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2017 Programs

The sun staff
​Spring Equinox

Saturday, March 18, 2017, 2:00 - 4:00 pm

Join us as we celebrate the beginning of springtime with Judy Williamson, Spiritual Programs Coordinator at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Judy will lead us in a meditative drawing/coloring technique using recycled paper. This is an experience everyone can enjoy, not only artists. We'll also have our ritual "turning of the sun staff" followed by refreshments. Please bring a springtime treat to share.

Registration: 618-466-5004 or

Include your name and the number attending.

Optional donations gratefully accepted.

Dancing at the celebration
Monarch landing on milkweed
Pollinator Garden Concert Fundraiser
and Summer Solstice Celebration

Saturday, June 24, 2017, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Pollinators care for us, responsible for every third bite of food we eat. At La Vista we care for them by providing a pesticide free habitat and a way station for migrating monarchs.


Join us and be part of this special effort. Spend a relaxing evening at La Vista for a good cause! Enjoy great music, savor delicious hors d'oeuvres, revel in sunset on the bluffs, contribute to the ongoing creation of our pollinator garden.

Music by Chaz and Friends: American and Celtic Folk Rock, Irish and African traditional. Musicians: Chaz Nesmith, Mitzi McDonald, Tim Mead, Anna Allen, Michael Levine, Allison Niesen, Cheryl Schaefer, and OMI Novices.

Information: 618-466-5004 or

Ticket Donation: $15 Adults, $10 Students, Free for children under 10

Register by sending your donation to:

La Vista Ecological Learning Center 

4300 Levis Lane

Godfrey, IL 62035

Confirmation by email; please include your address.

Please bring a lawn chair.

Download a flyer

Bee on nasturtium
Autumn Equinox and a Celebration of Birds

Saturday, September 23, 2017, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Join us for the beginning of the autumn season and celebrate BIRDS! You will hear Bob White (no kidding) share his passion for birding. You'll learn how to identify birds from their calls and what to look for during the autumn and winter migrations.

Cost: Optional donations gratefully accepted.

Registration is requested: Call 618-466-5004 or e-mail us at

Please bring an autumn snack or drink to share.

Inside view of the lodge
Winterfires Coffeehouse


Saturday, January 21, 2017, 7:00 - 9:00 pm

'Hope' is the thing with feathers - 
that perches in the soul - 
and sings the tune without the words - 
and never stops - at all - 
Emily Dickinson

Join us around the warmth of the fireplace in the Oblates' home and nurture hope in your soul as the depths of wintertime call us to this annual evening of inspiring poetry, camaraderie, tasty treats, coffee and Mexican hot chocolate. Please bring original or found poetry, story, jokes, music, and a snack/dessert to share. It's time to have some fun!

Cost: Optional donations gratefully accepted.

Registration: Call 618-466-5004 or email us at Include name and number attending.

Anu Trzaska prepping food for workshop.
Authentic Indian Cuisine Cooking Class

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Our first cooking class with Anu in October was a great success! Participants learned how to use spices and how to create delicious Indian fare. Anu is returning to teach us three new Indian dishes. Join us as we cook and eat a great lunch together!

Presenter: Anu Trzaska

Cost: $15

Registration: Send this registration form with your payment by February 27, 2017 to La Vista Ecological Learning Center, 4300 Levis Lane, Godfrey, IL 62035.

Retreating into the Universe Story and Laudato Si'


June 16 - June 22, 2017; Friday, 5 pm – Thursday, 10 am (sorry, this program is full)

Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si': On Care for our Common Home has called each of us to become more mindful of our relationship with Earth. Using this and other resources, plus quiet time in the prairie beauty, we will explore more deeply how the Universe Story is the foundation for an awakening consciousness of Earth as a primary revelation of the Divine.

We’ll look at basic principles and characteristics that will guide us to a holistic and feminine relationship with the whole Earth community. The goal of this retreat is to move us into contemplation and action in our care for our common home. (Limited to 12 participants)

SSND Presenters:

  • Kathleen Mary Kiemen

  • Maxine Pohlman

  • Paulette Zimmerman

Fee: $500

Location: Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat, 2664 145th Avenue, Wheatland, IA 52777

Registration: Download the brochure and registration form, visit the website or call 563-336-8414 for more information.

Caring For Our Common Home
Symposium on the Environment


Saturday, August 12, 2017, 9:00 – 11:30 am


Featured Speakers

  • Mike Roberts

Former KSDK-Channel 5 Meteorologist

  • Dr. Peter Raven

Senior Science Advisor
Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Science

  • Vic Hamer

Founder of Give Me Water Lord

Cost: $20

Registration: Call 618-394-6270

or email

Held at and sponsored by:

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

442 S Demazenod Dr, Belleville, IL 62223

Think About Honeysuckle Tables:
A Hands-On Workshop


Saturday, September 16, 2017, 10:00 am-3:00 pm

Artist Dale Dufer is passionate about woodworking and eliminating invasive honeysuckle. Putting these together, he creates honeysuckle tables. Join us, and you will not only create a unique, one of a kind, handmade table, but you will also learn the for-ever-valuable skills of tool usage, balance, aesthetics, and creating structures out of repurposed material. You will take home table legs with a sub base, and you will need to provide your own table top for this special indoor or outdoor table.

Presenter: Dale Dufer is an artist and wood worker

Cost: $35

Registration: Send in this form with your payment.

Please bring a lunch.

Come, Experience La Vista -
Oblates Caring for Our Common Home

Saturday, October 7, 2017, 9:15 am – 12:30 pm

Come and see how the Missionary Oblates have connected spirituality and ecology in caring for the 255 acres of bluffs, forest, meadows, and fields they have called home for over sixty years. Discover the deep connections between faith and land.

Featured Speakers …


  • Jack Lau, OMI, Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate

  • Debbie Newman, Natural Areas Preservation Specialist


  • Virginia Nesmith, former Executive Director of the National Farmworkers Ministry

  • Alley Ringhausen, Executive Director of the Great Rivers Land Trust

  • Virginia Woulfe-Beile, Three Rivers Project Con-servation Field Representative for the Sierra Club

Options for touring La Vista: haywagon ride, guided hike, virtual tour via slideshow, or self-directed walking tour

Cost: $15.00 Includes light refreshments


Registration: Send in this form with your payment.

The Wild Garden & the Listening Heart
An Afternoon of Contemplation


Saturday, October 21, 2017, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Come and explore how Creation itself can be the springboard of our prayer to God. We will, using the practice of Visio Divina, allow images of creation or our gazing into the wild garden around us to become the gentle breeze by which God speaks to our heart.

A brief introduction to the praxis of Visio Divina (cousin to Lectio Divina!) will precede our exploration of how Creation itself can be the canvas we contemplate in order to allow Creation to truly speak of the glory, beauty and heart of God.


Come with comfortable clothing warm enough to allow you to be outside. In case of inclement weather, we will re-main inside with images from Creation.

Presenter: Mark Dean, OMI, is on the Retreat Team at King’s House in Belleville, IL


Cost: $15

Registration: Call 618-466-5004.

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