– Making Mosaics –
Sacred Art Retreat

February 17, 18, 2023

Back by popular demand is a completely new “Art as Spiritual Therapy” retreat. Spend a couple of days reflecting on your life, renewing your own creative spirit, and praying for the people around you. These sessions will be hands-on. With some guidance from expert presenters, you will be invited to open yourself up to the creative powers locked within. In the process, you’ll leave with a new awareness of God’s presence guiding you and acting in your life.

Session 1: “Treasures of My Life” Mosaic

As we travel through life, we accumulate many mementos that have a deeper significance:  A piece of jewelry from a loved one a lost mate, the key to the front door from your very first home, a chard of pottery from a broken vase that once belonged to your grandmother…  We find it difficult to let these treasures go because they represent something to us.  Together, these mementos form the mosaic of our life.  Bits and pieces that when put together help to tell our story of us.

In this workshop, you will learn to bring those keepsakes together in a meaningful and creative way.  Participants will assemble these pieces onto a symbolic and defining medium; a wood cross.  During this time, you will have the opportunity to reflect upon the relationships, the moments, and the significance of each piece as you place them upon the cross and in the end experience the healing, saving cross of Christ.

Returning potter and artist Debra Zimmerman of Groovy Girl Art & Studio, will take you through this journey, one that may just give you a new perspective on your life.

What should I bring to the “Pieces of My Life” workshop?

We’ll have all you need to make a beautiful cross but if you would like to create a cross using some of your own mementos, bring pieces that are the size of a quarter or smaller.  Beads, coins, jewelry, keys, dog tags, pottery chards, buttons, game pieces, shells, ball, and chain are just a few items to consider.  To fill in the gaps, we’ll have a variety of materials ideal for making an attractive and unique-to-you creation. We also recommend that you consider bringing (1) tweezers to assist in the placement of small pieces and (2) An apron to prevent the glue from getting on clothing.

This is your cross.
These are the pieces of your life.
Jesus has a place for each.

Read blog post on a special “Treasures of My Life” Mosaic.

Session 2: Prayer Pysanky

Decorating pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) is part of Lenten preparations for Easter, traditional among Ukrainians and many other East-Central European groups. The word pysanky comes from the Slavic word for “writing.”

Decorating (or writing) Easter eggs in the Ukrainian style involves the process of drawing intricate designs using beeswax with a tool called a kistka and dying the eggs in successive layers. Symbols and colors are chosen to represent special meanings.

As you create your own pysanka, you can add your prayers and good wishes for the recipient of the egg. Tradition says that to give a pysanka is to give a symbolic gift of life.

At the end of the retreat, you’ll be able to bring home your kistka kit so you can continue the practice at home.

To find out more about the joy of ‘writing’ eggs, read this article from the Catholic Register: Egg decorating brings some quarantine joy (catholicregister.org)

For more information, call 828.327.7441 or email info@catholicconference.org

Retreat Schedule

Friday, February 17
5:00 PMEvening Prayer, Deacon Gilfillan
5:30 PM Director’s Reception
6:30 PM Dinner
7:00 PMSession 1: Cross Mosaic – Debra & Dale Zimmerman
9:00 PMNight Prayer, Deacon Gilfillan
Saturday, February 18
7:00 AMMorning Prayer, Hour of Adoration; Deacon Gilfillan
8:00 AMBreakfast
9:00 AMSession 2: Pysanky – Pastor Steve Saxe
12:00 PMLunch
3:00 PMBlessing and Dismissal

About the Session Presenters

Debra and Dale Zimmerman

Shortly after moving to the area in 2012, Debra and her husband Dale began their journey into this age-old craft and haven’t looked back. Their art is displayed throughout the Hickory area and at regional pottery and craft shows and Debra teaches classes in their home studio and at local community colleges. She operates Groovy Girl Art Studio which specializes in mosaics, stained glass, pottery, and crafts. She and her husband have been highly praised as presenters for past retreats at the Catholic Conference Center.

Pastor Steve Saxe

Steve Saxe has been teaching the sacred art of Ukrainian Pysanky egg decorating. He has crafted or “written” eggs for over 20 years now, having learned the craft from an Orthodox parish in the Greenville area. He has taught the craft at Furman University’s Adult Learning Program and has taught numerous other Pysanky workshops. Steve is a registered SC Craftsman and has published an article on the craft. Steve Saxe currently serves as the pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Greenville, SC.

For comments & photos on past retreats, click here

For Catholic News Herald coverage, click here

For more on pysanky and artisan Steve Saxe…

Follow this link to A Good Egg in Town Magazine, or this feature article by Somerset Studio: Pasanky, Divine Perfection:


The price is $195 per person (private room), $165 per person (shared room).  This includes overnight lodging, three full-course meals prepared by our own chef, all materials, and fees for our expert presenters… plus access to our beautiful facilities, trails, and outdoor meditation areas. 


Please follow the link to our registration form. Should you decide to cancel, a full refund will be given if we receive at least two week’s notice. Within two weeks, no refunds will be granted.

NOTE: To make sure everyone gets quality time with the presenters, space is limited to 24 participants. Our previous retreats have filled up, so register now.