Susan Hardy-Gormsen knows that God loves her and is working in her life. She also knows that God led her to Spirit Center during a period when she desperately needed it.
Susan’s husband of 34 years, Michael, died after five years of steady decline following a diagnosis of dementia and, finally, a stroke. During that time, Susan had to take over running their business in addition to being her husband’s full-time caregiver. She was surprised to discover that she continued to have the strength to keep going and she knew that strength had to be coming from God. She also recognized the hand of God in the people who came into her life to offer support, counsel, and friendship.
After Michael died in the fall of 2011, Susan felt lost. “I was in such a dark place and didn’t know how to go on,” she said. A friend encouraged her to attend to a knitting group that met at the Pullman library. Although Susan didn’t consider herself much of a knitter, she went. There she met Pam, who has become a close friend, and heard her talking about the Monastery of St. Gertrude.
It happened that Susan had just registered for “Losses of Our Lives.” When Pam heard this, she exclaimed, “Me, too! I’ll pick you up and we’ll go together!”
Susan’s first experience at Spirit Center made a deep impression on her. Not being Catholic and never having been to a monastery, Susan hadn’t known what to expect from the sisters. “I was overwhelmed with gratitude because they made me feel so welcome. I felt like they had been waiting for me to come.”
One night during her stay she woke up and looked out the window at the deep, dark, star-scattered sky over the prairie and watched the sun rise. The black of the mountains against the sliver of light filled her with wonder and “It came to me that there’s more than what we see, if we take the time to look.”
Since that first visit, Susan has become a regular retreatant, both for facilitated and personal retreats. She appreciates the time and space to reflect and remember what God is doing in her life. Her spirit is renewed by the peaceful rural setting with its prairie views and natural forest.
“I am so grateful to the sisters for what they’ve done. Coming to Spirit Center has made a difference in my life. When I come here, I feel like I’m coming home.”