another wing was added with a chapel, meetings rooms, offices, and library. The Center programs and staff continue to evolve and expand. We’ve developed a national reputation with program facilitators and guests coming from around the country, even from abroad. Focus continues to be on the contemplative life with programs that offer wisdom from the world’s religious traditions, including our Catholic roots.
The barn was sold in 1999 and re-purchased in 2017. A committee has been appointed by the Board of Directors to study the possibilities for the future and present them to the Board.