Renew Retreat 2024 ~ Schedule Yourself or a Group for an In-Person Retreat

Dominican Associates

Wednesday 05/01/2024 - Monday 12/16/2024
9:00am - 4:00pm EST

Human beings have received from the Creator a common gift: nature.
~ Pope Francis

Are you feeling a desire to be present to yourself and others within the natural world? How might you fill a need for yourself to welcome God our creator amidst creation?

The Renew Retreat is an individual or group retreat that is a self-guided contemplative pilgrimage. The Christian practice of using scripture and prayerful prompts aligned with the four elements — fire, water, earth, and air — will help guide your journey into and beyond the garden in ways that strengthen your awareness of creation as a renewable resource, ground and energize you, and the be in the world.

Immerse your mind, body and soul in the St. Francis Sculpture Garden Renew Retreat and allow your spirit to be led to notice where God’s desires align with your deepest longings. Afterward, plan to unpack your new awareness with a certified Spiritual director through Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College. There you will find a sacred space where you and your spiritual director will encounter God’s presence and share renewed realizations.

Allow the contemplative path marked by St. Francis sculptures, to be a path on your journey toward healing and wholeness. The St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan is a peaceful scenic sanctuary for the senses. As you walk the paths along the wooded trails, you are led into the pace and rhythms of the natural world. Water, earth, fire, and air greet you — each element of nature a reminder of the peaceful relationship between living organisms and their physical environment.

Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God's creature. What you are in his sight is what you are and nothing more. Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received … but only what you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice, and courage.
~ St. Francis of Assisi

Sit a while on a hand-carved bench, a wonder breathed into being by God the Creator artist and the human artist whose hands crafted that which gives you pause and rest. The beautifully crafted bronze statues of St. Francis of Assisi along the trail, depicts St. Francis in postures of prayer, meditation, preaching, and interacting with nature. Each sculpture setting welcomes you to quiet reflection. Storyboards share the life of this inspirational saint whose writings and teachings about ecology and animals continue to inspire people of all faiths.

We will begin at Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College, transition to the St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden, and return to Dominican Center Marywood.

Spiritual direction, an individual session or for a group, is part of this retreat experience. Following time in the St. Francis of Assisi Sculpture Garden, we will return to Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College for spiritual direction. This experience highlights contemplative engagement in the natural world and helps orient our spirits to engage with — and rest in — the Divinity of the creation that is inside and all around us. With the help of a Spiritual Director, learn to seek and listen to the action of the Spirit and respond to it in meaningful, heart-centered ways.


Individual session: $60

Group session for 4 retreatants: $160


To schedule your group, please contact us by calling 616-514-3325, by emailing us at or by completing this brief questionnaire.





We will meet at Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College, 1700 Fulton St. E, Grand Rapids, MI. Directions and parking information can be found here. 

After an introduction, we will transition to the Saint Francis Sculpture Garden across the street at Marywood.

Return to Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College for individual and group spiritual direction.

Planning Your Visit

Available for small groups by appointment. To schedule your group, please contact us by calling 616-514-3325 or via email

In preparation for your call, consider:

  • Group size
  • Desired date and time
  • Alternate date

Read our FAQs, which include COVID-19 health and safety precautions, here.

More Information

Registration fees support the ongoing mission of Dominican Center Marywood.

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