We are delighted you want to get in touch and welcome your communication!
We just ask that due to the large number of emails we receive and our limited admin capacity, that you please read over the FAQs at the bottom of this page first to see if your inquiry is answered below:
If you have any other questions, please get in touch with us via email DancingMonk AT AbbeyoftheArts.com (replace AT with @ and remove spaces) or use the form below.
To maintain a contemplative rhythm and balance in our lives, we try to stay off email on the weekends. On the other days we generally reply within 24-48 hours. If you don't hear anything back within 3 days please feel free to submit your request again in case it got lost in the ether or accidentally deleted.
Frequently Asked Questions
[expand What do I do if I am having issues with the online learning platform Ruzuku?]
If your concern has to do with accessing your online retreats or any other issue related to the learning platform we use, please contact their customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org. They generally respond within a few hours. If you simply need to find the link for your retreat use this web page to log in (there is a password reset button as well if you have forgotten).
[expand How do I sign up for your email newsletter?]
Please use the form at this page to subscribe to our newsletter. You can choose daily, weekly, or monthly communication.
[expand How do I add myself to the waiting list for a live program that is marked full?]
Send us a message using the form above. You will receive an auto-reply which confirms that we have received your request and will be in touch if a space opens.
[expand What currency are your prices in?]
Currently our online programs are listed in U.S. dollars $ and our live retreats and pilgrimages are listed in Euros €. When you pay by credit card your bank will automatically convert the cost to your own currency. Some credit cards charge small foreign transaction fees.
[expand What is the cost of one of your live programs in my own currency?]
Currency exchange rates do fluctuate, please check a website like xe.com for the most current rates.
[expand How do I let the Abbey know how much their programs and resources mean to me?]
We would love to hear from you. Christine will be forwarded all love notes and although she may not be able to reply to every one, she cherishes each of them.
[expand How do I request individual discernment, mentoring, or other spiritual direction?]
Christine is not taking on new clients for spiritual direction at this time and is unable to respond to requests for individual guidance. Please check our Wisdom Council page where many of our members are available for spiritual direction by Skype or phone for a fee.
[expand I want to travel to Ireland on my own, can you offer me travel advice?]
Due to the large numbers of these requests, we are unable to offer any travel advice for Ireland (or Austria, Scotland, Germany) except to those who are registered for our live retreats and pilgrimages. We thank you for understanding.
[expand I have a question about whether one of your live programs is right for me?]
Please get in touch with us and your inquiry and we would be happy to help you discern. We want people to make wise and informed choices before making a financial commitment.
[expand Is Abbey of the Arts affiliated with any church or institution?]
We are not affiliated with any particular institution and open our doors to people from any denomination or none at all. We strive to create a place of welcome and hospitality where we might dialogue with one another and grow. Our own spirituality is shaped very much by the rich Catholic mystical tradition, and we also treasure being catholic, that is universal, in our outreach.
[expand What is your refund policy?]
Please consider carefully your selection prior to registering as there are no refunds for online classes similar to a transaction you would make to purchase a digital album or book or a consultation with a professional. There are no exceptions to this policy. We have discerned this as the best way to keep our work sustainable.
We have this strict policy in place to reduce the heavy burden of administration as we do not have enough support to handle this and thank you for your understanding and support for helping the Abbey to thrive. If you become ill and cannot participate, please know the online materials stay available to you for indefinitely, so you can always return to them at a later time. This is one of the gifts of the online format.
Live programs all have nonrefundable deposits to hold your space. Once the final payment due date has passed the entire payment is no longer refundable either. Please purchase trip cancellation insurance for retreats or pilgrimages to cover yourself in case of an emergency. This is a requirement for your participation.
To get to know more about the Abbey's approach there are many free or low-cost ways to find out more about what we do: read the Abbey blog, subscribe to the Abbey email newsletter, or purchase one of Christine's books. If you already feel a kinship to the Abbey's approach to the spiritual life and are willing to invest your time and energy in the practices suggested by the online courses, the journey will be a transformative one. We always welcome constructive feedback on any of our classes or offerings.
[expand What is your transfer policy?]
If the class is in a online community/discussion-based format you may transfer your payment to another program up to one week prior to the course starting date. Within one week of the class start date we are unable to transfer you to a later date. (Please note this applies only to scheduled community online classes which have not started, all other online classes including self-study programs and live classes have different policies ).
We cannot transfer enrollment for self-study classes as you receive all of the materials upon registration.
For live programs, we can only transfer enrollment if we are able to fill your space. Please keep in mind that you will be asked to pay the deposit again, and then your initial deposit will be deducted from your final payment.
[expand What forms of payment do you accept?]
Currently we accept payment by credit card through Paypal (our online classes also process credit cards through a credit card processor called Stripe). We do not have the capability to take your credit card number by phone. If credit card payment is not possible, we do accept checks either in US$ or in Euros. Please contact us for the payment address. We can also accept bank transfers and payment in Euros if preferred.
[expand What do I need to participate in an online class?]
A computer which allows you to download PDF and audio files (MP3s), listen to audio (or an MP3 player), view videos (usually posted to a private YouTube link), an email account for the notifications, and a commitment to your spiritual journey. Unlike in-person classes, online learning requires more self-motivation because there is less accountability. In discussion-based classes the community formed in online forums is very real and can transcend the barriers of time and space. There is never an obligation to share in the online forums if you prefer a more private retreat experience.
