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1-Night Working Retreat: Help Tend to Our Sister, Mother Earth

February 19, 2022 @ 12:45 pm - February 20, 2022 @ 12:00 pm


Directed by Maria Cressler, MTS and Rob McDowell, PG

The beautiful grounds of Ignatius House are an integral part of the retreat experience.  Help us care for our common home and the “outdoor chapel” as together we lend a hand to improve these forested acres. Experience the deep satisfaction of digging into the Earth with your hands, making it healthy and beautiful on a 1-night, non-silent, working retreat.

Following check-in at 12:45pm, we will gather in the Chapel for an opening prayer reflection at 1pm.  Then enjoy a guided afternoon of working on the property, “tending our Sister, Mother Earth”.  Freshen up for a 5pm Vigil Mass followed by dinner, and an evening prayer reflection with optional sharing.  On Sunday morning, after breakfast and prayer, we will again work together outside in God’s garden and close the retreat with a delicious brunch.  

‘Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.’

There is no charge for this retreat in appreciation for your support of our outdoor needs.

Maria G. Cressler, MTS
, is the Executive Director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center and has served in this role since September 2009. She received a B.A. in Sociology from Georgia State University and a Master of Theological Studies and Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Her heart for Ignatian Spirituality has broadened the ministries of Ignatius House during her tenure to include programs from Spring Hill College, Hispanic retreats, teen and young adult retreats, an expansion of the Ignatian Spirituality Project serving the homeless, and efforts to help people of all lifestyles know they are children of God. Maria believes deeply that none are excluded from God’s love, in the benefit of interfaith dialogue, and in activities that encourage mutual understanding. Prior to Ignatius House, she served in pastoral and parish roles to lead programs such as prison ministry, Emmaus, Cursillo, RCIA, and JustFaith. These experiences continue to shape her deep desire to help others encounter God. Maria and her husband, John, minister together at couples retreats as well as at interfaith events.


Dr. Rob McDowell, PG,  is an Assistant Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at Georgia State University.  He received a bachelor’s degree in Geosciences from Penn State University, a Masters in Geology from West Virginia University, and a Doctorate in Geology from The University of Kentucky.  Before coming to GSU, Rob’s career focused on water resources and environmental policy at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the University of Georgia.  The late Jesuit Superior General Pedro Arrupe said, “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning…and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.”  Rob fell in love with the Earth as a child playing in the creek in his front yard in Pittsburgh, PA, and his Catholic spirituality has been creation-centered for most of his life.  In 2016, he co-authored the Action Plan for the Archdiocese of Atlanta to implement the environmental encyclical Laudato Si’.  The Plan is now used by five dioceses in the U.S.  A member of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, Rob is also on the Board of Trustees of Ignatius House and serves as chair of the Facilities, Operations, and Grounds Committee.




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February 19, 2022 @ 12:45 pm
February 20, 2022 @ 12:00 pm
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Ignatius House
6700 Riverside Dr.
Sandy Springs, GA 30328 United States
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