Tag Archive: Friends of Maher

For those planning ahead for Autumn, here is our flyer announcing the next retreat at Turtle Haven with Ravi.We’re especially excited for this theme! There will as always also be a public talk on Friday of the retreat. Let me know if you have any questions; other announcements will be forthcoming.

Pull back the curtain and welcome...

Please join us for a talk on Friday evening, September 27th, and a Bollywood dance class on Saturday the 28th in the afternoon, followed by a dance to celebrate the love and brilliance of the Maher model of healing that works through the assistance of many loving hearts, helping hands, and a spiritual backbone of depth and breadth, within a deeply inclusive community. The dancing is for all ages, and is in the spirit of celebration and fun, so please join in!

A Last Reflection from India

trio meditation

Everyday is a CELEBRATION at Maher! We remember this with poignant reflection as we hold the fullness of our time here, nearing our departure.

Once during our days at Maher, Sister Lucy went to Mumbai to meet with the Governor of Maharashtra, the state in which Maher is located, to invite him to Maher’s 16th anniversary celebration in February.  She also made some practical requests regarding licensing, and in true form, found a way to advocate for women and children as well.  Each morning the community gathers for prayers, and in addition to the daily ritual, special prayers are offered for trips such as this, for a competition a student may be attending, for birthdays and goodbyes and for WELCOMING. 

We were continually welcomed by the children and staff of Maher; this community is a living example of what Sobonfu Some describes in her Dagara rituals involving healing and preparation of the mind, body, spirit and soul to receive the spirituality that is all around us. “It is always challenging to bring the spiritual into the material world, but it is one of the only ways we can put people back in touch with the earth and their inner values.” We lived this moment-by-moment in the daily heartbeat of Maher.

And now, on the brink of departure from South Goa, and India, celebrating Brel’s 28th birthday at Ordo Sounsar, which translates to “another world,” we continue in this tradition of heart and spirit infused living.  In the morning, the young men working here hang red balloons surreptitiously on our beach hut porch before Brel awakens. The guests wish him happy birthday.  We take a boat out with Captain LUCKY to catch crab for a birthday feast that we will share with whomever is in our midst…and of course, Lucky himself…no invitations, no formality, just welcoming the moment and welling up with gratitude for the grace of our journey. 

We arise in the morning and walk to the north end of the beach where the river meets the sea to offer prayers, awaiting our return to the Nooksack, the river of change that daily reminds us of this one and only constant.  We will soon reunite with you, our home community, and look forward to welcoming each of you with the same expansive love we received time and again at Maher.  We will carry in our hearts, bodies and souls the living example of daily celebration and generosity that nourished us so fully in south India.

We began our journey just before the North American winter solstice.  Yesterday, January 14, was the equivalent of the solstice here, Makar Sankranti, a time when the sun ascends to the northern hemisphere and the light returns. God receives prayers in many forms, including thousands of kites that fly overhead.  We found a fire on the beach, after witnessing the nightly fireworks display, into which we threw our written hopes for transformation. This poetic bookending of our journey, with nature in her fullest moments of light as we arrive and as we depart, becomes a poetic blessing we had not anticipated. We end with “Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya,” may you go higher and higher to more light, and send our love always,

Elizabeth, Brel and Jillian


happy welcome 

Leaving Thursday for India!



Dear Friends,

Many of you left donations in the piggy bank which I brought to class, and I am delighted to say that we will be bringing all of the proceeds to Maher in just a short time. I have included this photograph of the Maher banner that speaks to its spiritual and religious diversity and inclusion; I am not certain you will be able to see the fine details, but please visit the Maher Ashram site for more details about the place, and before long I will offer stories of my direct experience. In the meanwhile, I am deeply grateful for your presence in my yoga community, your participation in my classes, and your generosity and kindness. I hope to see you in the Winter classes, and that you will be among the fortunate who will study with Maria Bacher as the new session begins!



For a pdf of the flyer, click on the image above or go here.

Schedule and Tuition:

At 8Petals yoga studio in downtown Bellingham

Friday           7:30 pm – Public Talk and Meditation led by Ravi

At Turtle Haven sanctuary in deming

Saturday      9:00 am – 10:15 am Optional yoga class

10:45 am – 5:00 pm  Sessions with Ravi

Sunday        9:00  am – 10:15 am Optional yoga class

10:45 am – 3:00 pm Sessions with Ravi


Sliding Fee of $175 to $195. Limited scholarships and bartering available. Morning yoga classes additional $12 each.

