STONEVILLE, N.C. — The community of St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in northern North Carolina gathered twice in the past month to dedicate several new features.
On Oct. 23, close to 150 people participated in the blessing of a garden and the Stations of the Cross and, this past weekend, a group gathered for the dedication of a peace garden.
“The day was exceptionally sunny and the temperature was just right as scores of people took their seats for the dedication service of St. Francis Springs’ two newest meditation sites: the Celestial Waterfall Garden and the Stations of the Cross,” said Louis Canino, OFM, director of the center. The program included reflections by Louis as well as by David Hyman, OFM, and Dan Camia, a long-time volunteer. Camia comes to St. Francis Springs Prayer Center roughly 100 times each year, according to Louis.
“A large, ancient rock formation on the property was creatively used to establish a waterfall feature facing a newly built small amphitheater,” said Louis. “Fourteen bronze stations of the cross, each with their own meditation space, have been created along the stream which flows behind the main building at the Prayer Center.”
“While naming the stations with the traditional nomenclature of our Catholic tradition, there is an added verse on each station that focuses on some of the injustices that have plagued our society in the last century, and how Christ in the person of others is broken,” he said. “It is our hope that our Stations of the Cross will raise consciousness of our vocation call to promote justice.”
On Nov. 13, the SFSPC friars and laypeople had “a lovely dedication of a peace garden,” Louis said. It was dedicated to a former Secular Franciscan, the late Jane Sullivan Farris. Close to 100 people attended the event, added Louis.
St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, which opened in 2005, is located roughly an hour’s drive north of Greensboro, N.C. It hosts dozens of groups each year. This summer, the Province’s JPIC Local Contacts Retreat was held there.
In addition to a chapel and meeting rooms, the facility has accommodations for 40 overnight visitors, a dining room as well as a library, alabyrinth, a Mary’s Garden, a meditation room, outdoor chapel, and several hermitages.
Louis, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., described the genesis of the center in an article in the December 2007 issue of The Anthonian, the magazine of St. Anthony’s Guild. “This is not my project. It is the Lord’s project and I knew he would provide for us,” said Louis in relating how he raised funds to build the 25,000-square foot center.
Photos of the Oct. 23 dedication and other events can be found on the St. Francis Springs Prayer Center Facebook page. Information about reservations can be found on the prayer center’s website and by contacting Ann Bauer, assistant director, at 336-573-3751 ext. 101.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “St. Francis springs Prayer Center Plans Anniversary Celebration” – April 29, 2015, HNP Today
- “St. Francis Springs Prayer Center Opens Labyrinth, Mary’s Garden” – June 11, 2014, HNP Today
- “Louis Canino Marks 50 Years as a Friar” – Jan. 30, 2013, HNP Today
- Preaching/Spiritual Centers page of HNP website