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

Hosted by Holy Wisdom Monastery

Saturday-Sunday, May 15-16, 2021

Includes four 2-hour sessions

Both days 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. (U.S. Central time)

with two-hour break between morning and afternoon sessions

Join us for this two-day live, virtual retreat where we will explore the gift of Earth as our original monastery and the wisdom of wild grace.

In these days of climate crisis and global pandemic, how might we grow in intimacy with the elements and creatures? How might we listen more closely to Earth’s wisdom for us?

During this weekend retreat we will explore spiritual practices which help us to cultivate an Earth-cherishing consciousness and to fall more deeply in love with creation. We will tend to both the outer and inner wild.

Sessions will include presentations, reflections, song, meditations, poetry, creative exercises and explorations, gentle movement, small group and large group sharing, guidance for time outside in between sessions, and time for questions and input.

The retreat materials will be drawn primarily from Christine’s two newest books – Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude Through Intimacy with Nature (Ave Maria Press, 2020) and her second collection of poems, The Wisdom of Wild Grace (Paraclete Press, 2020). At the core of this collection are poems inspired by stories of kinship between saints and animals. They come mostly from the early Christian desert and Celtic traditions, but also feature later medieval saints like Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Julian of Norwich. 

Session 1: Earth as Sanctuary Space

Saturday, May 15, 2021 09:00-11:00 AM Central Time

Session 2: Saint and Animals Stories

Saturday, May 15, 2021 1:00-3:00 PM Central Time

Session 3: Holding Space for Lament and Grief

Sunday, May 16, 2021 09:00-11:00 AM Central Time

Please bring a candle to this session

Session 4: The Practice of Paradise

Sunday, May 16, 2021 1:00-3:00 PM Central Time

Please bring a small nature object to this session

All 4 sessions will include a combination of teaching, meditation, poetry, song, gentle movement, and writing explorations. The afternoon sessions will also have a chance for conversations in small breakout groups.

During the two-hour break between the sessions each day you are encouraged to spend some of the time outdoors. A gentle focus will be offered. This time is really to step away from the computer and nourish yourself in whatever way your body needs.

Registration fee: $60 (This retreat is being offered at reduced cost thanks to a generous contribution from the Ayer Enrichment Fund.)

All sessions will be recorded and made available for later viewing by Holy Wisdom Monastery. Please contact them directly for any questions regarding fees or registration.

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About Christine

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE is the founder and director of, a virtual monastery and global community exploring contemplative practice, creative expression, and ways to nourish an earth-cherishing consciousness. She is a poet, spiritual director, teacher, pilgrimage guide, and author of 15 books on spirituality and the arts including two collections of poetry. She is a Benedictine oblate and has a great love for the Christian monastic and mystical tradition and teaching their wisdom to others. Visit the “About Christine” page for more information.

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