St. Anthony and Desert Wisdom: Cultivating Love through Radical Simplicity and Solitude
with Christine Valters Paintner
Saturday, January 14, 2023
9am-12 pm Pacific
12-3 pm Eastern
5-8 pm Ireland/UK time
This retreat is part of our 10 month series The Mystical Heart: Love as a Creative Force.
In the second to fourth centuries, men and women fled the cities in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine to find solace and refuge in the desert. They sought a life of radical simplicity and solitude to help nourish an intimate and ongoing connection to the Holy One. Foremost among these desert elders was St. Anthony of the Desert, born around 250 A.D.
A new form of radical witness emerged which included fasting, ongoing prayer, and soul friendship in service of their devotion to Christ. St. Anthony was wealthy as a young man, but upon hearing the words of Jesus to the rich young man to “go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven,” he gave away what he owned to the poor and went to the desert to live as an ascetic. Eventually many sought him out for his guidance in the interior life.
We have a collection of Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers which contains the wisdom these monks left behind. In this retreat we will explore the path of the desert as modelled by St. Anthony and other monks, where they stripped away the distractions until they could focus fully on the sacred presence. This is a pathway to the fullness of love.
Join us three days before the feast of St. Anthony (January 17th). We will encounter these desert wisdom guides through teaching, their stories, breath prayer and other meditation practice, creative exploration through writing, gentle movement and song, and sharing in large and small groups.
Simon de Voil will provide music for our retreat.
The retreat will be recorded for those who register and made available within 48-72 hours of the program. A notification will be sent when it is ready for viewing.
Your Guides for the Journey
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE is the online Abbess for Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery and global community integrating contemplative practice and creative expression. Her programs draw on the wisdom of the desert, Celtic, and Benedictine spiritual traditions as well as the joy of the expressive arts, embodied practice, and Earth-cherishing wisdom. Christine is the author of numerous books on spirituality and creativity, including three collections of poetry. She lives on the west coast of Ireland with her husband John and dog Sourney. Find out more about her here.
Simon de Voil
Rev. Simon Ruth de Voil is an interfaith-interspiritual minister, sacred musician, spiritual counsellor, and chaplain. His sacred work—both musical and interpersonal—explores themes of the inner landscape of the soul, the enchantment of the natural world, and the healing power of spiritual practice. As a chaplain and counsellor, Simon helps individuals and groups connect sacred presence with everyday life. Simon is also a transgender activist and a luthier in training. Visit Simon’s website.
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