Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
I am back home in Ireland now after my six weeks away for surgery and recovery in Vienna. I am really grateful to be back with sweet Sourney and the quiet rhythms and comforts of home. My body still needs more healing time so I will keep going slowly in the weeks to come. I continue to be enormously grateful for your prayers.
This time away has been so many things. A welcome return to an ancestral city I love so much after two years of pandemic-restricted travel. A season of grieving the loss of my dear aunt Nancy who died two days before I left. A liminal space where I could release the demands of work and truly just rest into the day to day. A span of recovery when I could truly witness the daily marvel and miracle of my body’s healing journey, from the first waking up after surgery to my first foray out of my hospital bed to my oh-so-slow walks around the block when I was first released to the longer walks and more capacity to enjoy the treasures Vienna offers as days progressed.
I return to Galway in need of continued slowness, of still lots of rest, and so these next few weeks I have only committed to a few things that feel manageable to me. My body craves this slow rhythm of life and my spirit longs to integrate some of the gifts that came through as I released my need to produce or do and simply showed up to my meditation and prayer. My monk’s path, and certainly my hermit’s calling, has deepened during this time. I am listening for what that means. I called on the presence of angels, saints, and ancestors even more keenly than I have before and I wrapped myself in your love and care for me. This community is such a beautiful thing we create together.
All I am certain of right now is that the contemplative way continues to be a powerful resistance and antidote to a world that demands our relentless doing and exhaustion. Our choices for slowness where and when we can point to a different way of being, to another world that exists just below the surface of this one.
I have three invitations for you to embrace the wisdom of Mary and the sacred feminine:
The song video above is of the traditional Latin Hail Mary prayer sung by Simon de Voil and Mia Kelley. It is one of the songs on our newest compilation of songs. We invite you to play the video as a prayer of opening to the sacred feminine in the midst of your life right now and see what she wants to say to you. The video was created by our filmmaker friends in Galway at Morgan Creative and features a local actress and friend Johanne Webb holding the space for Mary. We hope you enjoy!
I have an article on the Black Madonna in the May issue of US Catholic magazine. You can read the article here. As you read, you might want to call to mind and heart any griefs you carry and imagine that Mary as fierce dark mother is holding you in your sorrow.
Tomorrow we celebrate my new book, our new music album, and the newest week of the Prayer Cycle! Please join us for our monthly contemplative prayer service which will be 90 minutes instead of the usual 60 and I am joined by wonderful friends Betsey Beckman, Soyinka Rahim, Simon de Voil, and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan. Help us to celebrate these works which bring the sacred feminine more fully into the world. Mary has been a tremendous healing presence to me in these days of recovery, especially in her guise as Life-Giving Spring. The audio podcasts will be published over seven weeks starting next Sunday and we will be sharing those links here.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE