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Category: Mystics and Saints


Some Updates from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, This past Monday our Wisdom Council gathered together online for our semi-annual time of reflection, inspiration, and planning. We are extraordinarily blessed with a group of 14 members who are heart-centered, contemplative leaders committed to helping Abbey of the Arts continue to flourish and serve this community in challenging times.  We first created the Wisdom Council several years ago when John and I realized we wanted more support for what was emerging, we wanted it to be a truly collaborative vision. While we are not a registered charity or non-profit structure, primarily because we went that path

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Desert Wisdom and the Practice of Love ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Next Saturday we continue our pilgrimage through the mystics when I will be leading a retreat on desert father St. Anthony the Great and desert wisdom. St. Anthony, also known as Anthony the Great, is considered to be the founder of the Christian monastic movement.  He moved into the desert at the end of the third century to seek solitude and by the end of his life thousands had followed him there to imitate his way of life of extreme asceticism.   Paul of Thebes is recorded as the actual first monk in Christian tradition to live in

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New Year Blessings and Gratitude ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, For the last 14 years we have hosted our annual Give Me a Word mini-retreat and invitation for you to share your word for the year with our community. You can find out more about it at this post. Some years my word comes quickly and some years it demands a lot more listening and waiting until I receive it. Sometimes I feel certain the word is shimmering and other times I am uncertain and so hold whatever seems to come lightly and with openness.  As many of you know the first half of last year was a

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Abbey of the Arts CD and DVD Buy One Get One Free Sale

In partnership with Wisdom Council Member and Abbey teaching partner Betsey Beckman of The Dancing Word, Abbey of the Arts has produced a series of CD & DVD collections as another resource for contemplation, creativity, and movement. From now through January 30th by one CD or DVD and get a second CD or DVD of your choice for free. This sale applies to CDs and DVDs only, not digital albums. After you purchase your item, please contact us using the link in your order form or by emailing and let us know which CD or DVD you’d like as your free gift.  View our

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This Here Flesh ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Next Saturday, October 22nd I will be leading a retreat for Spirituality & Practice on The Wisdom of the Body: Contemplative Practices for Deep Listening. Buddhist teacher Reginald Ray describes the body as “the last unexplored wilderness.” For the desert monks of the Christian tradition, the wilderness is the place where we can have a radical and intimate encounter with the divine. What does it mean to take the incarnation seriously? To live as if our flesh is holy? St. Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th century Benedictine Abbess believed there was a greening life force, very similar to

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Teresa of Avila and Deepening Intimacy with the Divine ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, We began our Mystical Heart 10-month series of retreats on Love as a Creative Force in September with St. Hildegard of Bingen on her feast. This month we are delighted to be hosting the wonderful Claudia Love Mair (who is my Lift Every Voice book club conversation partner and a gifted writer) next Saturday, the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila, for an online mini-retreat on Teresa’s wisdom.  Claudia wrote a delightful book about Teresa (when her name was Claudia Mair Burney) – God Alone is Enough: A Spirited Journey with Teresa of Avila. Here is an excerpt from the

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Blessing on the feast of Francis of Assisi

Blessings on this feast of Francis of Assisi! In 2019, John and I had the joy of traveling to Assisi on pilgrimage to walk in Francis’ landscape. It was such a gift to connect more deeply to this amazing human being and his sister-in-spirit Clare. Francis witnesses to our call to sacred joy, to holy foolishness, and to a love of all creation. Saint Francis Where there is hatred, let me sow love. —prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi A wolf circles the town walls with jaws ready to tear apart. Francis opens the gate, extends a steady hand,

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