Walking Whitney for Wisdom’s Women

Training 1The Journey Begins!

Anne Auer, a Board member and volunteer at The Center for Wisdom’s Women, has turned 50.  To celebrate that milestone, she decided to challenge herself by hiking up Mt. Whitney in California. It is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,496 ft.

She is dedicating her effort to honor the women at The  Center for Wisdom’s Women! She’ll be doing the hike on August 9 with her son John (15), his cousin David (13) and David’s dad, Anne’s brother in law Phil (their guide) who has summited Whitney twice before.

Anne is doing all of her training in Maine. She carries a backpack of books while hiking! Training sites are in Baxter State Park, Acadia National Park, and Cairibou Mountain in the White Mountain National Forest, and more locally at Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary in Lewiston, Macworth Island in Falmouth, Wolfe Neck and Bradbury Mountain state parks, and more.

Follow Anne’s progress on her Walking Whitney for Wisdom’s Women BLOG. She will be blogging in the weeks leading up to and during her big hike of Mount Whitney.  In her writing, she will weave together experiences she has had with women here at the Center as a Companion with what she has learned about the impact that adverse childhood experiences have had on their lives, along with reflecting on some of her own family memories. In training, Anne has had lots of time to think and she will share the new perspectives gained while walking. http://walkingwhitney4wisdomswomen.tumblr.com/

You can participate in Anne’s journey and support her efforts by donating to her Walking Whitney for Wisdom’s Women Campaign. Her goal is to raise one dollar for every foot of the mountain, $14,500.  The funds will go toward general operating expenses at the Center. https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Walkingwhitney

From Anne: “I’ll be taking my training and preparation one day at a time. I’ve got help from experts and support from friends, family and colleagues at the CWW. My journey is self-imposed, but I imagine some elements of my struggle to figure out my way safely to the summit and down are like those of some of our women. I take it one day at a time and get stronger with each practice hike. I have a plan for my progress and I have good days and days I struggle.”

Women’s Night Out Series – Exploring Integrative Medicine Through the Senses


Join us Thursday, July 7th at 5:30pm for the second Women’s Night Out, a set of workshops exploring integrative medicine through the senses. The series will be led by Margo Goodman, DO, a family medicine physician who has done some additional study in integrative medicine. This workshop will focus on color and vision and how it affects our mind, bodies, and emotions. If interested in participating, sign up by calling 513-3922.

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Poetry the next focus for Wise and Strong Women Speak!

The Center for Wisdom’s Women announces the next in its semi-annual Wise and Strong Women Speak programs set for Friday, March 11 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.  Now in its fifth year, these “Wise and Strong Women Speak” evenings are designed to give voice to the often unspoken stories of women. They have evolved into a magical community experience that inspires all who attend. The focus this spring is on two poets Claire Hersom and Susann Pelletier who will share about their lives and their poetry. The conversations will again be hosted and facilitated by Marguerite Stapleton.

Claire Hersom is a native Mainer who’s poetry is about Maine; it’s beauty, it’s culture and it’s working poor. Her first self-published book, Supper At The Farm, is about her Irish family and their farm in Pittston Maine.  Her latest poetry book, Drowning: A Poetic Memoir was published by Moon Pie Press of Portland. The book chronicles her and her children’s struggle out of a welfare system and financial situation relentless to keep her there. Claire’s work appears in several poetry journals and anthologies, as well as in Yankee Magazine’s New England Memories series. Drowning: A Poetic Memoir was supplemental text for degree classes in Human Services at the University of Maine, Rockland campus.

In 2011, she was nominated and awarded an Emerging Artist Grant in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation of Boston. Claire volunteers in area schools giving poetry ‘days’ to students k-12. She is one of three organizers for The Harlow Gallery’s poetry series, ‘The Bookey Readings at the Harlow’.

Susann PelletierSusann Pelletier, a native of Lewiston, began writing poems when she was 11 years old.  Her work gives voice to her deep connections to family and place in Franco-America, as well as her vision of social justice and dignity at home and beyond our borders.

Her articles and poems have been published here and abroad in anthologies, literary journals, chapbooks, and political and environmental magazines.  A series of her poems appeared in 2008 in Voyages: A Maine Franco-American Reader (Tilbury House and Franco-American Collection, publishers).  In November 2010, she took part, representing Franco-America, in the Bates International Poetry Festival with seven other poets from around the world. These readings were streamed around the globe, along with text translations.   Susann’s poems and their French translations appeared in 2011 in Translations, an e-book publication of festival poets’ works for international audiences. In 2016, a series of Susann’s poems will appear in Inspired, Inspiring, Inspire—French Heritage Women Create, an anthology celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Maine Franco-American Women’s Institute. She is completing a book-length collection of poems, What We Gather in November, which she hopes to publish in the coming year.

