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

Brother Lawrence, Friar of Love, and His Transforming Presence Practice

with Carmen Acevedo Butcher

Friday, June 13, 2025

4-6pm Ireland

11am-1pm Eastern

8-10am Pacific

Program Description

“Work gently and in love with God. Do all actions without being rash or rushed. What can please God more than if we leave all created things many times during the day to withdraw and rest in Love present within?” –Brother Lawrence

Love, as Brother Lawrence discovered, comes from an everyday friendship with God. After a mystical experience as a teenager, he experienced many painful, devastating twists and turns in his life. Then during a dark night of the soul, he learned how to have brief, ongoing conversations with Love. These brought him deep joy during his days spent flipping omelettes, peeling potatoes, and mending his brothers’ sandals.

His deep calm and his wise, compassionate responses to life’s hardships make this Discalced Carmelite friar a down-to-earth teacher of the practice of the presence prayer. He developed this simple returning to Love during years of severe anxiety. His experiences inspire us to look for and follow the grain in our own wood, as Howard Thurman wrote. Brother Lawrence’s conversations with Love brought him “unspeakable joy” and a new way of seeing that is beyond a rigid this-or-that perspective. How can we make this joyful presence prayer a part of our own lives? How do we fit presence into our busy days?

Join us on June 13th. We will consider these questions through close readings, chanting, guided meditation, and journaling from writing prompts, exploring ways to bring the down-to-earth practice of the presence into our ordinary days. Recognizing that so many of the issues of Brother Lawrence’s time mirror our own, we will also discuss how the friar’s work helps us live in touch with Love’s wisdom, moment-by-moment, cultivating self-compassion, compassion for others, and peace within ourselves during the very real stresses of our world.

We will turn on closed captioning during the live Zoom session (which you are able to turn off in your settings if you find distracting) as well as provide a video recording with closed captioning available and a text transcript of the session.

The program will be recorded for those who pre-register but are unable to attend at the scheduled time or who want to view again. You will be sent a notification when this is ready to view.

You have lifetime access to all online programs.

Your Guide for the Journey


Carmen Acevedo Butcher

Carmen Acevedo Butcher, Ph.D., is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author, educator, poet, and translator of spiritual texts. Her Practice of the Presence: A Revolutionary Translation by Carmen Acevedo Butcher is the first to offer the complete teachings of Brother Lawrence, and is called “the new standard” by Martin Laird, O.S.A., Ph.D. Her Cloud of Unknowing translation received a 46th Georgia Author of the Year Award. Carmen holds degrees in medieval studies from the University of Georgia, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of London, and teaches at University of California, Berkeley in the College Writing Programs. She lives in the Bay Area, and is working on a chapbook of poetry. Visit Carmen online.


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We offer a sliding scale of 3 fees for payment. The reduced fee is for those who need financial assistance and the sponsorship fee helps support our ability to offer scholarships. In an effort to keep this program accessible, please carefully consider both your own resources as well as honoring the expense, time, and energy required to run these programs and keep our work sustainable. Thank you!

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Terms and Conditions

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