Offering a destination supporting and sustaining ‘Spirituality Without Borders’

About Bethlehem Centre

Our Story | Our Values | Our History

The Bethlehem Centre Story

Nestled in the shadows of Mt Benson, on beautiful Westwood Lake, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. We gratefully acknowledge that we live, work and play on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples specifically the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

We are a charitable organization that welcomes individuals and groups exploring spirituality and seeking a non-judgmental sacred place for contemplation, learning, and community.  We hold the vision of offering a destination supporting and sustaining ‘spirituality without borders’ and maintain the tradition of hospitality that has long been part of the Centre’s strength.

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.

The Centre is not associated with a particular faith tradition, rather multi-faith that welcomes all on a spiritual path as they explore their chosen wisdom and teachings.  

How is the Bethlehem Centre Supported?

The Bethlehem Centre Society, a registered Canadian charity, relies on the generosity of our community to support our programming activity and to help keep our prices affordable for individuals and groups seeking a place for spiritual reflection and growth.

Traditionally, 68% of our revenue comes from programs, 19% comes from fundraising and 13% from gift shop sales and other revenue.

Bethlehem Centre’s Core Values

People First

We care for one another and treat each other with kindness and respect.

We also demonstrate this care by having a workplace that is constantly evolving with the times.

There is a firm commitment to creating a culture that values individuals and supports healthy relationships.


We recognize the responsibilities we have to our guests and team.

We have a responsibility to lead with our ethics and values and make decisions that benefit all involved with the Centre, not just certain individuals.

Our leadership has a responsibility to model the way for others.


Hospitality has long been part of the Centre’s strength.

We practice this by offering warmth, acceptance, and making people feel welcome.

We take pride in creating simple, clean spaces and providing thoughtful and nourishing food in an environment of beauty and peace.

Open Minded Thinking

We have a willingness to consider new and different ideas or opinions.

We demonstrate this through having truthful and open conversations – even when it’s awkward or uncomfortable.

We hold space for multiple points of view to be present at one time.


We are committed to doing things honestly.

We will do the right thing, simply because it is the right thing to do.


We keep promises and fulfill commitments to each other and our stakeholders.

Bethlehem Centre’s History

Bethlehem Centre’s History

The House of Bread Monastery was founded in 1974 when Bishop Remi DeRoo asked the Benedictine Sisters to return to Vancouver Island. Jean Ann Berning and Augusta Raabe, Benedictines from Mt. Angel, Oregon responded to his request and established a Benedictine presence in the community of Nanaimo. Within the first months, their home became a gathering place for scripture discussions and spiritual journeying.

Thirteen years later, as an extension of the established spiritual traditions of those early years, The Bethlehem Retreat Centre was established in 1987 by the House of Bread Benedictine Sisters, under the leadership of Jill Aigner, also a Benedictine Sister. With the help of individuals and groups of many faiths, and other organizations, the Benedictines purchased the Centre from the Diocese in 2002 so that the Bethlehem Retreat Centre could continue to address the spiritual needs of persons on Vancouver Island.

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. We are eternally grateful for the incredible legacy that the Benedictine Sisters have passed along to the now Bethlehem Centre Society. Without their years of leadership, dedication and devotion Bethlehem would not be the multi-faith centre it is today.

The community’s contribution is further exemplified through the Benedictine wisdom that was brought to the Centre’s work. The spiritual discipline of simply paying attention to life, accompanied with listening carefully anchored the Centre’s spiritual framework.

Bethlehem Centre Today

Now, Bethlehem Centre (Society), is no longer associated with any particular faith tradition, rather a multi-faith, inter-spiritual Centre that welcomes all on a spiritual path. With a vision that embraces “spirituality without borders” Bethlehem maintains the traditional values of love, conversation, humility, stewardship, community, and hospitality that has long been part of the Centre’s strength.

Bethlehem Centre is a spiritual place dedicated to those exploring spirituality. Located on beautiful Westwood Lake, we offer a serene setting for groups and/or individuals seeking education, reflection, and community building. The Centre is conveniently close to a major transportation hub making your travel to, and stay with, the Centre simple and peaceful from start to finish.

Bethlehem Centre