It’s no secret that Edisto Island is a place to get away from it all. Whether it’s the gentle breeze that softly shakes the tall blades of grass that cover the marsh, the crashing of the waves on the beach, or existing harmoniously with the abundant wildlife that call this place home, it all adds up to make the island a place of tranquility.
But there’s one place on Edisto that not too many people know about. It’s a place open to anyone looking to step away from daily life and take a time out. That place is the Sea of Peace House of Prayer.
Located on Palmetto Pointe Lane in the section of the island known as “The Neck,” this place is “an ecumenical center of spirituality for discovery, quiet contemplation and nourishment for people on their spiritual journey.”
Sea of Peace began back in 1994 on Jungle Road and was started by Sisters of the Dominican Order with Sister Betty Condon as the driving force behind the project.
Condon grew up in the Charleston area and entered into the sisterhood as a young woman. She spent many years doing retreat work all throughout the world, but decided that Edisto was as good of a place as any for a tranquil and spiritual getaway.
What solidified her decision to start a retreat on Edisto was the fact that a property was made available for use at a low rate on Jungle Road.
Condon spent more than four years at the property on Jungle Road providing visitors with retreats, spiritual direction, and a place for meditation. When the house was sold, Sea of Peace moved to its current location on Palmetto Pointe Lane.
This new location provided guests with almost panoramic views of the salt marsh, wood trails to walk along, screened-in porches, and a stone-lined labyrinth for those interested in praying while walking along a circular path.
The wildlife native to the area frequently walks through the grounds so it is no surprise for guests to see a family of deer grazing in the yard, egrets standing in the marsh water, or raccoons making use of the bird baths.
Condon said that during her 11 years at Sea of Peace sisters in the Dominican Order visited from all over the world along with everyday people in need of a place to go to rejuvenate their spirits and they were all taken in by the beauty and relaxation offered by the island.
Although Condon retired and Sea of Peace is now run by Sister Sharon Culhane, it still serves as a place for people to visit and connect with themselves, with nature, or one another.
Just recently, Culhane said two women, a mother and a daughter, came to Sea of Peace to repair their relationship with one another. She said they spent much of the time in prayer and meditating and by the end of the trip they had restored much of their relationship.
But stories like this will soon be a thing of the past because Sea of Peace is closing. Like many things nowadays, the economy has made it so that it is difficult for the Dominican sisters to continue offering the service and the house where the retreat is located is now for sale.
Both Condon and Culhane said that they wish that Sea of Peace could go on, but this will be its last summer.
Culhane said that from here on out until the house sells things at Sea of Peace will be slower than normal. She isn’t taking as many reservations and is slowly letting go of some of the books and other media that guests have used over the years.
“I wish it could stay open,” Culhane said, “but it would take a miracle.”
Individual retreats are $60 per person per day. Spiritual direction sessions are $25 per session. However, because the house of prayer is closing, Culhane said that she taking fewer reservations nowadays. But if you’re already in the area and need some time to center yourself, pray or meditate, the labyrinth is always open.
Remember, Sea of Peace and the labyrinth are open to people from all walks of life and all faiths.
If you’d like to visit Sea of Peace before it closes call 843-869-0513 or email Culhane at firstname.lastname@example.org.