History of Noah’s Ark Chapel & Retreat Cabin
Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario was one of the ministries which was formative in the choice to set apart Noah’s Ark chapel and cabin for prayer retreats. Poustinia is a Russian term for a desert place and a state of being where the pilgrim goes, “where all in me is silent and where I am immersed in the silence of God.” The quotes by Catherine de Hueck Doherty are taken from her book, Poustinia, ISBN #0-87793-083. Poustinia will introduce the retreatant to the Russian origins of poustinia, as well as encourage the modern day contemplative to find his/her own place of inner solitude.
“You have, as it were, a poustinia within you. It is as if within you there is a little log cabin in which you and Christ are very close; in this attitude you go about your business. Within yourselves you have made a room, a cabin, a secluded space. You have built it by prayer–You should be more aware of God, because you are carrying within you this utterly quiet and silent chamber. Because you have been called to listen to Him in your inner silence, you can bring Him to the street, the party, the meeting, in a very special and powerful way. He has asked you and chosen you to be the carrier of that silent poustinia within yourself.”
Poustinia, Encountering God in Silence and Prayer by Catherine Doherty
The New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California was also an inspiration in dedicating Noah’s Ark and Cabin as a place for solitary prayer reteats. Hermitage friends and annual retreats served as wonderful reminders of the benefits of spending time alone to seek the Lord’s Presence and guidance. From time apart at the Hermitage, I was able to learn that “God speaks in the silence,” and He will feed us with “the real food.” The monks have dedicated their lives to prayer and serve as true soul friends to those who can schedule a Hermitage retreat above the Big Sur Coast. Be assured, you will feel as though you are coming home when you spend time alone with God. Wherever you make your retreat, remember God dwells within us, and will help us experience a “dynamic and creative peace.” (From a Benedictine motto)
“So human hearts and human minds must grow and grope and feel their way back to the likeness all divine, where hearts shall know the word to say.” Lauds & Vespers, Camaldolese Monks