About Bethlehem Centre




Offering a destination supporting and sustaining ‘spirituality without borders’.


Bethlehem Centre welcomes individuals and groups exploring spirituality and seeking a non-judgmental sacred place for contemplation, learning, and community.

Nestled in the shadows of Mt Benson, on beautiful Westwood Lake, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, The Bethlehem Centre was established in 1987 by the House of Bread Benedictine Sisters.

In 2014, the Sisters decided to sell the property in order to retire from many years of welcoming diverse groups and individuals to the Centre.

Now, the Bethlehem Centre (Society) is no longer associated with any particular faith tradition, rather multi-faith that welcomes all on a spiritual path.  Our vision embraces “spirituality without borders” and we maintain the tradition of hospitality that has long been part of the Centre’s strength.

We welcome all those who wish to explore their own spirituality as well as discover the wisdom and teachings of others.

We believe that there is a connectedness in humanity in our search for meaning and spirituality, and we collaborate with partners to offer programs that help people evolve in ways that expand our consciousness and connectedness to each other, our communities and our planet.

Bethlehem Centre’s Core Values


Our traditional history of hospitality reflects the essence and primary expression of the core values of Bethlehem Center.

We offer a personal welcome, simple accommodation and nourishing food in an environment of beauty and peace.


 We embrace and honour the uniqueness, the inherent value of each human being and each spiritual path.

We welcome individuals and groups from all spiritual traditions and practices.



We value deep listening as a way of connecting to self, others and the earth.  We listen with the ear of our heart.


We believe that simplicity is an invitation which stands in contrast to the complexity of our lives and society.

Living in relationship with the earth and Cosmos

We acknowledge that we are one with the earth, the cosmos and every living being.

We celebrate the compassion that is at the core of our relationship with every living being and all things.


Bethlehem Centre is a place of peace and beauty. Our group, Faith and Sharing, has been coming here every summer since 1989.

We always find a welcoming space to form community, to spend time with God and in nature. This year the pandemic has made everything different. But still we came. It was a unique and life-changing time.

The staff provided professional services, feeding us well, and keeping the spaces clean, so we felt safe and able to relax and enjoy the gifts of this place. We are so grateful to have this haven to come to and more so in these uncertain challenging times.

We go home refreshed, grounded and more whole.

Faith & Sharing

August 2020

I spent 3 days in a silent retreat at Bethlehem Retreat Centre.

This is a very unique and special place which already has everything there needs to be for a retreat.

I hope that it can be preserved for the use of all those that are interested in spiritual growth.

Karen Cain


Bethlehem Retreat Centre was a haven of peace for me during the few days I spent there in February, 2010.

Having come from many busy weeks in cold and snowy Saskatoon, it was blessing-filled and soul-nurturing experience to bask in its beautiful setting near the lake and forest.

In addition to appreciating the quiet time for prayer and contemplation, I appreciated the warm hospitality. For me, the Bethlehem Retreat Centre was a taste of heaven.

Sister Teresita Kambeitz

OSU, Saskatoon

My late husband, Lock Mawhinney and I have been going to retreats since the Center opened. We have attended all Faith and sharing retreats, in fact, 3 generations , my daughters and their children have attended these retreats.

What a Grace to attend a week long retreat with your children and grandchildren! The kids will not miss it, even if we are too tired and say we might not go, they protest!

Joanne Mawhinney

I have had the opportunity to have been a retreatant at Bethlehem Retreat Centre in the past and was looking forward to my next visit. The tranquil setting and wonderful walking paths,  just out the door, are comparable to none.

Coming from the hectic city of Calgary , the retreat centre served as an oasis for my soul. Last visit I brought a friend from Manitoba and have been actively seeking out friends from Calgary to accompany me next visit.

Barbara Friesen


I attended a week long contemplative retreat at Bethlehem Retreat Centre at the invitation of a friend in 2013.

Since I live in Winnipeg and could fly directly into Nanaimo, it peaked my interest that it was being offered on an island ideal for walking, in a setting with rolling hills, white peaked mountains, a man-made lake and towering trees. The centre and surrounding area proved ideal for reflecting, reading, relaxing, walking, and provided me personal renewal.

The experience allowed me to feel deeply serene and touched each of my senses as well as my mind, body and spirit. I truly recommend a retreat in this natural paradise for anyone seeking prayer and reflection.

Daria McLean