For those attending only the Friday evening talk, cost is $15 with part of the proceeds going to Maher Ashram (www.maherashram.org)

Questions? Contact Elizabeth elizabethkerwinyoga@gmail.com  or 360-303-3892

Benefit Kirtan – Sunday August 19th!

Gina Sala and Steve Gorn are highly accomplished musicians, and we welcome back the gifts and presence of Heather and Benjy Wertheimer as well, to Bellingham, so soon again after the June kirtan at Presence Studio! Gina has graciously offered to donate a percentage of the proceeds from this event to once again benefit Maher Ashram. I welcome you joining us for what will be a lovely evening of song, spirit and heart opening singing and musical enjoyment! Please note, tickets are less expensive in advance. I will sell some, and they will also be at the Food Co-op. Children’s tickets are just $5, so bring yours and your grandkids along! This is music that may be enjoyed by all ages!
Celebrate Easter with Ravi Ravindra in a meaningful and inclusive way in retreat at Turtle Haven, March 30 through April 1, 2012.  Our most recent retreats last year in April and October with Ravi felt the most graceful yet, as we crafted a container with multiple facets that seemed to serve well in generating community support for interspiritual inquiry and reflection.

The Spring theme is A Spiritual Celebration of Easter: A Mythic Journey of Sacrifice, Death and Resurrection.  We will gather in community for a unique spiritual celebration of the Easter season, exploring the symbolic meaning of death and resurrection in our own lives and in that of the collective. Our reflections will dwell in part on different interpretations of the meaning of sacrifice, investigating the cultural overlay that has come to see sacrifice as an undesirable experience. We will see how we might “resurrect” the sacred and mystical dimensions of this historic event.

One of the remarks from the Gospels we will consider is from Phillip: Those who say the Lord died first and then rose up are in error, for he rose up first and then died.  Our explorations will carry us into the heart of the meaning of “rising” before we experience our own physical death. In the spirit of honoring our shared path as Spiritual Pilgrims, we will examine parallels in other faiths such as when Buddha remarked, “Look within, you are the Buddha.” or the remarkable reminder from the Sufi tradition that “If you die before you die, you will not die when you die.”

Our inner travels will engage the intellect, the body, the voice and the senses, as we ceremonially celebrate the spirit of Easter through guided and silent meditations, labyrinth walks, movement awareness exercises, song, and connection with the natural world in the beauty of spring at Turtle Haven on the Nooksack River. We look forward to another immersion in our own cherished and collective community wisdom and that of our warm and wise guide, Ravi Ravindra. 

Tea and good company will be provided, with each retreatant bringing his or her own lunch and snacks.

We will initiate the weekend with a talk by Ravi on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. in Bellingham; this will be a fundraiser for Maher Ashram in India, open to the public and optional for retreatants at no additional cost.  On Saturday and Sunday, we will meet at Turtle Haven in Deming, for access to the river and forest trails, and the quiet and peace of  the 11 circuit labyrinth.  Saturday’s schedule, which will include a collective lunch, will be 10 a.m. until 5p.m.  On Sunday, we will gather at 10 a.m. and finish our day at 3 p.m. with a shorter lunch period.
We have explored opportunities for out of town participants to stay with a local retreat participant.  Please let us know if you need help with housing.

The cost for this retreat will again be a sliding fee scale of $165 to $190.  Once registered, you will receive a reading list and more detailed information.  Please send your name, address, email address and phone number with the full tuition payable to:  Jillian Froebe, 6551 Rutsatz Road, Deming, WA 98244.   If a payment plan or financial assistance is needed, please let us know.  If something unexpected arises that changes your ability to participate, and you notify us prior to February 29, your tuition will be refunded minus a $50 administrative fee. Tuition is nonrefundable after this date.  Registration is limited to create a more intimate experience, and the retreats have generally been full, so we suggest you register soon.

