So Morein, 56, left her home in Lafayette, La., and moved into an austere hut on the grounds of Lebh Shomea, a Catholic hermitage in the South Texas scrubland, where she stayed from 1997 to 2001.
The rule here is silence, the only amenity: solitude.
Speaking is discouraged. Guests do not visit one another in their huts, nor do they stroll together along paths that meander through more than 1,000 acres of uninhabited wilderness.
“I’ve always had some propensity toward solitude,” Morein said at the center. “It’s in my nature.”
On a recent Friday, a stiff breeze blew in from nearby Baffin Bay, rustling palm fronds and accentuating the hush that pervades the property.
Whirring in a golf cart past white oleanders and angel’s trumpets, Father Francis Kelly Nemeck, 69, quietly discussed the hallmark of his community 178 miles south of San Antonio.
“Silence makes you quiet down and listen,” said Nemeck, the center’s director and a resident of Lebh Shomea (Hebrew for “listening heart”) since its inception in 1973. “When you’re really opening up, you are listening to God.”