On a mild day in December, I found myself at Springbank Retreat in Kingstree, S.C. – sitting in a tipi. I’d never expected to usher in the new year at a Native American pipe ceremony, but I was moved, and honored, to participate.
I’d been looking for a spiritual place to get away for a few days after Christmas and write. I found Springbank on the Internet and wrote to director Sr. Trina McCormick, who told me to come on down.
Past country fields and dilapidated barns, I drove the two hours to Kingstree from where I live, Charlotte, N.C., until I finally parked in front of Springbank’s stately white main house. I was met by a woman in a plaid shirt, Jerilyn Skyface Flowers, a photographer and caretaker of a farm in Georgia. She was staying at Springbank for two months to build a tipi for the center.
The tipi Flowers eventually constructed is now a permanent fixture on the grounds, called the St. Kateri Chapel.