A long-time advocate of local and sustainable organic food systems, Susann and her spouse, Jim Lysen and daughter Genevieve, participate in a Maine-products food cooperative, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and also grow and preserve their own organic vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Poetry books will be available for sale at both venues. Light refreshments will be offered. There is no charge for attendance, although donations are encouraged to support The Center for Wisdom’s Women. Those who attend are invited to bring contributions of hygiene items (full size, unopened containers only please) for the Center’s hygiene pantry! Most needed are shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste.   

No reservations are needed, just come and bring a friend. On site parking is limited, but is available on the street or walkable a few blocks away in the Park Street garage.


SAVE the DATES:     November 12-15, 2015Love Heals Flyer

Love Heals








Four Days with Becca Stevens and women from the Magdalene Community of Thistle Farms.  Located in Nashville, TN the Magdalene Community is a residential program for women who have survived prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets. Thistle Farms is the program’s social enterprise. More info on each event is linked below to the LOVE HEALS Facebook page:


Thursday 7:00 p.m. Presentation at Bates College, Lewiston

Friday 10-12:00 Conversation, 5:00-7:00 Wise and Strong Women SPEAK at Center for Wisdom’s Women, Lewiston

Saturday 10-2:00 With the Episcopal Diocese, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brunswick. Registration required only for the Saturday. CLICK HERE to REGISTER for Saturday.

Sunday 10:00 a.m. Worship at Trinity Episcopal Church, Lewiston

You may attend any or all events.  There are no charges for any programs though donations are encouraged and will be gratefully received. Donations on Friday will go to the Center for Wisdom’s Women.

WHO? Ministry and social service providers and others interested in learning more about the reality of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, addiction and incarceration, and the possibilities for addressing the needs of survivors.

WHY? The goals of events are to raise awareness of the situation here in Maine, to share effective resources and models, and to inspire and empower participants to engage in efforts that foster healing and recovery for survivors.

Product PhotoThistle Farms products will be for sale at all events along with items made by women at The Center for Wisdom’s Women.

FMI: Contact the Center for Wisdom’s Women, 207-513-3922, or e-mail below.



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Wise & Strong Women SPEAK

Two events with Deb Soul of Avena BotanicalsDeb Soule

The Center for Wisdom’s Women and the Lots to Gardens program of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center are partnering to bring Deb Soule to Lewiston on Friday, April 17.  She will be offering two programs to support an expanded herb garden at the women’s center, bring attention to Lots to Gardens projects, while also encouraging the growing of healing herbs in urban settings.

Deb Soule practices as an herbalist, educator and biodynamic gardener and is the author of How To Move Like a Gardener: Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants (2013) and A Woman¹s Book of Herbs (1998). In 1985 she founded the herbal apothecary Avena Botanicals where she and her staff produce by hand over 200 herbal remedies. Deb has been using biodynamic practices on her farm since 1998 and in 2011 Avena became the first farm in Maine to be Demeter-certified. Avena’s three-acre gardens serve as a healing space for the community, a habitat for pollinators and a living classroom for students and is a member of United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary. The farm also produces over 1800 pounds of medicinal herbs for Avena’s apothecary.

“Growing and Using Medicinal Herbs”

From 2:30-4:00 Deb will be at the Nutrition Center for a pre-event workshop on “Growing and Using Medicinal Herbs.” The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center (NC) promotes community health through organizing, advocacy, and education. The NC is home to a food pantry, cooking and nutrition education programs, job training for teens, year round farmers’ markets, and the Lots to Gardens program, which uses 12 urban community gardens in downtown Lewiston to create access to local food, empower youth, and build community. Through workshops and classes they teach about growing and eating good foods.

Lots to Gardens is advising and assisting with the gardening at the women’s center.  In addition to herbs, the expanded gardens will include lots of calendula, thought to be a healing medicinal plant, especially for women who have been abused. As part of a global grassroots “Grow a Row of Calendula” project promoted by Avena Botanicals, the public will be encouraged to also cultivate calendula. Each participant in the workshop will be invited to take home Calendula seeds to plant in solidarity with the women’s center. Harvested flowers, both those grown at the women’s center and any donated ones, will be processed into a healing salve to sell.  Fresh bouquets will also be given to the local Safe Voices Shelter and will be sold at the summer Farmer’s Markets.

