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The Bend Magazine

Unplug and Unwind

03/01/2018 05:00AM ● By Marina Riker
By: Marina Riker  Photos by: Rachel Benavides

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With information constantly bombarding you through your smartphone, managing crazy schedules at work, and a family or social life to tend to, things can get a little hectic.

Sometimes, life can be so busy that spiritual and emotional health get put on the back burner. But one Corpus Christi non-profit is hoping to give people some relief from hectic daily life.

“I think it gives them the opportunity to get away for a while, to think about how things are going,” said Sister Martha Ann Snapka, who works for the Spirit Center. 

The Spirit Center aims to help both adults and children unplug and reconnect with nature and spirituality. While retreats for adults and day trips are also encouraged, the center focuses on creating a space for the youth of South Texas to grow spiritually and socially with the help of educational and social programs.

About a 30-minute drive northwest from Corpus Christi, the Spirit Center serves a place where parishes, organizations, and schools can hold day or weekend-long retreats.

While the center is affiliated with Christianity, all faiths are welcome for a chance to relax and reconnect with their spirituality.

Upon arrival, visitors are asked to put away cellphones and watches to truly unplug from the busy world around them. Nature and walking trails wind through the property, which is also home to a mediation garden, labyrinth, outdoor Stations of the Cross and volleyball courts.

“There’s a lot of places they can be outside, and just be in quiet,” said Snapka.

Visitors to the center can also use the property’s activity center for meetings and presentations, while overnight guests can stay in the Spirit Center’s 96 bunk beds. The center is primarily designed for youth trips, but can accommodate up to 200 people during day trips.

“It is so exciting to have a place close to home where young people can have experiences to deepen their relationships with God and others,” said Snapka.

Snapka, who has been involved with the Spirit Center for nearly two decades, said she and her other sisters recognized in the early 2000s there was a need for a space where youth and adults could focus on spiritual and emotional health. And, especially for people living in the heart of Corpus Christi, there were few places where groups of people could go to spend time in the serenity of nature.

Decades have passed since then as the center continues to grow. In the years to come, they only hope to be able to provide to expand their place of learning and serve South Texas youth, “The opportunity to grow spiritually, socially, and educationally are many and are enhanced by one’s creativity,” said Snapka.