Questions? Contact Jillian Froebe  360.319.8704   or Elizabeth Kerwin 360.303.3892



Good News about Maher

Since Sister Lucy’s visit to Bellingham, there have been some happy developments. As a result of the goodwill spread by Sister Lucy, the word spread by Friends of Maher and the music and dance of the kirtan, Bellinghamsters and Whatcommites have been inspired to donate nearly three thousand dollars to Maher’s continued efforts. Far beyond Bellingham, Sister Lucy has been recognized by the Global Women’s Summit, a world wide American organisation working for the women’s cause, which has bestowed upon her the 2011 Leadership Award seen above. And perhaps happiest of all, Sister Lucy arrived safe and sound back at home. Below, a note about her arrival from Hina at Maher and two photos:

Dear All

This is to convey you the happy news that Sr Lucy is back with us with her inimitable hearty laugh with her heart full of love for every one of us. How much every child, woman and worker here at Maher missed her the two months she was away from them ! They could hardly wait to see her back among them to keep them going in life enthusiastically with their ever cherished dreams for Maher. With Sr Lucy around, for everyone at Maher, every new day opens with new dreams, aspirations, plans, and tons of energy to achieve them.

Maher workers gave a very warm welcome to Sr Lucy at the Mumbai airport as also at Pune the following morning. They represented every Maher center expressing their sentiments through greeting cards, placards, flowers and garlands. With a grand breakfast and Sr Lucy around after a long gap, the morning became a great home coming for all of them.

I along with whole of Maher family thank each and every one of you for making her feel so much loved and cared for. We feel she deserves the best in the world and the best for her is Maher and its people. Sr Lucy had so much to share with us about Maher’s special friends she met abroad. She had carried back with her a tiny gift for each and every one of us. This gesture was appreciated by all the staff, women and children at every center.

One of these days, Sr Lucy would definitely like to interact with you on her travel abroad.

With Lots of Love
Hira & Maher Family


“When five local women heard a talk by a nun who has been compared to Mother Teresa, they felt the need to find a way to help with her work in India.”

See the rest of this Bellingham Herald article out just moments ago on the Bellingham Herald website, here.

Above, see a picture of Elizabeth along with Jillian Froebe, Paula Brown, Shirley Osterhaus and Krista Hunter – as they celebrate with Maher’s founder and head, Sister Lucy Kurien during a recent visit.





A Letter from the Friends of Maher:

Dear Friends,

Friends of Maher is a local and small, yet dedicated and heartfelt group offering support, and receiving inspiration from the Maher community in Pune, India. Our relationship began when meeting Sister Lucy as she traveled on tour across the country with Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix, authors of the book about the community Sister Lucy seeded more than a decade ago. Sister Lucy’s powerfully compassionate presence and humble visionary spirit made an immediate and deep impression on us. Since that time, we have been exploring ways to connect with this remarkable sanctuary from violence that honors all religions, nurtures and educates its residents and surrounding community, integrates sustainable living practices and demonstrates a compassionate, wholistic and thoroughly ingenious approach to healing. The vision includes the overarching principle and demonstration of seeking solutions to problems in the larger culture that lead to violence towards women and children. To learn more about Maher Ashram, please visit their website, www.maherashram.org.

On June 7th at 7:30 p.m.. we will be graced with Sister Lucy’s presence when she will offer a talk and presentation in the Sanctuary at the First Congregational Church of Bellingham, 2401 Cornwall Avenue.  Sister Lucy has a wondrous spirit and a powerful presence; she is an individual whose vision and actions demonstrate the integrated practice of following an inner calling. You can download the pdf of the flyer pictured above for Sister Lucy’s talk here. We hope you will consider joining us to learn more about Maher Ashram, through the eyes and heart of this delightful and inspiring woman profoundly dedicated to helping others. There is no charge to attend this event, though donations to Maher are welcome.

On June 17th, at 7 pm at Presence Studio, Shantala will once again offer kirtan devotional singing and dance as part of their Unity in the Community Tour and as a benefit for Maher Ashram. Last year’s event with Shantala in the vibrant and warm atmosphere of Presence, provided a joyful evening of weaving community through sound and movement. While some sat quietly absorbing the music, others joined in voice, in dance and ecstatic movement. Heather and Benjy, both very talented musicians, travel the country leading kirtan. To read more visit their website www.shantalamusic.com. Tickets may be purchased in advance from either Community Food Coop. While we may have tickets at the door, last year the event happily sold out! Advance tickets are $20, and those at the door will be $25. Please see the flyer below for more detailed information, and feel free to share this by passing along this email to others. You can download a pdf of the flyer pictured above for the kirtan here.

For more information about either event, please call Jillian Froebe at 360-319-8704, or visit www.elizabethkerwin.wordpress.com.

Blessings of Spring and Renewal,
Friends of Maher
Paula Brown, Jillian Froebe, Krista Hunter, Elizabeth Kerwin and Shirley Osterhaus