Tag Archive: Sister Lucy Kurien

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 

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!

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.



Across the faith traditions, there is a universal path of divine love that calls us to our highest destiny: the ineffable mystery of oneness with the Divine. In different ways, yet with one voice, scriptures and mystics down through the ages have sounded a clarion call to ‘become the Beloved’:

“I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (St. Paul)
Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman)  (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46)
Anal haq! (I am the Supreme Reality)  (Al Hallaj)

How do we answer this urgent call of the soul?  Whether we identify as Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew,  Buddhist – or none of these – how  can divine love become the living truth and core of our being, rather than mere flowery rhetoric or theological ideal?

In these precarious times of growing conflict between religious traditions, it has never been more important for lovers of the Divine from diverse traditions to gather together – to listen, to learn, and to deepen together in shared contemplative silence, conversation, prayer, and celebration.

The premise of this conference is that where two or more spiritual traditions are gathered, there shall God be also.  Program sessions include silent contemplative practice and prayers, inspiring presentations, interactive groups, breakout sessions with presenters, and chanting & dance and other celebrations.

“On this path, each stage is attained only by becoming that stage oneself,” says Jnaneswar. Join us to explore the path of divine love in your life, and find the support to walk this path in your unique way, whether or not you belong to a recognized faith tradition.

Featured Presenters

Ravi Ravindra is a spiritual visionary and leading interfaith scholar of religion, science, and spirituality.  He is author of fourteen books including: The Yoga of the Christ, republished as The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism and Pilgrim Beyond Boundaries and The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  A student of J. Krishnamurti and G. Gurdjieff, Ravi is Professor Emeritus of physics and comparative religion at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.  He is author of Science and the Sacred and other books on science and spirituality.  Ravi teaches across the globe on the world’s spiritual traditions, yoga, and science.

Mirabai Starr is author of ten books including critically acclaimed translations of the timeless Christian mystical classics, Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross and The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila.  Mirabai has edited six books of writings and prayers from other Christian icons including St. Francis of Assisi and Hildegard of Bingen.  She is professor of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos, and is a certified bereavement counselor.   Her forthcoming book, God of Love, focuses on the path of love in the three Abrahamic traditions.

Jamal Rahman is a Muslim Sufi minister, co-founder of the Interfaith Community Church in Seattle, and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is author of Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam, and co-author of Getting to the Heart of Interfaith and Out of Darkness, Into Light.  He travels nationally and internationally with a Rabbi and Christian pastor in a unique emerging ministry-affectionately known as the three “Interfaith Amigos”-spreading a message of inclusive spirituality.

Swami Ambikananda Saraswati is a Hindu sannyasa, and founder of the Traditional Yoga Association in the UK and the MUKTI project for dispossessed children in India.  Raising her children in England and India, she was a disciple of Swami Venkatesananda, and was initiated by Swami Chidananda Maharaj, the “sage of the Himalyas.”  She is the spiritual leader of the Hindu Temple in Reading, UK, and author of Healing Yoga and translator of the Katha Upanishad and Uddhava Gita.

Sister Lucy Kurien is a Catholic nun who founded the Maher interfaith refuge in 1997 for battered and destitute women in India.  Maher honors all religions and repudiates the caste system, and has saved and rehabilitated the lives of 1,550 Indian women.  Sr. Kurien’s work is featured in the book Women Healing Women by William Keepin and Cynthia Brix.

William Keepin and
Cynthia Brix
are directors of the Satyana Institute and founders of its Power of Reconciliation International project, which has convened gatherings in six countries for healing and reconciliation between women and men.  They are authors of Divine Duality: the Power of Reconciliation between Women and Men and Women Healing Women: A Model of Hope for Oppressed Women Everywhere.  Will is an environmental scientist and spiritual retreat leader, and co-author of Song of the Earth: The Emerging Synthesis of Spiritual and Scientific Worldviews.  Cynthia is an interfaith minister and spiritual director, and co-founder of the Women’s Spiritual Mastery project which produced a DVD entitled Cultivating Women’s Spiritual Mastery.

For more information and to register, go here.



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