book with blue cover on green striped tablecloth
By Deborah Haak-Frost

GilChrist: A Place to Remember is a book that tells the story of GilChrist Retreat Center, the public retreat center of the Fetzer Institute. The book recounts how the place came to be, the countless people who contributed to the creation, and the stories that shaped it.

The book's author and GilChrist co-founder, Molly Vass-Lehman, hosted a book signing at the beautiful WindHill building on GilChrist's grounds on Sunday, October 15. Dozens of people stopped by to purchase a book, recount stories from GilChrist's history, and visit with each other. Some attendees drove hours to return to the place they helped build 28 years ago; others were local guests who only discovered GilChrist recently. Molly writes in the book, "People from all walks of life find their way to GilChrist for different reasons: they come to rest, to heal, to celebrate, for renewal and to remember what is essential in life."

Of the book, long-time friend of Molly and the Fetzer Institute Parker J. Palmer writes, "“On one level, this is the story of a much-loved retreat center ‘where natural beauty strengthens our human capacity for compassion, gratitude, reverence, and creativity.’ Deeper down, it’s a meditation on the eternal human quest for meaning, purpose, and hope. As it recounts the personal pilgrimages that converged to create a place where many have recovered a sense of the sacred, it offers hope to all who suffer from the traumas of modern life. The healing we need is found in what Thomas Merton called the ‘hidden wholeness’ found beneath the broken surface of our lives. In this lovely little book, Molly Vass-Lehman offers us a portal into that blessed space, one available to all of us whether or not we can spend time in the place she so lovingly writes about.”

The book is available for purchase at the following places locally and online:


GilChrist retreat center logo with white pine sprig

GilChrist is the public retreat center of the Fetzer Institute. We support the Institute’s mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world by preserving a contemplative environment for healing self, society, and the natural world. We warmly welcome both groups and individuals and people of all faiths and affiliations.