Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
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.
One of the gifts of the pandemic has been solidifying this sense of community through coming together to pray in various ways. Creating our weekly prayer cycles has long been a dream of mine and we hear from so many of you that you love having this resource to pray with. We plan to add more of these weeks in the future including one on Mary and the sacred feminine next spring in conjunction with my book on Mary being released. Ultimately we’d love to have four weeks so that you could pray through the whole month with us with new content each day. We’ve heard from so many of you the steadying nature of these resources, offering a stillpoint to anchor into amidst the challenges of life.
We are also adding a monthly contemplative prayer service via Zoom starting in October led by Simon de Voil and myself. We may increase the frequency of these in the future depending on how they are received. Last year when we led these for Advent and our Novenas so many of you asked for something regular so we are responding to that desire. Our October theme will be St. Francis as we gather on his feast day and November will be All Saints and Souls.
Our Lift Every Voice book club has also been a dream long in the making come true. I am so delighted to be partnered with Claudia Love Mair to invite this community to enrich our perspectives on the contemplative life and ask deeper questions about justice and communal transformation. We had our first mid-month community conversation on Friday and were delighted to join in with you in this way. (Our next one is September 24th). We want to continue to make this a significant part of our learning journey together. To keep widening our lens on the experience of the divine and how that empowers us is a tremendous gift, especially when we join together for this work.
We plan to continue our daily and weekly email newsletters and Facebook groups as well. All of these programs mentioned are offered without charge so they can be accessible to anyone who desires to join us. We also offer flexible payment plans, sliding scales, and scholarship assistance for any of our online retreats to those in need as well and are able to honor most requests we receive.
This is all a part of our commitment to accessibility. We believe in sliding scale models so that those who are able to support us financially do and those who are unable at this time can still participate. We know we are enriched by everyone who wants to be a part of our community and we do not want money to be a barrier.
However, these things we create all cost money. From the technical end of things to the human labor involved that we compensate for (artists and ministers need a living wage!) the expense of running an online Abbey is significant and program fees cover only part of that.
We are inviting those who are able to help support these and other programs to flourish to consider joining our Sustainers Circle for the year. This will provide us with a bit more regular income for our many upcoming projects and create a more solid base for our scholarships. You help us thrive and in return receive some extra perks and content including a weekly contemplative or creative prompt, poems from my next collection, and scripture reflections from John written from the perspective of Hildy our monk-ey mascot. We are asking you to register by September 30th and depending on your level of commitment there are a couple of gifts that will be mailed to you in gratitude. We have created some beautiful new pendants with St. Hildegard on one side and St. Benedict on the other that everyone who joins us will receive.
Please know that if you are unable to make that financial commitment, or for whatever reason prefer to just pay the fees for our programs or buy our books, or make a one-time contribution, we are truly grateful for your presence. There are many ways to support us! Perhaps the most significant is to tell others about our ministry and resources. We do very little advertising because we find word of mouth to be the best and most organic way to grow a community. Sharing on social media also helps a great deal, as does leaving reviews for any of my books on sites like Amazon and GoodReads.
If you have read this far, extra special thanks for listening to our request and considering your capacity. We are thrilled to continue offering you many rich resources to deepen your contemplative life and creative expression. Together we will bring more depth, presence, and transformation to the world. Simply showing up and doing the inner work demanded by this way helps each of us to be more present for others in a grounded way, rooted in Love.
These last four weeks we have been sharing some of the new dancing monk icons added to our series. If you have a set of our icon cards and want to complete it by adding our 8 newest images, you can do so here by August 31st. We will be making a set of cards in a larger size, complete with custom box and booklet available in September. Sister Thea Bowman was a dynamic Franciscan sister who lived a life overflowing with joy and gratitude. Toward the end of her life when she was struggling with cancer, she famously said she wanted to live until she died.
We added some additional small group options for our 8-week Monk in the World small group experience starting in October and these are filling quickly. Please have a look at our available dates and join us if you feel called to a more intimate conversation with kindred souls.
With great and growing love,
Image credit: Dancing Monk Icon © Marcy Hall at Rabbit Room Arts