In an effort to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19, Dominican Center and the Marywood Campus are closed to visitors.


Walking Through Fire ~ A Retreat for Those with Loved Ones Who Struggle with Addiction or Mental Illness (In-Person)

Featured Programs

Saturday 10/23/2021
8:30am - 3:30pm EST

If you have a beloved partner, child, friend, or family member who struggles with addiction or mental illness, you may find yourself swept away on a tide of emotions - heartbreak, regret, shame, anger, grief, and confusion, among them.

In addition to all those heavy emotions, you could be experiencing exhaustion and isolation as well as have a sense of not being seen. Perhaps you’re so caught up in your loved one’s well-being, you’ve put your own in jeopardy. The Walking Through Fire retreat offers you time for yourself in a supportive and nonjudgmental space so you can …

… honor yourself and your part in your loved one’s journey
… express and share that which is burdening your heart
… experience and acquire self-care practices
… learn how boundaries can safeguard your relationship with yourself and your loved one
… remember your innate goodness
… explore how hope and possibility exist even during the most painful of times
… reconnect with yourself, your purpose, and your faith
… find comfort, rest, and nourishment

Take this day to make your well-being and self-care your first priority. Gather with others with similar experiences and focus on your journey, rather than that of your loved one’s. During this retreat, we invite you to seek the holy healing your heart longs for.


Perhaps you were made for this moment: to walk through the blazing fire and come forth as gold.
~ Morgan Harper Nichols


Franciscan Life Process Center LogoRETREAT ACTIVITIES

  • A contemplative talk on boundaries, hope, and possibility
  • Guided meditation, visualization, and mindfulness
  • Transformational writing
  • Story sharing
  • Nature walk on the tranquil grounds of Franciscan Life Process Center in Lowell, Michigan
  • Sacred listening circle


You will be gently guided through this retreat experience by a team of therapists, certified coaches, and spiritual directors, all with personal and professional lived experiences companioning with loved ones who are challenged by addiction and mental health issues. Below you can learn more about Lisa Tamblyn-Bergman, Mindy Hills, Sandra Mitchell, and our keynote speaker, Allison Stevens (limited licensed psychologist and author of Black Eye, Blue Sky, a story of resilience, survival, and freedom.)


  • Enjoy a continental breakfast with us
  • Plan to bring your own lunch
  • Have your journal with you
  • Dress comfortably and have appropriate shoes for the nature walk
  • If, at any time, you feel one of the activities will not serve you, feel free to step away from the retreat for a time to immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty offered by the grounds of Franciscan Life Process Center
  • Contact Franciscan Life Process Center at 616.897.7842 if you are interested in overnight retreat accommodations the weekend of the retreat


  • A map to the Franciscan Life Process Center
  • Information on what to expect
  • Liability forms that need to be reviewed, signed, and returned to Dominican Center before the retreat begins



Retreat Guides

Allison Stevens

Limited Licensed Psychologist and Author

Allison is a limited licensed psychologist with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. She finds it a great honor to help people through difficult issues such as depression, anxiety, and relationships. Her ultimate goal in this field is to help women find their power and courage. She works in the field of domestic violence and understands the complexity facing women as they seek to find freedom.

Allison is also the author of Black Eye, Blue Sky, a fiction book that addresses issues such as past family abuse, intimate partner violence, trauma, and sexual assault. It’s a heart-pounding story of resilience, hope, and freedom. Copies of Allison’s book are available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at the Walking Through Fire retreat. Allison is currently at work on her second book.

Lisa Tamblyn-Bergman

Licensed Professional Counselor and Spiritual Director

Lisa is a licensed professional counselor and spiritual director. She has experienced the sacred privilege of walking alongside people as they allow their deepest pain to become passageways into hope-filled new life. Her greatest desire is for all people to live in the fullness of their unique identity, and to flourish in healthy, thriving, mutual relationships. Lisa has experience with many mental health and addiction organizations, and currently serves in private practice. She concentrates on helping people navigate, heal, and live in recovery from trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, and many other expressions of unwellness. Lisa and her husband currently serve as VP and Education chairs for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Kent County.

Mindy Hills

DMin Candidate, Dominican Associate, Dominican Center Apprentice, Spiritual Director, and Retreat Leader

Mindy Hills is a Dominican Associate and certified Spiritual Director who assists with retreat coordination and facilitation. With radiant hope, she offers deep listening and gentle prompts to help others reflect on the spiritual dimensions of life and to notice the loving invitations of God’s presence within the ups and downs of their journey. Her faith-filled lived experiences support a belief in the gifts of retreat experiences that are designed to access the beauty of creation as a contemplative practice. As a prayerful companion, she empowers others to release limiting beliefs and feelings of hopelessness to live consciously active and fulfilling lives. Her ministry embodies heart-centered spiritual care with a passion for helping others rediscover and restore their capacity for resiliency.

Sandra Mitchell

Writer, Certified Coach, Presenter, and Retreat Guide

As a coach and creative, Sandra guides and supports those on a path of transforming fear, frustration, and heartbreak to that of wisdom and healing. In addition to coaching, she facilitates retreats and Write Your Heart Out sessions where she holds space for you to hear your voice first. Sandra earned a degree in English literature from Aquinas College; spent more than a year in intense study, training, and practice with The Ford Institute for Transformational Training where she received her coaching certification; completed Martha Beck’s Write Into Light and Practical Wayfinding: The Creativity Mindset programs; and has 30 years of experience in storytelling, writing, and marketing for healthcare, wellness practitioners, ministries, and good causes. For the majority of Sandra’s adult life, she has supported family members who live and cope with mental illness, addiction, and recovery. Learn more about Sandra at


About Franciscan Life Process Center

Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and lay staff joyfully serve the people of West Michigan through programs offered at their farm campus near Lowell and our city campus in Grand Rapids. The mission of Franciscan Life Process Center is based in Franciscan spirituality, which promotes a relationship with God that brings dignity and hope to the sacred process of all life through programs that assist, educate, enrich and inform. The Franciscan Sisters have carried out this mission since 1974 and continue to do so with creativity and enthusiasm.

Information and Questions

COVID-19 Precautions: For your time at the Franciscan Life Process Center, COVID-19 precautions will be in place. Weather permitting, you will be outside for the some of your time at the center, giving plenty of room for social distancing — but ensure you bring a face covering for times when we gather both inside and out. Please also plan to bring with you a brown-bag meal for your lunch-time break.

If you have any additional questions, contact Dominican Center via email at

Fees, Registration, and Cancellation Policy

Registration fees support the ongoing mission of Dominican Center.

Please register for this retreat no later than Wednesday, October 20, 2021, as registration will close the following day. Thank you!

Refunds for cancellations cannot be made after October 20, 2021.

Scholarships are available. Please contact for information.

View Dominican Center’s Refund Policy

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