spiritual retreat center education


I just wanted to say THANKS! My son had a great week at the Ranch. My husband and I have both noticed a change in him. Everyday we hear more and more about the trip. He also told us that he was more relaxed than he has ever been and everyday we hear more and more about the pilgrimage. Again, thanks.

This has been a wonderful and life changing experience. Thank you for feeding my soul and letting my mind breathe. God bless this work.

Thanks a lot for the opportunity to help quiet my head.

I love this place -it's so beautiful, thanks for letting us stay here. I hope you had as much fun with us as we did with you.

This place to which you have devoted your life, and the cause to which you have done so, are beautiful and have touched me. Thank you for sharing your week and knowledge with us. It has been a wonderful week. Please send me your newsletter.

People like you make places like Borderlands very special.

I can't begin to tell you how much this pilgrimage has meant to me. The sacred places we visited, the beauty of the sun rises, the warmth and hospitality, the humor -what a beautiful place and I really feel like part of the family. Thank you so much. I hope to return some day and share this wondrous place with my family so they too can know the spiritual beauty of Borderlands.

Thank you for the opportunity to continue to grow towards One with "the Great Creator". I leave Borderlands a different person than when I came. God's blessings. Magnificent things are happening here.Thank you.

Thank you Linda, for your hospitality and teaching. This was a wonderful experience that has reached a part of me that feels new and strong. Your wisdom is an inspiration.

Thank you very much for your gentleness, companioning us on the journey. For sharing your sacred place with us, helping us to find the sacred in "the people" and in each other.

Thank you for opening your home to us. You let me be able to have experiences here I would never be able to anywhere else. Good luck with future groups.

Thank you for sharing your sacred place with us, for listening, and questions and peace, and for sharing some of your sacred friends with us -they and you and this has graced my life and my heart.

God is very present in this sacred place. If you take the time to stop and listen, you will be overwhelmed with God's presence.

Pilgrimage is about the community making a journey and finding that God is among them in the ups and downs of life.

This has been an incredible experience -integrating our hearts, mind, body and soul. It also did a wonderful job of building a great community -and reminding us that -two-legged and four-legged -we are all related.

Meaningful, emotional and powerful pretty much explains it all.

A wonderful week filled with love, laughter, spirituality and friendship. It was a beautiful and spiritual place to journey the pilgrimage with all this nature and open space.

Understanding what God has put on this earth, and respecting other's the way they are.

We came to Borderlands in search of God. In the journey this week we have found ourselves, as well. Through your insights, gentle direction, and loving care we've encountered the joys and challenges of being on pilgrimage. Thank you for the gift of this place in this sacred land. Your ministry through this place has given us much to contemplate and enrich us along the road ahead.

This trip couldn't have been possible without your kind heart. You have taken us in like your children. Thank you for everything.

Thanks for sharing your home and kindheartedness with us. The trip would not have been the same if you had not shared your stories about your past and introduced us to many people.

What I liked best was the location and Spirit of this place -the Borderlands and South Dakota. Such gorgeous country with so much to teach. I loved learning about so many traditions of the Lakota people, namely, respect for all living things; we are all related, community and respect for the Elders.

What I liked best was the underlying peacefulness of this place. I am sure that Linda has a lot to do with that. That peacefulness gave us the ability to wrestle with all we encountered along the way.

What I liked best was understanding my life's journey and seeing God's presence not only through my faith, but the Native America's spirituality. The sweat lodge was very powerful. Bear Butte is a must visit.

I enjoyed being able to roam the hills, alone or in groups. It gave me a chance to think, reflect and bond with my fellow pilgrims.

The thing I liked most about the pilgrimage was going through the different ceremonies to better understand and get to know the people from my church. I really liked being able to become closer with everyone on the trip. I also liked having "hands on" experiences with the local culture/religious practices - coming out of the sweat lodge and feeling clean and free.

From the Labyrinth Journal

This labyrinth is truly a gift. The outdoor setting magnifies the power of this labyrinth. It allows you to feel the power of God's creation all the way through this journey. Thank you for sharing this wonderful gift.

I walked the labyrinth the first morning - and danced for part of it in anticipation of what would come, thankful for what brought us. The labyrinth represented and anticipated the pilgrimage that we had begun as a J2A group, as a church that brought us here and will sustain us in the next week and beyond. Life is a prayer in formation. Thank you.

When I walked the labyrinth, I was very moved and felt honored to walk such a sacred pathway. I am so pleased that the group before us built this labyrinth, and that it was constructed out of slate from the Hills.

This labyrinth is like life, rocky in places, sharp points, easily marked paths and transitions that are obscured by wildlife. What a wonderful, humbling, joyful walk!

I enjoyed the labyrinth's design and the quiet time it allowed me to have. As I walked along its paths my mind went through many changes -not focusing on a single point but dashing about here and there -until after awhile it settled on one thing and as the time progressed I started to recite that thought like a mantra -at the end I felt refreshed and focused -thank you.

The labyrinth was a truly amazing experience and was just so powerful. It's totally awesome how such a simple walk can impact someone so much!

Praying between grass and sky. Moving with the rhythm of my body to pray.

Here is a letter to Linda from Laura Steele, who visited Borderlands in the summer of 2001. She was gracious enough to allow us to share this letter with you.

Dear Linda,
My name is Laura Steele from St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Atlanta. I came along with eleven other people and left with eleven life long friends when we came to Borderlands on the week of July 22, 2001. Just thinking about the experience I had there makes my eyes well up with tears and wish that I was there again, even if it is in the middle of winter there. So much changed in that one week. not only did I grow as an individual I grew in age, literally. I celebrated my 15th birthday there, and it was the first time EVER that I had been away from Atlanta on my birthday.

Just talking to the Lakota women made me realize how special it is to be a woman, and the things that are considered shameful in American Society that come along with being a woman, such as having your moon time (I LOVE calling it that instead of that other P word) or even being pregnant. I loved learning about the ceremonies of the Lakota and participating in the hikes up the mountains to just go up there to sit, pray, and reflect. It was an uplifting experience. When I was up on the mountain I looked down and I saw the earth, and when I looked up I saw the sky and felt that if I reached my hand up I could touch God. The only hard part about being on the mountain top was leaving the prayer ties there. It felt as if I was leaving a part of myself up on the mountain, which I was. After the realization that I had to let go in order to grow and trust that God was in fact taking care of me it was like a new start of a whole new outlook on life.

The only regret I have is not being able to do the sweatlodge, which I had been really looking forward to. But one thing that made up for it was the natural beauty of the place. When I was in South Dakota, I felt this natural security and calmness set over me. I didn't feel as jumpy or nervous as I do in the fast pace of the city. When we went up on the hill that one night I looked up at the sky and thought this must be where God likes to vacation because he can appreciate the most beautiful of his land while seeing the heavens he created clearly before he goes to sleep each night.

As I think back on my experiences in South Dakota, there is nothing that can or ever will be able to match it. I also would like to thank you Linda for opening not only your home but your heart to my friends and me. You led us on a spiritual journey that we did not quite understand the full impact at the time, but do now. Someday I hope to come back to Borderlands to continue on my journey and of course to see (your dog) Grady. Thank you for everything that you have done, and for taking to hear the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.

Love, Laura Steele

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