“Wise and Strong Women Speak – The Soul of Gardening”

At 5:00 Deb will be one of the speakers at the semi-annual “Wise and Strong Women Speak” program at the Center for Wisdom’s Women. In these semi-annual public conversations, two women share stories from their lives and reflect on a topic of mutual interest. Deb’s partner in conversation will be a local herbalist, Kate Boverman, who grows and creates medicines and healing foods at the Clark Mountain Community Land Trust in Greene, Maine.  She is also a member of Radherb, a network of herbalists in the U.S. who are working to incorporate health justice principles into herbalism. Their focus of conversation will be on “The Soul of Gardening.”

Now in its fourth year, these “Wise and Strong Women Speak” evenings are designed to give voice to the often unspoken stories of women. They have evolved into a magical community experience that inspires all who attend. Light snacks and beverages will be offered.

Herbal products and books from Avena Botanicals will be available for sale at both venues. No reservations are needed for either event, just come and bring a friend.  There is no charge for attendance, although donations will be encouraged to support the gardening programs at The Center for Wisdom’s Women.

The Nutrition Center (corner of Pine and Walnut) and The Center for Wisdom’s women (between Pine and Ash) are located a block apart, just off of Bates Street.  Parking at each site is limited, but is available a few blocks away either in the Park Street garage.


This is a new experimental project at the Center. Over the summer we tested what we call “The Peasant Pantry Café.” Many countries have a one dish sustenance meal that is affordable and healthy. Each “Peasant Pantry” meal will come from a different country and be served in a single dish with a piece of bread or fruit and simple dessert our sunflower cookies.

DSCF4087In July we featured Cuban Black Beans and Rice. In August we did it twice and served an Italian Pasta and Cauliflower recipe and Egyptian Ful. Recipes are made available so the meal can be shared at home as well.  Donations to cover the cost (including the time of those who prepared it) are encouraged and welcomed. Come between 11:30 and 1:30 to enjoy good, simple food and conversation!

It has been a great win-win-win experience… A wonderful community builder, a new way to promote the Center and teach healthy eating, and an activity that gives women experience in planning, preparing and hosting/serving a meal while taking home a bit of spending money. The Cafe will usually be offered near the end of each month, with the next being planned for September 30, now with the help of Paul Drowns from the Nutrition Center of Maine.


“Can GOD be SHE?”

Offered twice annually and now in its third year, these Wise and Strong Women evenings are designed to give voice to the often silent story of women. They have evolved into a magical community experience that inspires all who come.

Join Susan Davies and Marian (Kitsie) Claxton in a special evening considering the nature of God from the viewpoint of two remarkable women, one a theologian, the other a chaplain. In sharing stories about their lives and reflecting on their faith journey as women, they will consider the bigger questions of life and death and what “moves” the world, and explore the infinite number of ways that people answer those questions.

Susan DaviesSusan E Davies, Ed.D, taught Pastoral Studies, critical thinking, and Justice at the Heart of God for 31 years at Bangor Theological Seminary, where she also served as Jonathan Fisher Professor and Academic Dean.  In addition, she taught both feminist/womanist theology and religious education classes.  Active in the ecumenical and interfaith worlds, she has been the Moderator of the Faith and Order Commission for the National Council of Churches, Co-Moderator of the Global Covenanting for Justice in the Economy and the Earth Network of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and currently serves as Moderator of the Transformational Theology Working Group of Oikotree International.  Sue studied at Wellsley College, Andover Newton Theological School, Yale Divinity School, New York Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary, and was ordained by the UCC Church in 1973.  When not traveling, she and her two cats live in Veazie, where she loves to ‘play outside’ in the gardens.

Kistey ClaxtonMarian “Kitsie” Claxton, M. Div, served as a hospice chaplain with Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice for 11 years, finishing in 2013. She holds a B.A. in history from Princeton University (1973) and is a 2006 graduate of Bangor Theological Seminary. Kitsie is an avid quilter who currently works part-time at Quiltessentials in Auburn. She also volunteers with the Androscoggin Land Trust as a land steward and newsletter contributor. As an active 25-year member of the First Universalist Church of Auburn, Kitsie serves as the chair of the Worship Associates, and last year won an “unsung hero” award from the Northern New England District of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Kitsie and her husband Ned have two grown sons, Nick and Will.  They have lived in Auburn since 1978,

No reservations are needed, just come and bring a friend.  Light snacks and beverages will be offered.  There is no charge, although a donation to the women’s center is appreciated.



