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Stretching of the Heart: A Celtic Mini-Retreat on St. Columba

with Christine Valters Paintner, Simon de Voil, and Kenneth Steven

Friday, June 7, 2024

4-6pm Ireland

11am-1pm Eastern

8-10am Pacific

Program Description

St. Columba (or Columcille as he is known in Ireland) is most famous for founding several monastic communities, including on Iona, an island that continues to be a vibrant pilgrimage destination.

Join us two days before his feast day to reflect on the Celtic call to pilgrimage, which includes leaving behind what is known and loved and the grief that evokes, for the promise of new adventures. We will dwell in that liminal space of in-between, where we contemplate what shores we need to push off from and the ways the currents of love are drawing us onward.

Through teaching, meditation, poetry, and music, we will weave together an experience of walking the threshold of our own lives through the guidance of St. Columba’s wisdom for us.

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 after the event 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 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 playing guitar

Simon de Voil

Reverend 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 here.


Kenneth Steven

Kenneth Steven is best-known as a poet, though he’s also a writer of fiction for adults and children alike. His latest book of poems from Canterbury Press in London is Seeing the Light. Kenneth and his wife Kristina live in Argyll in Scotland, not far from the Isle of Iona. They lead a Celtic Christian retreat there each October. Kenneth offers the monthly podcast Imagining Things on Celtic wisdom, hope in a dark time, and his profound love of wild creation. Visit Kenneth’s website and Patreon page.  


Your registration constitutes an agreement with our online program Terms and Conditions below.

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. Read about our commitment to Financial Access here. Thank you!

If you are in need of additional financial assistance please fill out our Scholarship Request form. 

Please be careful to enter your correct email address when you register. 
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If you need a different payment plan or a greater scholarship to make this program accessible, please get in touch with us.


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Terms and Conditions

Please consider your purchase carefully and review the many free materials we have on our website to make sure the program will be a good fit or get in touch with any questions.

We ask that you honor our work by not sharing the program materials with others who are not enrolled.

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If you choose a payment plan and stop payment before fulfilling the commitment without contacting us to make other arrangements, your access to the program will be removed.