The Shalom Center
by Father Andre Estephan
At the request of Bishop Markovsky, Shalom Center was founded by Father James A. Harman in 1980. The center is a non-profit organization devoted to addressing emotional stress caused by the workload being performed by a clergy that is declining in numbers.
The center's mission is to offer a holistic approach to mental health, spirituality, and life for priests, men and women religious, and persons in ministry.
Four cottages, each accommodating four residents with private bath and bedroom suites, include loft study areas and a common room with kitchenette and laundry facilities, circle the chapel. In 1991, a Health Education and Recreation building was completed. It includes a conference room, equipped exercise areas, an enclosed heated pool with a spa, a massage room and an arts and crafts studio. Outdoor amenities include a deck and picnic areas, a basketball court, jogging paths and a small, but scenic lake for fishing and boating.
The center is a resource center for those in need of pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, psychotherapy and psychiatric evaluation. Shalom Center also assists in assessment and evaluation of candidates for the priesthood and religious life. It provides lectures, workshops and treatment through a growth-oriented holistic approach, thus integrating the emotional, spiritual and psychological dimensions of the individual.
The center's current director and CEO is Father Andre Estephan, M.L.M. Fr. Estephan was ordained in 1993 and holds a Ph.D. in counseling. Fr. Estephan said he came into this work when he felt, at one time, the strong calling directly from God to help priests and religious. He also said at one time he too experienced stress and burnout by doing too much without leading a balanced and healthy life.
Therapy at Shalom Center is conducted on both an individual and group basis with the goal of taking care of body, mind, and spirit, resulting in a balanced, healthy life. Individual therapy takes place two to three times a week, group therapy takes place twice each week. In group therapy the residents share their struggle, speak their story, and support each other spiritually and emotionally.
Residents can spend up to one-year gaining rehabilitation. Others may require four to six months, some only one-month or six weeks.
There is a follow-up program to keep former residents from slipping back into an unhealthy lifestyle because we humans are creatures of habit and tend to repeat what we have sone before.
Visit the Shalom Center Website at http://www.shalomcenterinc.org/index.html for an in-depth look at all Shalom Center has to offer.
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