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Stretching of the Heart with St. Columba ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, Today we release the video podcast for Day 5 of our Soul of a Pilgrim prayer cycle. The theme for morning and evening prayer is The Practice of Being Uncomfortable and Embracing the Unknown. Pilgrimage always demands something from us. If we are not challenged by it, then we are merely on a trip or a vacation.  This Friday, I will be leading an online retreat with two dear friends, Simon de Voil and Kenneth Steven. The retreat is titled Stretching of the Heart: A Celtic Mini-Retreat on St. Columba (known as Columcille in Ireland) and we will explore the ways pilgrimage

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Christine Interviewed on the Compass Podcast

Christine was interviewed about fasting and Lent on the Compass Podcast. She shares her insights on how fasting can go beyond traditional ideas of abstaining from food and can instead be a way to open ourselves to a deeper encounter with the divine. Christine outlines the various forms of fasting, including from multitasking and inattention, and the practice of fasting from scarcity, speed, and certainty.  Listen to the Podcast View the Podcast on YouTube Christine founded the Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery offering classes and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression. She is a Benedictine Oblate, poet,

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A Prayer of Encircling with the Love of Thousands

Thank you again for all the kindness on my health post the other day. I was really touched and there is something so healing about being seen and loved in the midst of vulnerability. I’ve had more health struggles even in the days since I posted, so am grateful to be lifted up by your prayers and blessings. We are starting our Love of Thousands companion retreat on Monday (a 14 week journey and deep dive through my book) so I was pondering the many ways I call upon the invisible ones and sacred presences for healing. Certainly there is

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Susan Blagden

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Susan Blagden’s contemplative photographs and poems inspired by the work of Thomas Merton. As a contemplative photographer, coach and priest, I seek to live my days in a contemplative way.  For me, this means paying attention to my external world in a way that often makes surprising connections with my inner world.  My daily contemplative walk, complete with camera, invites me to be responsive rather than grasping.  My reading on this particular morning had included a short extract of Merton’s

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Monk in the World Guest Post: Amy Oden

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Amy Oden’s reflection on the power of the contemplative stance during a time of disorientation. It hit me first in my stomach, a gut punch I was not braced for: news that I would no longer be needed to teach a load of courses that I had, in one way or another, taught for almost 35 years.  On one level, I knew this time would come. In fact, it needed to come. It was healthy and in

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Litany of Guadalupe and the Story of Dance

Here at Abbey of the Arts we have a commitment to seeking out and uplifting a wide range of cultural expressions of artistry and Spirit.  Our culminating song/prayer dance on our Birthing the Holy CD/DVD features a tune composed by an indigenous Guatemalan composer, Tomás Pascual from the 17th Century.  This song was adapted by our dear friend, Laura Ash with bilingual lyrics she wrote to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It’s a beautiful blend of ancient and new devotions!  When we came to filming the dance/prayer, I found a gorgeous shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe here in the Northwest at

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Update to Our Online Learning Platform

On Tuesday, May 2nd  Ruzuku, our online retreat platform, will begin migrating our programs to their updated format. You will still have access to all of your material through the same link though the interface will look a little different. You can log in to your account at any time using the link at the top of Please email Melinda at if you have any questions. For technical support, please contact

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