Reflections

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Therese Pekala

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Therese Pekala’s reflection “Hospitality:  A Graceful Art.” On the exterior of my front door reads a sign, “My dog is my door bell.”  It may appear to be a warning and unhospitable until you realize the dog is a friendly fifteen year old golden retriever named Maisy.  She is the official greeter.  If dogs are like their master, then Maisy and I are symbiotic souls when it comes to welcoming those who appear at our door.   I

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Abbess love notes

The Space Between ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Today we enter Holy Week. This week ahead in the Christian scriptures invites us into a world full of betrayal, abandonment, mockery, violence, and ultimately death. The Triduum, those three sacred days which constitute one unfolding liturgy, call us to experience communion, loss, and the border spaces of unknowing. Holy Saturday is an invitation to make a conscious passage through the liminal realm of in-between. I love the wide space of Holy Saturday that lingers between the suffering and death of Jesus on Friday and the vigil Saturday night proclaiming the return of the Easter fire.

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Katie Birkeland

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Katie Birkeland’s reflection imagining Judas’ point of view at the Last Supper.  I have found putting myself into a Bible story is a powerful way to connect with the message that God has for me.  I recently spent some time in the story of the Last Supper as if I were Judas and recognized in myself the tension between following my flesh—betrayal toward Jesus–  and falling into his ever present and pursuing arms.  This is where my

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Abbess love notes

A Poetic and Mythic Approach to Mary ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I am thrilled that my book Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal is being published this Friday, April 8th. (Also mark your calendars for our May 2nd contemplative prayer service where I will be joined by Simon de Voil, Soyinka Rahim, Betsey Beckman, and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan to launch my book, the album, and the forthcoming prayer cycle).  In the meantime, this excerpt is from the introduction and explains how the archetypes shapes my approach to writing about Mary’s names and titles:  Mary has gone by many names in the Christian tradition. My approach to these names is

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Lift Every Voice Book Club

Lift Every Voice: Contemplative Writers of Color – April Video Discussion and Book Group Materials Now Available

Join Abbey of the Arts for a monthly conversation on how increasing our diversity of perspectives on contemplative practice can enrich our understanding and experience of the Christian mystical tradition.  Christine Valters Paintner is joined by author Claudia Love Mair for a series of video conversations. Each month they take up a new book by or about a voice of color. The community is invited to purchase and read the books in advance and participate actively in this journey of deepening, discovery, and transformation.  Click here to view this month’s video discussion along with questions for reflection. In The Seeker and the Monk, Sophfronia

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Post-Surgery Health Update from Christine

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, First enormous gratitude for your generous love, care, and prayers for me. I have absolutely felt surrounded by them along with the angels, saints, and ancestors, Mary as Life Giving Spring, and the Divine Healer infusing me with greening life energy. I checked into the hospital Tuesday and had my transadominal hysterectomy first thing Wednesday. My doctor was so kind to come hold my hand as I went under. According to her all went very well. Yesterday I felt pretty awful but to be expected after anesthesia and a major surgery. The nurses and assistants

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Kathy Roy

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Kathy Roy’s submission “Gentle Spirits.” Stepping out my front door for an early morning walk has become a spiritual practice over the years.  This morning, the sky is a deep inky blue and as I step out of my house, my eyes are drawn to the brilliant glow of the moon shining through the branches of pine trees.  Dawn has not yet broken the dark of the night and the moon has a circle of light radiating

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Monk Manifesto + Updated Artwork ~ A Love Note From Your Online Abbess

Dearest monk, artists, and pilgrims, I want to share a brand new video for our Monk Manifesto principles! We originally had our wonderful companion illustrations created about twelve years ago. They were delightful but in recent times, with our own growing awareness, we have realized they could be even more inclusive of a diversity of people than they were. Abbey of the Arts is committed to its own ongoing growth and transformation! See principle #7 of conversion which is all about being on a lifelong journey of discovery.   So we were delighted to find illustrator Quynh Nguyen and loved her playful, colorful style (she

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Karen Harris

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Karen Harris’ reflection, “Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down.” What I have discovered at this spiritually scholastic portal is that the profundity of life is equal to the level of “play” in which you are willing, and led, to engage.  This can only be accomplished when you find and then put yourself in the hands of accomplished and genuine people you have learned to trust and love.  Having found these people- I wished to send a thank you email

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Abbess love notes

Health Update ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I have mentioned a couple of times that I have surgery upcoming. Last summer I was diagnosed with a very large fibroid which has been causing ongoing discomfort and pain. I spent several months trying to determine the right treatment and get it scheduled. For many reasons including the underfunded Irish public health service, the impact of the pandemic on it, and the bureaucracy that governs our private health insurance and options in Ireland, we eventually decided the best choice would be for me to travel to Vienna, Austria for a transabdominal hysterectomy (which will be covered

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