Who are the Brothers and Sisters of the Way?
No one understands the need for personal sanctuary more than the parish minister.
No one else craves it quite so much, dreams so vividly of a place apart for meditation and prayer and the communication of kindred souls, or longs so fervently for a blessed silence and a moment of space and of peace in which to wait upon God.
In 1923 a parish minister, John Henry Wilson, out of his own experience and the experience of others, began to think deeply about our common need for sanctuary -- for a drawing-apart from church and parish and family for a few days each year that God might heal us, and that the knowledge of God might be restored in us. He made a study of the monastic movement, and was struck by the significance of the ancient community of St. Columba on the isle of Iona in the Hebrides. There the missionary monks, who went among the savages with lonely and perilous courage to win them to the faith, might return from time to time for a season of rest and spiritual refreshment. It was true "retreat," but only to God that they, being made whole in Him, might again go out to witness and, if need be, to die for their Lord and Saviour.
Waterfalls on a walk near retreat
center at Warner Farm (MA)
In 1925, John Wilson bought Fisherman's Island, off the Atlantic coast near Boothbay Harbor, Maine -- an island a mile long, high, windswept, once a refuge from cruel Indian raids. It was to become a sanctuary for scores of sincere, faithful servants of God in the pastoral ministry. By 1930 the retreat house, Greystones, had been built upon the highest land of the island, and the first Fisherman's Island retreat was held. Retreats continued at that location for 61 years, until the Wilson family at last found it necessary to offer the island for sale and other sites to host retreats have been found across the country.
<<< John Henry Wilson Cooking for the Order on Fisherman's Island.
. The stone retreat house constructed on Fisherman's Island (below).