In the heart of the Swiss mountains, to the south of Lucerne, the monastery of Bethanien is the ideal base for a four-day hike as a couple, following a programme that combines personal and spiritual journeys. Silvère and Anny LANG have extended a warm invitation to us, encouraging us to dare the adventure!

Sylvère and Anny LANG have been leading these 4-day walks for couples in French and German for several years now. They say: “Couples are delighted to walk together in the mountains, marvelling at and discovering beautiful natural areas… They find themselves in pairs, walking at their own pace, solo or side by side; it allows them to combine their personal and spiritual journeys”.

In our urbanised society, for many couples whose jobs are sedentary and time-consuming (metro, work, bed…), being out and about in the fresh air does them a world of good. It’s real. We learn to pay attention to each other, to walk at our own pace, to support each other, to rediscover each other, to formulate together what is right for both of us. Whether you’re involved in the Church or on the fringes, there’s something in it for everyone.

Some people are surprised to arrive at an altitude of 2000 m: “I would never have dared to do a hike like that with just the two of us. I would never have gone. It’s wonderful to be guided like this in such beautiful, safe places”! And in the mountains, there’s always something unexpected, especially when you reach the summit after a great effort and one of the members of the group sings a song that everyone picks up on, astonishing the hikers around them. When you’re out in nature, you appreciate the warmth of the sun all the more, and God’s presence is more tangible.

The rhythm of the day is adapted so that everyone has their own times of silence and prayer, times for two as a couple as well as times for everyone together. There’s a lot of simplicity in this little-known proposal, which can bring together up to fifteen couples in a small group.

Sylvère and Anny say: “What a joy it is to see these couples leave happy, with a new impetus for their life together”.

Your day-to-day life is stressful and you’re tired from a hectic schedule.

You want to rediscover the source of your love.

You want to find the answers you need to steer your life in the right direction and also to engage in more dialogue.

You want to (re)find the ability to contemplate God in nature, to perceive Him, to rediscover yourself and your partner.

At the start of summer, as in no other season, the awakening of nature turns to enchantment. In the mountains, wildlife awakens, cows, goats and sheep return to the Alpine meadows after a winter spent in the warmth of their stables. The snow retreats from the highest peaks and the soft shades of green are adorned with a unique carpet of colour, made up of a thousand flowers, yellow, red, blue, white and gold. The result is a landscape like no other. It’s precisely at this time of symbolic rebirth that lovers of hiking, and lovers in general, experience by getting out into nature. For many walking friends, this is one of the highlights of the year.

That’s why, during this period, we’re offering all couples who wish to do so the chance to spend a few days marvelling about nature on the trails around the Bethanien monastery in central Switzerland.

Walking shoes, rucksack, water bottle, walking stick and off you go! Everyone will have carefully prepared their own picnic. It’s the joy of leaving everyday life behind, and the joy of rising above it to feel, sense and taste the freedom and grandeur of nature!

The rhythm of the day is adapted to suit everyone, with times of silence and prayer alternating with times for couples and for everyone together.

A small team accompanies you and offers a programme to help you make the most of these few days. Brief commentaries, testimonies, the Eucharist, time alone and time to talk and listen to each other will help each of you to make progress on your journey.

There are times when I’m in great shape, and times when I stall, it’s just like in life. And as many couples have already said, “I’d never have managed without other people”.

There’s a lot of simplicity in this proposal, which is suitable for a maximum of fifteen couples. The evenings provide an opportunity to reap the benefits of the day.

Various suggestions will help everyone to feel welcome, to be able to be who they are, to move forward at their own pace in sincerity and truth, to love themselves more!

Over the years, we’ve noticed that couples are always happy to walk together in the mountains – they have an experience of God every time. That’s St Ignatius! God communicates Himself directly to His creatures! The couples leave renewed and strengthened in their love.

Dare to be adventurous! It starts on a Wednesday afternoon (19 June 2024) and finishes late morning on Sunday, June 23rd.

Anny & Silvère LANG

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