Reflections

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Abbess love notes

Join Us for Writing with the Ancestors + New Dancing Monk Icon ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Some of you who have been following my work for many years know that honoring my ancestors and engaging in healing has been a central part of my spiritual practice. I recently completed the manuscript for a book that will be published Fall 2023 by Ave Maria Press tentatively titled The Love of Thousands: Honoring Angels, Saints, and Ancestors. I offered some of this material for our Lent retreat online this past spring and have since doubled the materials written.  Most religious traditions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and most indigenous traditions all have

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Justin Coutts

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Justin Coutts’ reflection “A Hermit’s Prayer for Beauty” which originally appeared on his website In Search of a New Eden. One of my favourite poems from the Celtic tradition is this little piece written by a monk who is fantasizing about how they would like to live in the wild and pray. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it is incredibly relatable. This is basically what I’ve been dreaming about for the

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Abbess love notes

Hildy Tail + New Dancing Monk Icon ~ A Love note from your online Abbess and Prior

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, This week we are featuring one of our Hildy Tails. This series of essays were composed last year for our Sustainers Circle. They were dictated to John by the Abbey’s mascot, Hildy the Monk-ey. Hildy is a bit of a free spirit who likes to entertain and doesn’t normally feel constrained by conventional story structure . . . or grammar, in general. She lives by the motto that “all stories are true; some actually happened.” We wanted to share them with you, our wider Abbey community, to give you a small monkey-sized, humorous perspective on

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Monk in the World Guest Post Series

Monk in the World Guest Post: Becky Boger

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on Becky Boger’s reflection on bringing horses into spiritual direction. I currently live a quiet, simple, contemplative lifestyle in the country as an introverted monk in the world. Most of my adult life has taken me far into the ways of the world as a professional musician, both in the church and in the bars, where I had to find a way to comfortably share my gifts and passions in a more extroverted, public way. But eventually I couldn’t

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Abbess love notes

Please Help Us Sustain this Work ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, One of my heart’s great joys is the global nature of this community. To know that there are monks and artists spread all over the world who commit to this way of life brings me tremendous comfort and encouragement.  I feel grateful daily for this vibrant and meaningful work and the amazing people I get to collaborate with to help create our programs and offerings. I am thankful every day for you and for the many notes of encouragement I receive about what our work means to you.  We will be adding a fourth week to

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Canticle of Creation Spanish-Language Version

We are so delighted to share this new Spanish-language song version of Canticle of Creation. We originally commissioned Simon de Voil to create this song for us and our Earth Monastery album and prayer cycle.  The song was discovered by Yoga Master Teacher Andrei Ram in Barcelona, Spain who loved the song so much he plays it at the start of most of his classes. Andrei then commissioned Eva Donat Veiga and her partner Nono to create a translation and recording of the song which they sent on to Simon to share. (You can be in touch with Eva here).  You are invited to listen to the song again below.

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Sharon Johnson

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series. Read on for Sharon Dawn Johnson’s reflection, “The Green-Beaded Branch.” ‘Mary as the greenest branch.’ At the moment of reading this startling phrase, an image of a green-beaded branch appears in my mind’s eye – and issues an invitation, “Bring me to life.” I’m intrigued by this new-to-me name for Mary, even though I’m already rooting in the green power of viriditas, the term coined by Hildegard of Bingen. The V-word constantly alerts me to the life-greening sap flowing in my body and

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Abbess love notes

Join Us For The Mystical Heart and Hildegard ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

St. Hildegard Strolls Through the Garden Luminous morning, Hildegard gazes at the array of blooms, holding in her heart the young boy with a mysterious rash, the woman reaching menopause, the newly minted widower, and the black Abbey cat with digestive issues who wandered in one night and stayed. New complaints arrive each day. She gathers bunches of dandelions, their yellow profusion a welcome sight in the monastery garden, red clover, nettle, fennel, sprigs of parsley to boil later in wine. She glances to make sure none of her sisters are peering around pillars, slips off her worn leather shoes

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Jean Wise

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Jean Wise’s reflection “Travel Light.” “Travel light,” was our tour guide’s instruction. We were soon heading to Germany with a group of fellow pilgrims to visit historic sites and cathedrals and would complete our journey by seeing the Passion Play in Oberammergau.  Excited, I was ready to pack. I chuckled thinking about her advice about packing. I have tended to overpack on most of our vacations and dreaded facing this challenge once again. I stuffed my suitcases

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Christine Interviewed on “The Hagitude Sessions”

Christine Valters Paintner was this week’s guest on Sharon Blackie’s ‘The Hagitude Sessions’ podcast which helps to celebrate Sharon’s wonderful new book. In this episode we talk about Hildegard of Bingen, one of the inspiring elder women featured in ‘Hagitude’, other elders in the Christian tradition, and the transformative effects of chronic illness. See all the episodes here:https://hagitude.org/podcast/ Find Christine’s episode here.

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