Updated: May 10
Hello there! My name is Tongua Williams, and I am thrilled to welcome you to Soul Care Sanctuary.
No matter where you are on the spiritual journey -- whether you are in a season of burn out, questioning, deconstruction, or longing to go deeper, you are welcome here. At Soul Care Sanctuary we believe that where you are on the journey is exactly where you are supposed to be. And we also believe that God lives in the questions.
Soul Care Sanctuary was born out of my own need for a safe space to rest and recharge on the spiritual journey. As a church ministry leader headed for burn out, my longing for a companion to help facilitate my deepening intimacy with Christ resulted in a series of closed doors. I couldn't find anyone who could come alongside me regularly in a deep, embodied way. While mentors for male leaders in my denomination were encouraged and readily available, mentors for females were not. This was especially frustrating for me. The desire welling up within me for more of Christ felt as though it was placed there by God himself.
In the midst of my desperate search and longing, God opened my eyes to a Lenten retreat hosted by a Benedictine monastery a couple of hours away.
Sister Macrina Wiederkehr began the retreat by laying out a few kindling sticks alongside a burning candle sitting on a small, purple cloth adorned table. No fanfare. No fancy graphics on the handouts. No coordinating theme or room decorations. Just a profound question arising from the simple, quiet space: "What must be broken in you in order for the flame of Christ to burn brightly in your heart?"
My life and heart were opened to a new way of being that day. Sister Macrina's easy, relaxed presence and Godly wisdom were enlivened by a spirit of contemplative wonder and curiosity. She was clearly drinking from a well of living water that I desperately wanted more of. Sister Macrina served as a beautiful spiritual companion and guide as she created hospitality and sacred space for us. With Lent as the backdrop, she acquainted us with the spiritual practices of lectio divina, or sacred reading, and solitude and silence. Many feelings welled up within me often during this retreat that I didn't have words for. My tears flowed. "Your tears know more than you do," Sister Macrina said as she handed me a box of tissue. "Let them flow."
In an atmosphere of sacred safety, and equipped with these simple, yet deep practices, I began slowly to open myself up to God and be fully present to Him.
And the kindling in my heart began to be broken.
Flickers and sparks would appear later as I continued on this journey of spiritual awakening, but that's another story to tell.
I'm sad to say that Sister Macrina Wiederkehr died on April 24, 2020. She was a delightful, beautiful soul whom I feel incredibly blessed to have known. She has mentored me through her writings and opened my eyes to new ways of being in the world. I am eternally grateful that she continues to give us many gifts through her writings.