Monday, April 13, 2009

The Hidden Gem in Pevely, MO

Last Thursday night, my friend and I left the busyness and noisiness of our family lives and drove less than thirty minutes to a place of unparalleled peace and quiet. We spent the next day and a half soaking up the quiet as guests at the Vision of Peace Hermitages in Pevely, MO.

Located less than 2 miles off the highway, the Vision of Peace Hermitages are tucked into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Each hermitage is a private studio-style apartment, with a private bath, a kitchenette, and a twin bed. The hermitages are simple and cozy. Hand-crocheted afghans drape across the bed and along the back of the rocking chair. Cross-stitched wall hangings announce the name of each Hermitage. I stayed in "Glimpse of Glory." My friend was in "Tree of Life."

Vision of Peace has nine hermitages. We were blessed to stay in two of the three that sit directly above the Mississippi. Saturday morning, I lay in my bed watching the sun rise over the river, not a person, building, or sign of civilization in sight, except the occasional barge swimming downriver.

In addition to the peaceful views, there are hiking trails that take you through the woods and along the Mississippi. I spent hours on Friday, in the misty spring rain, walking along the tracks, drinking in the signs of early Spring.

Vision of Peace also has a chapel available for group or private use all day. Morning and Evening Prayer are celebrated in the chapel, and a daily Communion Service is available. (When a priest is visiting, mass may be celebrated in place of the Communion service). The chapel has a Tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is kept in reserve.

We were so very fortunate that a priest was also visiting last week. We were able to celebrate the Good Friday Passion service privately... my friend, the Hermitage director, the priest and myself. It was an intimate and deeply reverent way to mark the end of Lent, and the holiest days of the entire year.

Friday night, my friend and I planned our next visit to Vision of Peace. We had a chance to talk more with Larry Ponder, the director (is there a more appropriate name for the director of a Hermitage than "ponder"?). Larry is warm, inviting and easy-going. His gentle eyes smile easily as he talks in awe of the beauty that each new season brings to the Hermitages.

I could not believe the deep peace that filled me after just a day and a half away. I've gone away for longer stretches, and not reached that same peacefulness. The knot that lives under my left shoulder blade (where I keep all my stress) was gone... no expensive massages, no complicated spa treatments, no drugs. Just some quiet, some prayer, some nature, some silence... somehow, that was the magic elixir I was needing.

Vision of Peace asks only a $35 donation for each night in the Hermitages. To keep the costs so reasonable, each guest is asked to clean and set up the Hermitage for the next guest before leaving. Larry has everything you need all set out in individual laundry baskets. My friend and I both commented with some surprise that the simple act of remaking the bed, wiping down the surfaces and sweeping the floor added to the experience. It was a tender act, a "paying it forward," a caring for the next guest, just as someone else had cared for us.

After storing our gear in the trunk of my car, and giving Larry a gentle hug, we drove down the long gravel drive to the main road. I paused, took one last deep breath, and promised myself that I will be back... often. This little gem, hidden less than thirty minutes from my house, is exactly the answer I've been looking for... a place to recharge my batteries that is both close and budget-friendly.

To contact Larry to schedule a visit or for more information, check out the Vision of Peace website.


  1. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for the advertisement and positive vibes about this "Hidden Gem." I agree with your sentiment, plus the pics are an added bonus! Thank you very much,

    Fr. Mike

  2. When I was a child in school in Pevely, Mo (3rd grade) a Japanese family came to our small town. The youngest girl was in my class and her brother was in my sister's class. Their father worked as a gardener for "Glimpes if Glory". This was around 1943. I'm wondering if this is the same place as it is in that general location.

  3. Good question, Anon. I am not sure exactly. In 1943, the property was part of the Benedictine Monastery. It was separated in the early 70s, at which time the monastery was closed and the land sold to a private owner. Perhaps the name "Glimpse of Glory" was meant as a tribute to the original space?

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. If you get a chance, try to stop by Vision of Peace... you will be awed at the beauty and the peace in that space.

    Blessings on you and your family.