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Special Events Highlight Magical Mizpah Schedule in Grand Isle in August and September

GRAND ISLE---In addition to offering Catholic Masses at 1 p.m. on the first Friday of every month through October, Mizpah, located on 126 Doucette Road in Grand Isle, has announced its late summer event schedule with something for everyone. Mizpah is a non-profit organization that is open to the general public, free of charge. The retreat features 15 buildings, beautiful viewing sites, and nature walks through trails winding through 109 acres. From May to October each year, it draws thousands of people including prayer groups and participants in large pilgrimages. Despite being non-denominational, the Catholic influence is easily observed.

August 6-7
Organ Concert Weekend

On Saturday, August 6, and Sunday, August 7, renowned organist Mark Thallander will perform at Mizpah accompanied by Mary Jo Hedman and Ryan Slocum. The concerts will begin both days at 2 p.m. Thallander is a teacher, arranger, composer, author, and freelance organist. He is also the president of the president of the National Children’s Chorus.

August 15
Acadian Festival Mass

On Monday, August 15, at 1 p.m., the 44th annual Madawaska Acadian Festival Mass will be held at Mizpah. The Mass will be celebrated by Father Jacques Lapointe, OFM, former pastor of St. Peter Chanel Parish in Van Buren, and feature singing from the Van Buren Chorus.

August 27
Walk Around the Pond Fundraiser

The Mizpah Walk Around the Pond will be held on Saturday, August 27, starting at 3 p.m. Funding for the retreat comes through donations generated by this annual luminary walk. Hundreds of people participate in this event by purchasing candles in honor of a loved one which are placed around Mizpah’s pond. Others purchase a name plate for a loved one to be permanently placed on the 36-foot-long Cancer Survivor Wall, a commemoration of past and present survivors.

September 10
Navigating the Grief Journey

The event will be held on Saturday, September 10, from noon to 4 p.m. Grief is a struggle for many who experience the death of a loved one, including the challenges of dates of significance, guilt, regrets, the loss of identity, and fears. The gathered hospice team will help participants navigate their way by discussing what to expect, the various stages, how people grieve differently, triggers, emotions, and adjustments.

Created in 1991, Mizpah means “helping another” in Hebrew. The project began with the bulldozing of a large pond area and, over the years, land, buildings, and a pond were added. Mizpah is a labor of love started by Richard Corbin and carried on by surviving family members. Corbin was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s Disease at the age of 22 and was expected to survive less than a year. He died in 2015 at the age of 71.

“I made a promise with the High Almighty that if my life be spared for a little while longer, I would build a place for cancer people to come to,” Corbin said before his death. “A place for cancer survivors and people in grief to come and reflect, meditate, console and be at peace with each other and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer.”  

For over 20 years, Corbin made a daily appearance at Mizpah and was responsible for the site’s day-to-day operations. It was his last wish that his family take over Mizpah. Today, his brother, Roger, is the director of Mizpah and other family members serve in various roles.

“Dick (Richard) wanted to create a spiritual place for people in need to come to and to help them understand what they’re going through,” said Roger. “Spiritual healing is very powerful and the feeling of not being alone as they go through these challenging times is very important in the healing process. That’s the feeling you get at Mizpah.”

Mizpah visitors can also stroll through an outdoor and handicap accessible “Way of the Cross” that encourages personal reflection and coping; fish a pond filled by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for children and adults to enjoy; see over 20 flower gardens; stay at one of the retreat’s cabins; pray in the chapel; spend time in the welcome center; take in the many statues of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and others; and use the retreat’s golf carts to explore the trails.

If you are interested in offering support or learning more about upcoming special events at Mizpah, visit, email [email protected], or call (207) 358-8484.