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Monk in the World Guest Post: Jodi Blazek Gehr

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Jodi Blazek Gehr’s reflection on gratitude, wonder, and the sweet spot of life. As a Benedictine Oblate of a monastic community about 90 minutes from home, driving the country roads of the Nebraska “Bohemian Alps” to St. Benedict Center has become part of my contemplative practice. Sometimes I drive in silence, curious about the old homes and barns that have fallen into disrepair, soaking in the beauty of the gentle, rolling hills, captured by the neat rows of corn

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Abbess love notes

St. Gobnait and the Place of Resurrection ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, Our featured self-study this month has been our virtual Celtic pilgrimage honoring Saints Brigid, Ciaran, and Gobnait. The pandemic inspired many new creative offerings and the virtual pilgrimages have been a favorite. (We have a brand new Celtic pilgrimage coming in late April for Beltaine where you can join us live for 9 days).  I only learned about St. Gobnait after moving to Ireland, but she is perhaps one of my favorite of the Irish saints. She is a fifth- and sixth-century monk who fled her home in County Clare and headed first for the island of Insheer. It is

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Christine Interviewed on the Compass Podcast

Christine was interviewed about fasting and Lent on the Compass Podcast. She shares her insights on how fasting can go beyond traditional ideas of abstaining from food and can instead be a way to open ourselves to a deeper encounter with the divine. Christine outlines the various forms of fasting, including from multitasking and inattention, and the practice of fasting from scarcity, speed, and certainty.  Listen to the Podcast View the Podcast on YouTube Christine founded the Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering classes and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She is a Benedictine Oblate, poet,

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Anne Barsanti

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Anne Barsanti’s reflection The Quiet. I crave the quiet of a new morning. I’ve always been an early riser and am frequently astonished by the breadth of the day before it unfolds. There is so much, yet so little time. I also crave stillness of mind and heart. Mostly I find this in long-distance running, swimming, and walking. For me, the stillness does not mean being sedentary. Moving meditation comes to mind as we flow in yoga,

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Abbess love notes

Sister Thea Bowman ~ A Love from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, We are very excited to be hosting ValLimar Jansen this Friday for a mini-retreat. She is an extraordinary musician and performer and has a special love for Sister Thea Bowman, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and prophetic witness to the Black American Catholic experience who worked to break down racial and cultural barriers. ValLimar wrote a musical to celebrate Sister Thea’s life.  ValLimar shares this reflection with us that she wrote originally for Liguori Publications:  Sister Thea Bowman was a trailblazing African American Catholic religious sister. She was a powerful voice for social justice and a passionate

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Monk in the World Guest Post Series

Monk in the World Guest Post: Susan Fish

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Susan Fish’s reflection on meeting Jesus by a cedar tree. Imagine walking to a river, my spiritual director says. Sit with Jesus and place your concerns in the water for God to carry. I see myself resting among the exposed roots of a cedar tree, leaning back as the psalmist does in Psalm 131, like a weaned child against its mother. I begin to pray in this way. The next summer, my husband and I visit Lake

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Abbess love notes

Fasting and the Three Renunciations ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, This week begins our Lenten journey through the desert of our hearts. If you want to make an intentional pilgrimage with kindred spirits, we invite you to join our companion retreat to my book A Different Kind of Fast, where we explore different kinds of fasting including from speed and productivity and from craving certainty.  This is an excerpt from the introduction of the book: One of the early teachings of the Christian church I find helpful to understand fasting is from John Cassian who talks about three renunciations. Cassian, an early theologian in the Christian church, writes

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Monk in the World Guest Post Series

Monk in the World guest post: Kathleen Deyer Bolduc

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Kathleen Deyer Bolduc’s reflection In My Own Backyard. One of my most powerful contemplative practices is to ask God for a dream when I am unsure of which way to turn. God always gives me an answer, sometimes in surprising ways.  In the midst of health challenges that include debilitating fatigue, I’ve been seeking to discern what’s next for Cloudland, the contemplative retreat center I run with my husband. It’s becoming very difficult to design and facilitate retreats

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Abbess love notes

A Different Kind of Fast Lent Retreat ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, We have ten days until the start of Lent. How will you consecrate that holy season in the wilderness? We are hosting an online pilgrimage with a companion retreat to my book A Different Kind of Fast. Read on for an excerpt:  The forty days of Lent are a sacred journey through the wilderness which means there will be moments of challenge. Even if we live in the middle of the suburbs or in the heart of the city, the wilderness becomes a metaphor for those places we need to wrestle and ultimately soften toward ourselves, bring lavish compassion

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Monk in the World Guest Post Series

Monk in the World Guest Post: Eleanor Albanese

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Eleanor Albanese’s reflection Where Creativity and Spirituality Meet. My work as a practicing artist has evolved over the decades. The deeper I enter my spiritual practices, the less separation I see between spirituality, creativity, and community. I especially notice this in the way that I engage with the community. Audiences have become participants, the stage is now a forest or park or meeting place, and stories are reciprocated between participants and performers. The projects have breathing space

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