Sanctuary on the Plain

After Divorce, a Retreat

By Kim Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Monastery of the Ascension

Divorce is a death. The death of dreams, the death of a family, and often, the loss of a father. Mine was all three. In 1999, I went to the Monastery of the Ascension in Jerome seeking peace, understanding, and perhaps, grace. I hadn’t been to church since I was a child. I am a lapsed Catholic, not religious, but the graveled driveway and lovingly tended grounds welcomed me.

The building in front of me was angular in its simplicity: tall triple-arched entrance, juxtaposed by cross-sections of wooden beams, the windows lit from within. Father Norbert greeted me. He had a serious round face, wire-rimmed eyeglasses, and a gray fringe of hair. The hallway glowed as he led the way to a plain single room with private bath, and a small desk. This would be my home for the next three nights.

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