Collier and Lee Counties Edition

New Possibilities at Open Path Retreat Center

Rev. Denise Schubert

Rev. Denise Schubert

Serendipity, synchronicity, insights, an awakening to being without doing were all the breadcrumbs that Rev. Denise Schubert needed to follow the path out of retirement in North Carolina and back into ministry in Southwest Florida. After being in retirement since 2015 and spending three wonderful years exploring the continent of Africa with her camera, Schubert felt ready to transition back into her work of spiritual community development. “I felt that particular sacred assignment was complete, and knew that to move forward, I needed to find something useful and fun to do. The question was where to do it,” says Schubert, who recently accepted the reins of leadership at the Open Path Center, in Fort Myers. “The morning after I had updated my resume, I opened up my computer to check my emails and found one from Rev. Emile Grauveau, a good friend and fellow graduate of the University of Transformation and Spiritual Leadership at the Agape International Spiritual Center, recently relocated to Beverly Hills, California. Emile and I studied at Agape and he is the retired spiritual leader of the Center for Spiritual Living Cape Coral,” advises Schubert.

Grauveau, now living in Sarasota and serving as president of the Open Path Retreat Center board of directors, emailed Schubert to tell her of the center’s need for a director and to inquire if she was interested in taking elephantsthe position. “I thought about it for four seconds, and answered with what I call a full-bodied, ‘Yes’. I knew the opportunity to create a spiritually connected community outside of ‘church model’ was a perfect fit for me. I put my house up for sale the next day and received a generous offer within 12 hours. Nineteen days later, I was unpacked and living in Fort Myers ready to begin again. This flow has continued since I’ve been out meeting people, which is why I’m feeling so connected to the existing spiritual community. I feel affirmed for what I intuitively felt when I accepted—the timing is right for significant potential growth and consciousness development here,” notes Schubert.

Schubert’s path of ministry, spiritual leadership and helping to grow the communities she chose to grow with, began with her initial training with Dr. Michael Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center. She took her master’s in consciousness studies and ministerial license to serve the Bodhi Spiritual Center, in Chicago, and on to the Triangle Center for Spiritual Living, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Over a period of six years, the Raleigh community swelled from 20 to 150 people. We grew into not only a vibrant spiritual community that cared for and tigerabout each other but also into a socially conscious and responsible community,” advises Schubert.

“In 2015, I spent two weeks in Africa, where I discovered stillness in my being; something that I’d never known before. On my return to Raleigh, I found myself not wanting to ‘do’, to just ‘be’. I took a three-month sabbatical that summer. Returning to Botswana and Zimbabwe, I captured stunning photos of wildlife in the African bush. Many were sold and some won awards. If I’d been two decades younger, I would have likely stayed,” recalls Schubert.

In Africa, Schubert discovered something mystical about the simple act of seeing, of quietly observing without inner commentary and judgment. “When you observe nature being nature, the situation is void of expectations and judgments. A lion expects nothing from me and I nothing from it. It is a space of pure being. Africa was life-changing for me in that regard,” exclaims Schubert.

Intent on carrying out her personal mission and purpose to inspire, educate and empower people to live life with authenticity and joy, and to recognize their spiritual magnificence, Schubert says, “I’m a purveyor of possibilities. With the help of the community, we will create an environment within which we can wake up to new possibilities, ideas and new ways of being. When Margaret Mead said to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people could change the world, she was right. We can.”

Open Path Retreat Center is located at Beacon Executive Suites, 8359 Beacon Blvd., Ste. 614, in Fort Myers. For information call 239-297-0129 or visit

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