Beyond Words - An Icon Workshop (In Person)

Spiritual Sacred Practices

Monday 04/22/2024 - Friday 04/26/2024
9:00am - 4:30pm EST

An icon in Christianity is a religious work of art, usually a flat panel painting depicting a holy being or sacred image. Icon means a symbol or image, even though an icon is an image created with paints, icons are written, not painted. The tradition of iconography has been handed down through the centuries from master iconographers to apprentices through a process of prayer, fasting and learning the skills and techniques necessary to create these images for sacred worship spaces, monasteries, and homes. To contemplate or gaze at an icon is to behold a beauty that is 'beyond words".

“Icons express in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1160)

"The Holy Face"

Dominican Center at Marywood is offering you a rare opportunity to create your own Christian icon during a weeklong icon workshop. Participants will learn about and complete an icon called "The Holy Face." During this workshop, Diane will help you find your divine eyes, to see through the holy eyes of the icon, deeper into the beauty that surrounds you. She will gently guide students through a step-by-step process of creating their own icon using demonstration, instruction and prayer. Participants will take home a completed icon by the end of the week.

Diane is a lifelong artist who’s passion for icons is contagious!

Retreat Dates:  Monday, April 22- Friday, April 26, 2024

Details:  All supplies will be provided in the cost of the workshop, and include: paint, brushes, boards, and additional materials. Please wear comfortable clothing. No previous experience is necessary. Both beginners and experienced participants are welcome!

Scholarships available.
Discounted students fee for this program is $300. Please use code STUDENT300 when registering.


Diane Hamel

When my oldest daughter was three years old, she asked, “Mom, who is God?” Her question led me on my own spiritual quest. I volunteered to teach religious education at my parish and in 1989 I began to study theology at Aquinas College. After graduating in 1991, I began working for the Catholic Church and I have worked in all aspects of faith formation and liturgical art and environment during my thirty-year career.

I had been a fine arts major at Michigan State University, so when I saw a notification for an icon painting workshop in 1996, I was intrigued, and signed up for a week that would change my life. It was during this week that I fell in love with icons and the entire process of painting them. I have been painting icons ever since that first workshop, and I have studied with several master iconographers. After one of the many workshops I attended, one of my teachers encouraged me to begin teaching others to paint icons. I have given many workshops and private lessons to people of all ages for over 15 years.


About the Day, Scholarships & Student Discount

Participants are invited to provide their own lunch daily. Snacks and refreshments will be provided by the retreat team.

Scholarships available.

Discounted students fee for this program is $300. Please use code STUDENT300 when registering.


All supplies will be provided in the cost of the workshop, and include paint, brushes, boards, and additional materials.

Nearby Lodging Options

Participants coming from out of town may want to consider lodging in Grand Rapids near Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College. Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts can be found nearby.

Country Inn & Suites

Prince Center

The Leonard at Logan House Bed & Breakfast

Peaches Bed & Breakfast