Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:


Category: Abbess love notes


Happy Feast of St. Benedict (a love note from your online Abbess)

St. Benedict and the Rainstorm Early February evening. Benedict and his twin sister Scholastica, talk for hours about dealing with wayward monks, childhood memories, regrets, and how they sometimes steal away to the forest to dance. The beeswax candle extinguished, she went to fetch another, dinner plates pushed aside with drips of grease left from roast chicken, celebrating this yearly time together, the extra jug of wine nearly emptied. He gets up to leave but she protests. Benedict’s own Rule, requires him to be back at his monastery overnight. Perhaps she knew she would die only three days later. Or

Read More

Solstice Blessings + How to Be a Pilgrim (a love note from your online Abbess)

To receive this love note straight to your in-box, subscribe here (and also receive gifts!) How to Be a Pilgrim Air travel is like ancient pilgrims walking on their knees, flight delays and narrow seats offer their own kind of penance. You jettison excess baggage, leaving behind the heavy makeup case, knowing the rain will wash you free of artifice. Books you wanted to carry left too, no more outside words needed, then go old beliefs which keep you taut and twisted inside. Blistered feet stumble over rocky fields covered with wildflowers and you realize this is your life, full of sharp

Read More

Aligning with the Season of My Soul (a love note from your online Abbess)

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I am relishing the slower rhythms of summer, time for unstructured schedules when I can follow my own inclinations, noticing what my body and spirit need in a given moment. I have much work to do on my manuscript to have it ready by August, but what nourishes the writing process for me is allowing time for diversions like making seashell mandalas, writing poems, and going for long walks when things in my mind need a little shaking loose. John and I went on a spontaneous trip out to the island of Inisbofin (Island of the

Read More

Stopping by the Holy Well (a love note from your online Abbess)

To receive this love note straight to your in-box, subscribe here (and also receive a gift!) Stopping by the Holy Well Gentian blue sky, dandelion seed clouds play hide and seek with the sun. The long walk on the pilgrim road, across blooming limestone to this flowing fissure. Brightly colored ribbons hang like old party streamers from branches, banners of longing: a prayer for healing the great divide of the heart, or a beloved consumed by cancer. Or simply an echo of the psalmist’s ancient cry, “How long, O God?” into the vast and thunderous silence. No pronouncements in reply, no choruses of

Read More

Community & Solitude (a love note from your online Abbess)

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, John and I just completed another pilgrimage here in Ireland with a beautiful group of pilgrims. We are continually amazed and humbled at the deeply soulful and wise folks that join us for our programs. Dancing monks are the most wonderful folks there are. Dwelling in these holy places where countless have prayed for thousands of years is an experience of connection to the community of monks across time. We step into thin time and place together, where the veil between the sacred and ordinary becomes sheer, the division is no longer clear. Again, my heart came alive in

Read More

St. Hildegard Strolls through the Garden

To receive this love note straight to your in-box, subscribe here (and also receive a gift!) St. Hildegard Strolls through the Garden Luminous morning, Hildegard gazes at the array of blooms, holding in her heart the young boy with a mysterious rash, the woman reaching menopause, the newly minted widower, and the black Abbey cat with digestive issues who wandered in one night and stayed.  New complaints arrive each day. She gathers bunches of dandelions, their yellow profusion a welcome sight in the monastery garden, red clover, nettle, fennel, sprigs of parsley to boil later in wine. She glances to make sure

Read More

Embracing Vulnerability + Self-Study Summer Sale!

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I am delighted to introduce the latest in the dancing monk icon series above of St. Francis of Assisi. (I will let you know when prints become available.) The same day that artist Marcy Hall sent me this newest addition, I also stumbled across the poem above in a book I had been asked to review. I was also in the midst of teaching yoga each morning at the Spiritual Directors International conference in Santa Fe, NM. It was one of those happy confluences of events where different passions of mine came together. Following Santa Fe, I

Read More