Refunds are not given for technological challenges, but our course learning platform Ruzuku does have great support for participants. You can contact them at email@example.com. If you are able to navigate websites, receive email, listen to recordings, and stream videos on YouTube you should have what you need. Please note that we are not able to provide individual technical advice beyond what the support team at Ruzuku can offer.
For those classes which are self-study and not discussion-based, we encourage you to meet regularly with a soul friend, a spiritual director, or a small faith group to share the journey of discovery together.
[expand Is there financial assistance available?]
Abbey of the Arts is committed to making our online programs financially accessible. We have limited funds to assist those experiencing economic hardship and supporting people in ministry to those on the margins.
Please email us to inquire about the possibility of financial assistance for one of the online class offerings.
Include the following information:
- who you are and a brief description of your background
- which class you would like to take and your specific interest in the subject
- what other financial resources you will be drawing upon to support your participation (these might include churches, other scholarship programs, work funds for continuing education)
- what specific scholarship amount you are requesting.
Registration in an online class/retreat entitles you to hold one copy of the material for your own personal use. Please do not share the password with anyone who has not made a payment for their own access to the materials.
All of the online retreats have group registration discounts when you gather 3 or more persons together to participate. Please contact us if you would like to register a group.
[expand Can I use your material in teaching?]
We encourage book groups to form to discuss Christine's books. For any other materials please include attribution. Please contact us for more information and to request permission for use of any materials beyond what would be considered fair use.
[expand How long is the course material available?]
All of our online courses and retreats have "lifetime" access, meaning there is no time limit for you to complete the program.
[expand Who can participate in Abbey online classes?]
Anyone who has a longing to commit to deep inner work and is able to access the materials in their online format. Many of the class participants are artists, ministers, spiritual directors, and others involved in soul care or creative pursuits, but anyone is welcome who feels a sense of resonance with the class descriptions and a longing for deepened contemplative and creative practice.
[expand What do I need to begin?]
An open heart and a spirit committed to regular practice. Just like any spiritual path, what the Abbey offers only has effect when integrated into your life which takes some discipline and commitment. Be gentle with yourself however and remember St. Benedict’s advice to always begin again.
[expand I registered for an online class but haven't received any information yet!]
Please check your spam folder. After you submit your payment an automatic confirmation is sent out from Ruzuku for your class (this is in addition to a payment receipt from Paypal or Stripe).
[expand Can I send the Abbey something for review?]
Please note that due to the high number of requests we receive, in general the answer is no unless you have a long-standing connection to the Abbey and Christine through participation in programs, and even then, we have very limited time to give to other projects.
[expand Can I link to Abbey of the Arts from my own website or blog?]
We are always deeply honored when you share this work with others. Thank you for all of your support.
[expand Why does the Abbey charge for its programs?]
We occasionally get questions asking about the way we decide how much to charge for Abbey offerings. Some folks believe that spiritual direction and spiritual resources should always be offered for free. Money can bring up lots of issues and conflicts for folks, especially when it comes to ministry.
Program fees are based on the length of the program, administrative costs, and whether it is limited enrollment (where you get more focused attention from Christine and/or other facilitators.)
1. This is our full-time work
We feel deeply blessed to be able to do what we love for a living. While being self-employed brings a great deal of freedom, it also means paying for our own retirement fund, health insurance, and vacation/sick days in addition to all of the daily expenses of life (we live quite simply in the monastic way) and the many administrative expenses associated with running a website like this one, in addition to simply keeping up with email correspondence and writing blog posts and newsletters.
2. A fee brings sustainability
For many years we worked in full or part-time jobs in addition to building this work. It was exhausting. Christine did it for the love of it, but it was not sustainable long-term to work in this way. Everyone needs a balance of work and leisure, time for Sabbath and silence, especially a monk in the world! If we are to maintain our integrity as leaders of a spiritual community, we will not allow ourselves to be stretched thin.
3. A fee supports ongoing education
We have many years of very fine education. Christine is grateful for the opportunity to complete a PhD program, and John a Masters degree, both in theology, but it was not without significant financial cost. We also believe in the need for continuing education for anyone in ministry. Christine meets with a spiritual director and a supervisor regularly to maintain her own openness and transparency in this work and continue in her growth. These commitments always nourish the programs she is able to offer.
4. A fee brings clarity
Charging for programs brings clarity to our relationship. When you come to a program we lead, you know that our attention is devoted to your enrichment and formation. You don't have to wonder if we are expecting something in return for our time.
5. Money is a way of expressing what you value
When you pay for something, you must keep re-evaluating whether it is worth the expense to you. Payment is a reminder that there is an exchange of energy happening. We are devoting our time to creating quality programs and you are devoting your time to practice.
[expand Are your book title links to Amazon affiliate links?]
Yes, the Abbey earns a very small percentage of the amount of your Amazon order when you use these links at no extra cost to you. The funds received from this go directly to fund scholarships to Abbey programs. We greatly appreciate your support in this simple way.
We also encourage folks to support their local booksellers and order Christine's books there.
[expand What is your mailing address?]
Ireland Mailing Address:
Christine & John Paintner
Abbey of the Arts
Atlanta House #22
36 Dominick St Lower
Republic of Ireland