Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
I thought I would share with you some of the writing projects I am involved in at the moment. This has been a very fruitful time for books with my poetry collection Love Holds You coming out last spring from Paraclete Press, then The Love of Thousands on honoring angels, saints, and ancestors being published in August from Ave Maria Press, and I have a book coming out in January 2024 with Broadleaf Books titled A Different Kind of Fast: Feeding Our True Hungers in Lent which is now available for pre-order.
Right now, I am finalizing the edits to my manuscript A Midwinter God to submit to Ave Maria Press. Many of you have told me how much you appreciate the online retreat we offer on making the underworld journey and befriending the darkness so I am excited to bring it together into book form which will be published in fall of 2024. An essential part of what we are about at the Abbey is welcoming in the full spectrum of our human experience, the radical hospitality of which St. Benedict and the desert elders write so beautifully about.
Once I have that turned in later this month, I will be focusing on two more projects – the first is a book of blessings I have been slowly compiling over the last year or so. I share the new blessings I write weekly with our Sustainers Circle and I really look forward to sharing this as a resource for prayer and ritual in book form (although probably not until 2025). If there is a blessing you would especially love to read, send us a note and let us know your suggestion.
And last, but certainly not least, I am working on a book tentatively called Women on the Threshold: Wisdom from the Medieval Women Mystics for Midlife and Beyond. As I move through my own season of midlife and menopause, I became curious about those women mystics from medieval times who lived a relatively long life and dealt with their own midlife transitions, including illness and losses, as well as new creative birthings later in life.
After some time of listening and discernment, the seven women who have called to me are Hildegard of Bingen, Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Mechtild of Magdeburg, Marguerite D’Oingt, and Angela of Foligno. These women lived in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and England. I love that there is a mix of the familiar and some who are much less so. I am very excited to be inviting in their wisdom to speak to me in a very particular way over this next season of life and to share that with you in retreat form and in writing.
We are delighted to have Therese Taylor Stinson returning this Wednesday to lead our monthly Centering Prayer series. All are welcome to this informal time of teaching and practice together. Therese is a treasured Wisdom Council member, spiritual director, contemplative teacher, and author of several books including Walking the Way of Harriet Tubman: Public Mystic and Freedom Fighter which is our featured book this month for the Lift Every Voice book club. I wholeheartedly encourage you to order a copy of her book and read it for a rich perspective on what a public mystic is and the journey toward greater inner and outer freedom.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Image © Christine Valters Paintner