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Transition a rebirth for St. Anthony Spirituality Center: column

4:21 PM, Nov. 1, 2013  |  Comments
St. Anthony Spirituality Center will stay open after an agreement was announced last week to turn it over to a nonprofit group.
St. Anthony Spirituality Center will stay open after an agreement was announced last week to turn it over to a nonprofit group.
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When it was announced that St. Anthony Spirituality Center, the Marathon-based religious retreat center, will lose funding from the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph next year, many wondered if it would be forced to close its doors. Last week, it announced finalized plans to transfer ownership to a newly created nonprofit, St. Anthony's of Marathon Inc., that will allow it to continue to host retreats.

Reactions from leaders were issued in a release by St. Anthony's:

Making the decision to let go of our sponsorship of our ministry at St. Anthony Spirituality Center after so many years was painful for our province. Sometimes, however, when one door closes another is opened. An inspired and dedicated group of men and women has stepped forward with what we believe is a viable plan for the continuation of the mission of St. Anthony's to the church and community of central and northern Wisconsin. We are grateful for their courage and faith, and we pray that the seed they are planting will bear rich fruit in the years to come.

- The Rev. John Celichowski, Capuchin Province

At the heart of Christian faith is the belief that death never has the last word. For believers, resurrection and new life comes out of suffering and death in all its forms. St. Anthony Spirituality Center is currently going through a death: After nearly 100 years, we Capuchins will no longer walk its holy halls or minister to all who come seeking strength for their faith journey. But out of that suffering and death, new life is already coming, in the form of committed people who have felt a call to "hand onto others what's been handed onto them."

In January, they will assume the sacred responsibility for this center. I thank God for them, for their deep faith and love. It certainly makes the pain of leaving this holy place easier for me and my fellow Capuchins!

- The Rev. Dan Crosby, director, St. Anthony Spirituality Center

We hope to make the transition as seamless as possible. We will honor all events that had already been scheduled for 2014, and will develop new relationships and programs to fill the calendar. We will continue to provide hospitality, facilities and facilitation to persons and groups who seek healing and hope, personal and social transformation. Keeping a priestly presence and Catholic worship are central to our mission.

- Joseph Breaman, President, St. Anthony's of Marathon Inc.

St. Francis has given us the example of how to live a gospel life in all of our relationships. St. Anthony Spirituality Center has been a resource to help us understand this under the direction of the Capuchin Franciscans for 95 years. As a ministry of the Gospel and a Secular Franciscan, I am privileged and excited to be part of an initiative that will take the Franciscan Spirit into the future to continue to be a resource for learning about Gospel living in new and exciting ways.

- The Rev. Frank Corradi, Spiritual Leader for St. Anthony Spirituality Center in 2014

As the years have passed, I have come to see how much our world needs men and women of prayer and virtue. I believe every family needs members who are giants of prayer, who know the Lord Jesus intimately within their hearts, who anchor their families in God's grace. St. Anthony Spirituality Center has been an integral part in the lives of thousands of people as they have grown in virtue, love and the Lord Jesus. For that, let us be thankful.

As we look ahead to the future I believe St. Anthony's can and will be with many more thousands of people as they grow their spiritual lives and live their faith in the Lord Jesus. We have here a wonderful facility in a beautiful location. May the spirit of St. Francis who worked to rebuild the church back in the 13th century be with us. May we love the Lord Jesus and all of creation as he did and grow in the Spirit.

- The Rev. Robert A. Streveler, board of directors, St. Anthony's of Marathon Inc.

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