In 1973, a teacher from New York shared a dream with a group of friends about having a weekend retreat to which physically disabled persons would be invited. The combination of their generous response and his determination quickly translated this dream into a reality. The first retreat of this type was launched with great success in New York in April 1974. Since that time, HEC has spread to other cities in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

The people who have been a prime force behind the beginning of a HEC chapter have been folks who have participated in a HEC weekend and found it sufficiently moving to spur them into action in their own area. In 1981 two such people decided to start HEC in St. Louis. At present, one or two weekends are held each year in St. Louis with an average of 50 people attending each retreat.

HEC began as a response to a growing need for physically disabled and able-bodied people to enter into dialogue with one another. Through this dialogue, the labels of "able-bodied" and "disabled" begin to lose meaning. People, different as they may be, begin to communally nurture their faith in God and celebrate their holiness and goodness with each other.

HEC continues because it takes its motives from the Gospels, where there is slave nor master, rich nor poor, disabled nor able-bodied in the sight of God.

John Keck the founder of HEC retreats
Pallottine chapel with altar cloth signed by HEC participants
lit candles