About Around the Well

History of “Around the Well”

In the Spring of 2016, Michelle Garlinski, SNJM, a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, returned from a National Association of Vocation Formators and Directors (NAVFD) conference with a question on her heart. “Who am I going to grow old with as a Religious in Canada?” In a day and age where individual communities see fewer and fewer vocations, the opportunity to gather with people of a similar age in one’s own community can be virtually nonexistent.

As she reflected further on this question, Michelle concluded that the answer was to create an opportunity for Religious who are younger/newer in religious life and formation together. The idea of a common retreat for younger religious seemed like a good way for this to happen: and so, Michelle began to dream.

Michelle, who was a novice at the time, shared her thoughts with her Novice Director, and with Ken Thorson, OMI, an Oblate Priest. The idea was to ask Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI to lead the retreat in the summer of 2017. Fr. Ron was gracious enough to agree to lead the retreat, and Queen’s House of Retreats in Saskatoon was available as a venue.

And so, in the summer of 2017, 23 participants attended the inaugural “Around the Well” retreat. The success of this first retreat led to Fr. Ron agreeing to facilitate the retreat again in 2018. The 2018 retreat has 20 participants, with nearly three-quarters of the group being new.

This group of younger religious continues to gather “around the well” each summer for a retreat, and continues to welcome newer/younger members of religious communities in Canada to join us around the well. See below for pictures from our past retreats.

About our Blog

This current blog site was born out of the realization that this group of younger religious needed a way to keep the spark burning, and stay connected with each other between retreats. Along with a small group of retreat participants, Toby Collins, CR developed the blog site. Religious who have participated in one of our retreats are invited to offer reflections on a variety of topics throughout the year. It is our hope that these reflections will be a voice of hope not only to other Religious, but also to those who may be discerning a call to Religious life.

2017 Retreat in Saskatoon, SK

2018 Retreat in Saskatoon, SK. Click here to see a video of the 2018 retreat.

2019 Retreat in Mississauga, ON

2020 Virtual Retreat

2021 Virtual Retreat

2022 around the well retreat participants

2022 Retreat in Saskatoon, SK

2023 Retreat in Mississauga, ON