La Solitude in Pre-d’en Haut near Memramcook, N.B., is a silent retreat centre offering simplicity, solitude and beautiful natural surroundings. It’s where the Petitcodiac River widens and you can smell the sea.
I love this place, with its quirky buildings, meandering trails that surprise and might lead you to an open field with hammocks swinging in the breeze, or a view of the river cut through the sumac trees. Here you can feel the rhythm of the tidal river and the still point where ebb reverses to flow. But most of all I like the quiet. With silence my senses come alive, I relax, contemplate and feel creative.
The dedicated volunteers that run the centre make the experience affordable. It costs $40 per night for stays without a facilitator; and varied prices for full weekends with a facilitated activity from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. All stays include a simple cabin and simple meals.
Facilitated activities might include art, meditation, or personal growth workshops that complement and deepen the experience there. Hilary Cantin and I have put on two art retreats here this year and found this environment allows the freedom to explore artistically and spiritually.
La Solitude was founded by Father Raymond Bujold, priest of the Holy Cross, in 1976, and directed by him until 2007. He was Roman Catholic, but all faiths and creeds are welcome. There is an atmosphere of acceptance, delight and reverence.
Editor’s Note: The Peace Beat is our third Beat. After a trip to take some photos and do some background on La Solitude, we felt that devoting time to exploring where and how people in the Greater Moncton Area find peace would fit with our mission statement.