Spirit of Beguines: Retreat Itinerary
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In the Spirit of the Beguines

A Retreat and Pilgrimage in Belgium


Deepening Love, Courage & Community

September 18-27, 2015


Registration Details

Begijnhof Congres Hotel

 Click on "Spirit of the Beguines" navigation link on left for detailed itinerary.



Building an Intimate Gathering:

The Spirit of the Beguines Retreat and Pilgrimage is limited to twenty-eight retreat participants. We look forward to creating deep connections and fostering new friendships with our shared explorations. We anticipate with excitement the contributions each person will make to the retreat as we gather a group of talented, spirited and openly curious pilgrims.


Making a Financial Commitment:

The retreat has been priced to cover specific costs involved in hosting the retreat. We are happy to be transparent with our budget and share the cost structure with retreat participants.


The cost of the nine day retreat is $3100.00 if paid in-full by June 1st 2015. A non-refundable deposit of $350 is due at time of registration with balance due within 30 days of acceptance, to ensure your spot in the retreat. If for some reason your application is not accepted (i.e., because the retreat is full) your deposit will be refunded. After June 1st the cost of the retreat is $3450.00. Based on our previous experience of offering small, nurturing retreats "In the Spirit of the Beguines Retreat and Pilgrimage" will be filled by June 1st so if you are inspired to join us, please make your commitment early.




What is covered in the retreat fee:

         Private Bus transportation from the Brussel Nationaal/Bruxelles-National Airport mid-morning on Saturday, September 19, 2015 to our hotel in Brugge, Belgium. (Plan flights to arrive by 9:00AM. If you arrive later or want to arrive early we will provide information regarding taking a train, at your own cost, to the hotel which is approximately sixty minutes from the airport).

         Eight nights single occupancy lodging: Three nights at Hotel Novotel Brugge Centrum. http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-1033-novotel-brugge-centrum/index.shtml And five nights at Begijnhof Hotel in Leuven Belgium, directly adjacent to the Groot Begijnhof of Leuven. http://www.bchotel.be/en/     All rooms include private bath, hairdryer, TV, direct-dial telephones, full breakfast and use of fitness facilities.  Although there are some double rooms, the price is the same whether you are a single or a double. For some quiet retreat time we encourage your use of single rooms even if you come with a friend.


o   Breakfast every day: Starting Sunday, September 20th  thru Sunday, September 27th 2015.  

o   Lunch every day except Sunday September 20th when you are free to enjoy lunch on your own after church in Brugge

o   Five three-course dinners hosted at the Novotel in Brugge, the Faulty Club in Leuven and a special farewell dinner at the Het Anker Brewery is a Flemish brewery in Mechelen, originally founded in 1471 by a community of Beguines. Each dinner includes one glass of the local wine or beer (if desired).

o    Conference facility and coffee breaks on the days we are “retreating” at the Faculty Club in Brugge.

o   Vegetarian options can be pre-arranged. Every attempt will be made to accommodate food restrictions that are identified before departure.  

         Day Trips:  Two Full- Day trips (see Itinerary) to include, bus transportation, museum entrance fees, professional English-speaking guides and lunches.

         Private Bus transportation from Brugge to Leuven

         Two segments of teaching by theologian Rev. Matthew Fox, author of numerous books and articles that reference the Beguines and their influence on medieval culture, the spiritual experience of lay persons and on mystics like Meister Eckhart.

         Retreat facilitation and teaching by Dr. Susan Coppage Evans, Stephanie Raffelock and Prof. Dr. Rob Faesen, SJ

         Teaching materials for the retreat

         The cost of the retreat is the equivalent of all fees for items listed above, transportation and lodging for the teachers, teaching stipends for Rev. Matthew Fox and Dr. Faeson and $20.00/day per person administrative fee/facilitation fee for WholeHearted/Dr. Coppage Evans


What is NOT covered in the retreat fee:

         Transportation to/from Brussels or Brugge Belgium from/to your home (no airfare is included)

         Travel insurance.  No refunds can be made due to the small nature of our group. Consider travel insurance in case of personal emergency.

         Gratuities/tips for the bus driver, guides, hotel staff, etc.