Held on Saturdays nearest the Equinox and Solstice from 10:00-2:00! The day begins with a spoken meditation, and ends with shared reflections. A reading is offered during lunch. Otherwise the day is in silence. A simple meal is provided for those who sign up ahead.

September 20 – Led by Pat Gardiner and December 21  – Led by Klara Tammany


Do you like to sing? No experience needed, any ability welcomed (you don’t need to read music). We sing just to nurture our inner spirits! It is fun and life giving! Bring simple songs to share, a contribution for the meal if you can, and a drum if you have one! Schedule: 4-5:00 Sing, 5:00 Pot-Luck Supper, 5:45-6:30 Sing Again!

Monday, September 22 & Saturday, December 21



MARCH 7, 5:00-7:00 p.m. 

On Friendship, Creativity and Imperfection

Join Anne Kemper, Gretchen Rosen and Eileen Fair on March 7, on the eve of International Women’s Day, for the next semi-annual “Wise and Strong Women Speak” program at The Center for Wisdom’s Women. Through four decades this trio has woven beautiful threads of support while encountering the ups and downs of life.  Their abiding friendship has helped each of them remain steady and focused while navigating successes and detours, sustaining them as they ventured through life’s journey.

Their relationship has included lots of listening as they have encouraged each other to take risks and think outside the box. They have been part of each other’s lives through the raising of children, finding new career paths, and experiencing changes in their families. They have shared creativity, bumps, changes, loss, partnership, messiness, and successful achievements. They have painted sunrise and sunset colors in Eileen’s first ‘room of her own,’ have cooked lots of dinners, created quilts , crafted , laughed and groused  together.  They are spiritual sisters who generally just love being together!

Eileen (l), Gretchen (c), Anne (r)

Professionally, Eileen Fair (l) has been providing mental health services in various settings over the last 40 years in the Lewiston/Auburn communities.  Anne Kemper (c), a 39 year resident of Lewiston, is the Counselor Coordinator of Lewiston Adult Education’s Adult Learning Center.  Gretchen Rosen (r) has been a Peace Corp volunteer in Chile, a teacher, a parent educator, a court mediator, and she continues to volunteer and serve on boards. She has lived here for 43 years.

These three creative-leaning women have come to highly value their relationship with each other and other women. They join with the women’s center in inviting women to come reflect with them on “friendship, creativity and imperfection.” In this intimate public conversation, Eileen, Ann and Gretchen will consider female friendships, how we hang in tight with each other in tough times, how sometimes we must recognize the toxicity of unhealthy competition, and how over a period of time we can all come to appreciate the blessings of friendships.

Marguerite Stapleton will again facilitate the program planned for Friday evening, March 7 from 5:00-7:00.  No reservations are needed, just come and bring a friend.  Light snacks and beverages will be offered.  There is no charge, although a donation to the women’s center is appreciated. For more information call 513-3922.



Poster Slide

Yes indeed, it has been FIVE years! Come celebrate with us at our Open House on December 7 from 10:00-2:00! The Center was begun by the Daughters of Wisdom in 1999.  They had to leave the work in 2008 and a local group of women organized to continue it, with Trinity Church becoming the fiscal sponsor.

Since then the Center has registered over 600 women, with up to 30 women now visiting on a busy day. We offer weekday programs, support groups and activities, all volunteer led.  Operating expenses are covered mostly by private donations.

Our first ever “Woman of Wisdom Awards” at noon, will highlight the day. The award is intended to honor women who especially have a heart for the needs of women and children, yet have flown under the radar – unrecognized for their wisdom and work. There will be a cake and time for toasts with sparkling cider.

Light brunch snacks will be provided by the Nutrition Center of Maine. World crafts will be for sale from Karma Fair Trade in Portland, with proceeds to benefit the women’s center.  Also available for sale will be the Center’s “Wisdom Boxes” and “Gratitude Beads” or there will be the opportunity to make your own “Wisdom Box.”

A Bates student acapella group will come to sing and lead a holiday sing-along.  The Center will also lead a “Singing Circle” in the style of their monthly group.  Drawings for sunflower door prizes will happen throughout the day and raffle of a holiday gift basket is scheduled at the end of the day at 2:00.

Please spread the word, come join us, bring friends!



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