Awakening Spirituality ~ Exploring Our Sacred Stories through Making Mandalas


Friday 05/31/2024 - Saturday 06/01/2024
6:00pm - 4:30pm EST

Come, retreat as a sacred community using our diverse life stories and the arts to discover the depth and breadth of Divine presence in our lives. Experience a contemplative and creative “meaning-making” space exploring the intertextual weave of word, world and wonder through personal story prompts and guided multimedia Mandala-making.

Over centuries, people across a variety of traditions have created or colored Mandalas (circles) for spiritual deepening, increased wholeness and healing, or artistic expression. Mandalas invite contemplation using lines, shapes, patterns, and color. Together, we will create simple intuitive Mandalas to explore and deepen our experience of Sacred Presence in a story from our lives. You will be given tools before and during the retreat to bring out your creative spirit and for choosing a sacred life story to explore. No experience in the arts or Mandalas is necessary.


Be here. See the blank page, awaiting your blessing. Awaken. Envision...Watch as word and image dance together. Luminous. Illuminated. This is your sacred text. This is where God's words are spoken, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in shouts. Be there to catch them as they pass over those sacred lips, tumbling so generously into your open arms.

Christine Valters Paintner

Dates & Times: 

Friday, May 31, 2024 6pm-8:30pm and Saturday, June 1, 2024 9am-4:30pm

See below for further details.


Debra Paxton-Buursma

Facilitator, Spiritual Director

Debra beholds God’s cosmos through attentive silence, creative artistic expression, and the dusty stuff of life. As a Spiritual Director certified by the Dominican Center, Debra companions with individuals and groups, designs and leads retreats, and consults through her spirituality practice, Pax Luminaria (Peace & Light). You may find Debra with her head in clouds, conversations, journals and books; her feet heading to woods, water and harvest; and her heart leaning toward other souls on her path. A Protestant by upbringing, Debra’s wide spiritual embrace trusts that everyone belongs with inherent dignity, desires to be known and loved, and offers capacity for transformative change within communities. Formerly a professor with a Phd from Michigan State University, Debra’s teaching, research and vision for sacred presence through diverse inclusive communities informs numerous collaborative adventures.

Yoli Vega

Facilitator, Certified Zentangle Instructor

“Anything is possible, one stroke at a time™” is a guiding mindset for Yoli as she explores God’s creativity in the world around her and in her own life.  As a lifelong learner and teacher at heart, she is inspired by nature’s patterns and those that can flow from a pen through her daily practice of Zentangle, a drawing method that extends the invitation to express gratitude, be present, slow down, increase focus and enjoy calm.  Having experienced its benefits, particularly during some of life’s hardest moments, she now eagerly shares it with others through classes and workshops in hopes that they too will discover the artist within.  Yoli sparks joy creating spaces through PAZ for others to Pause and Zentangle (PAZ is Spanish for “peace”).  She finds joy in books, journals, art supplies, the beach and all things coffee.  She lives in Holland, Michigan, is a Certified Zentangle Teacher and holds a Masters Degree in Higher Education from Grand Valley State University.


Dates, Times & Food

Friday May 31, 2024 at 6:00pm – 8:30pm 

We will have evening snacks Friday evening.

Saturday June 1, 2024 at 9am – 4:30pm

A continental breakfast, snacks, and lunch are included on Saturday.

If you have dietary needs, let us know by calling 616-514-3325 or emailing us at

Financial Assistance

Scholarships are available.

We do not want the cost of our program to prohibit you from attending, so please reach out to us by calling 616-514-3325 or emailing us at to learn about scholarship assistance or to make a payment plan.


The retreat will be held at the Dominican Center Marywood.

We are on Aquinas College’s campus, right off Fulton Street.

1700 Fulton St. E

Grand Rapids, MI 49506


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