         Three dinners are not included and are open for planning on your own or with other participants.

         Alcoholic beverages outside one glass of wine or beer at dinner.

         Travel from the hotel on Sunday September 27th to the airport.

o   Taxis will be available for individual or shared use and cost approximately 60 EUROS/$70 US Dollars. Times can be arranged once at the retreat and coordinated with other participants. The collaborating partner is taxi Jenny. The drive from the hotel to the airport (Brussels) takes about 15 20 minutes when it is not rush hour.

o   By train:There are several direct train connections from Leuven to Brussels airport. On the website; http://www.belgianrail.be/en/Default.aspx you can find all necessary timetables & prices. Should you need help, the hotel will provide an exact overview for you. To go to the train station of Leuven it is advised that guests take a taxi which will cost appr. € 10.


There will be two $1000.00 retreat assistant scholarships offered. Retreat assistants will be the right-hand helpers of Susan and Stephanie. They will have plenty of retreat experience time but will have many jobs and duties as well. Most duties will be related to providing hospitality to other pilgrims and to help set up rooms with chairs and supplies as needed. Assistants should be comfortable arriving to scheduled talks or events 15-30 minutes early. If you would like to apply for a work scholarship, please e-mail sevans@wholeheartedpartners.org with your name, contact information and details about your leadership skills and experience (be specific) as well as a statement of intent with regards to what you hope to experience/learn from attending the retreat. Also, please include your foreign travel experience and what languages you speak. In the subject line of the e-mail write: Work scholarship –The Spirit of the Beguines


Making an Emotional Commitment

It is the intention of Susan and Stephanie that our time together be one of transformation, deep nourishment and awakening. We encourage participants to be ready for the journey. This means having a spirit of open curiosity, of collaboration and willingness to offer your gifts to the group. We have tried to minimize the franticness of foreign travel by staying at only two hotels during the whole retreat and to have an integrating physical journey at the beginning of the trip and then times of contemplation and inward exploration mid-retreat, after your body is fully at home in Belgium. Even with careful planning, a pilgrimage and retreat has its elements of mystery and the unplanned, so coming with good doses of flexibility, resilience, courage and optimism is required. This is a new retreat itinerary for us so we, too, are excited to see how things unfold. Additionally, our experience informs us that it is exactly that – the mysterious unknown which tilts us a little off our axis - that has the ability to shake us out of the mundane and open us to the liminal space where visions, inspiration and wisdom emerge; the space where God whispers and we clearly hear.   If you are accepted as one of the twenty-eight participants, you will receive from us some suggested ways to prepare so that you and the other twenty-seven participants, together – can make this a powerful retreat and pilgrimage. 



Ready for the Journey

Apply to be one of the twenty-eight participants by completing the following form and mail a non-refundable $350 deposit to:



4669 Guy Hill Rd

Golden, CO 80403


You will be notified of your acceptance within 60 days at which time your balance is due. We will provide a venue for you to pay your balance due by Credit card or PayPal if desired. If the retreat is full, you will have the option of being put on a waiting list or your $350 deposit will be refunded.  


If you are not yet ready to register and submit your deposit, please do not fill out the form below, please e-mail your questions to Stephanie at stephanie.raffelock@gmail.com  or call Susan at 303-279-9288.


Retreat Applicant/Full Name:
E-Mail Address:
Phone number:
Mailing Address:
Age (must be 18 or over to attend):
Do you have a spiritual affiliation or community? If so, describe.
What is your hope or intention for yourself regarding attending "Spirit of the Beguines"?
Please describe any gifts or skills that you may bring to the retreat.
Do you have any specific concerns about attending the retreat?
What is your foreign travel experience?
Other comments for Susan and Stephanie:
Are you accompanying this application with mailing a deposit check?
How did you hear about the retreat?


The Summer Day   excerpt:  Mary Oliver  

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.   
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down   
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,   
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,   
which is what I have been doing all day.   
Tell me, what else should I have done?   
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?   
Tell me, what is it you plan to do    
with your one wild and precious life?   

from New and Selected Poems, 1992    
Beacon Press, Boston, MA