Recent happenings in our community:

Finding Calm Among the Chaos

Posted by Administrator (admin) on Sep 14 2017
News >>

No one knows the challenges of daily life better than women. They serve as the matriarchs of their families and chief organizers of their households – and that’s when they’re not working their day jobs. Enter CARA, or Come Apart and Rest Awhile, a new labor of love for Sister Pat Marie Buranosky and her small team of lay helpers.

is a new program at Mount Assisi Convent in Pittsburgh whereby Sister Pat Marie and team host small groups for overnight mini-retreats in Hyacinth Hall. The first group of visitors included a Mount Assisi alumna and three friends, kicking off the program that has seen interest grow via word of mouth.

The idea for CARA came to Sister Pat Marie during casual conversation with volunteer moms helping with events at Mount Assisi Academy Preschool. The young moms expressed delight at the prospect of escaping the hectic pace of their own lives, even for just a little while. Envisioned as a sort of “bed and breakfast at the convent,” CARA offers roughly 18 hours of respite filled with programming of the visitors’ choosing or pre-planned by the CARA team.

“God reveals himself best in silence,” Sister Pat Marie says. “I want to give people a chance to experience silence and solitude away from their fast-paced world.”

Visitors can experience that silence and solitude in a variety of ways. Retreatants can come for a completely unguided experience from Friday evening through Saturday afternoon. Groups may also choose to self-guide based on their spiritual needs or select an agenda developed by the CARA team. The experience is available to individuals or to groups up to 12.

gatherings begin at 6 p.m. on Friday evenings and include Mass and brunch with the sisters on Saturday mornings. Time is included for participants to enjoy the peaceful areas on the Mount Assisi campus. Registration ranges from $30 to $50 per person based on the number of participants.

The private overnighters may include any of a number of spiritual tools, such as prayer techniques, journaling, studying icons and saints, listening to music, writing haiku poems, using art as prayer or, as Sister Pat Marie says, “anything that promotes solitude.” She urges participants to leave their cell phones turned off and to immerse themselves in solitude.

“I want them to know Jesus and deepen their interior life,” she says.

The CARA team also includes Patrice Mikec, Mary Lou Markovich, Colleen Huysman and Janine Surmick with consultation from Betty Donovan. All are creative, spiritual women. Folks from several local parishes have inquired about bringing groups and are working to lock down dates. CARA, which also means “friend” in Gaelic, does not exclude men.

Sister Pat Marie has brochures available for distribution and encourages our sisters and associates to spread the word. A mailing list also is available for an occasional newsletter about the program. Anyone interested in scheduling an overnight stay or even just being added to the mailing list should contact Sister Pat Marie at or 412-761-6004.

Last changed: Nov 08 2017 at 4:36 PM


Bookmark and Share