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Exile and Coming Home

An Archetypal Journey through the Scriptures

Registration Fee: $150 USD

Program Description

The scriptures can seem foreign and out of date to modern readers. The Bible is often ignored, misused, or abused even by those who claim it as their own sacred text. And yet, beneath all its modern baggage, it holds great sacred truths. Only through careful reading and reflection can we find a deeper kinship with our spiritual ancestors. It is time to put aside what we think we know and read again with fresh eyes what the scriptures have to teach us.

This six-week course will explore the universal experiences of exile and return home again through personal reflection on the stories of several Biblical figures and Psalms. These offer invitations into different archetypal themes of what it means to live meaningfully as a contemplative and creative person in the world. How might these potent stories and ancient prayers from the Hebrew Scriptures deepen our journey into becoming monks in the world and artists of everyday life?

Each week we will explore a different theme which break open the great archetypal themes of exile and coming home at the heart of the scriptures, a male and female voice from scripture, and a Psalm which deepens our understanding of the theme, connecting our prayers to the great lineage of monastic tradition.

The course includes reflections by John Valters Paintner, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, and Ronna Detrick whose passions are the wisdom of the Scriptures for our world today, as well as nine Psalm-based songs by Richard. Roy DeLeon will be inviting you into a gentle movement prayer for the week’s psalm, to explore its meaning in an embodied way.

Each week you will be invited into reading, questions to ponder, the practice of lectio divina, and creative invitations through movement prayer.

Do you long for ways to enter more mindfully into this holy time of year?  Are there stories you would like to remember and honor?

What's Included

Day 1: Reflection by John Valters Paintner

Day 2: Reflection by Ronna Detrick

Day 3: Reflection by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (with songs included)

Day 4: Body Prayer by Roy DeLeon

Day 5: Closing Reflection by John Valters Paintner

Days 6 and 7 are a time for Sabbath rest and integration.

The materials are mainly in written format, with the weekly song as an mp3 download, and Roy’s body prayers in video format with streaming available. You have forever access to the materials in the course and can move through the lessons at your own pace.

Weekly Themes

The Gates We Enter, The Thresholds We Cross

All stories have gates that the reader enters alongside the protagonist. The gate leads to a threshold that once crossed, initiates a series of challenges and invitations for the protagonist and for us. We find the Selkie within us.

Week 1: The Angry One

Amos, Hagar, and Psalm 109

Week 1: The Angry One

Several Biblical figures teach us that feeling anger is sometimes the right emotional response to a situation. But what do we do with that righteous anger?

Week 2: The Contemplative One

Hosea, Mary (of Martha),
and Psalm 87

Week 2: The Contemplative One

When faced with a difficult situation, the temptation can be to look away or ignore it. But scripture gives us example of the importance of deep, personal reflection.

Week 3: The Silent One

Ezekiel, Jepthah's Daughter, and Psalm 62

Week 3: The Silent One

Words often fail us. And sometimes, not saying anything can be the most profound statement there is.

Week 4: The Hopeful One

Ezekiel, Hannah, and Psalm 27

Week 4: The Hopeful One

It’s been said that one should never take hope away from another, as it may be the only thing they have left.

Week 5: The Dedicated One

Ezra, The Woman who Anointed Jesus' Feet, and Psalm 101

Week 5: The Dedicated One

In a world increasingly filled with distractions, the power to focus and dedicate one’s self to a single task is all the more necessary.

Week 6: The Active One

Nehemiah, Eve, and Psalm 15

Week 6: The Active One

Just as action without contemplation can be foolish, contemplation without action can be meaningless.

Your Guides for the Journey

John headshot 2

John Valters Paintner, MTS

John studied education and earned a teaching certificate in his home state of California.  John later went on to earn a Masters in Theological Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.  After working in parish ministry for several years, John returned to the classroom, teaching high school religion with a focus on the Hebrew Scriptures for twelve years.  After a sabbatical year abroad, John now works as Prior of the Abbey of the Arts along side his wife of twenty years, Abbess Christine, living together in Galway, Ireland. Visit the “About John” page for more information.

Richard Bruxvoort Colligan - web

Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, MA

Richard is a freelancing Psalmist– studying, teaching and singing the Psalms. Besides his passion for music and spirituality, he also enjoys dumb jokes, Star Wars, blue, mango lassi, naps and the Beatles. He completed his M.A. in Theology and the Arts from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and brings his gifts as a liturgical theologian, spiritual director, worship leader and music publisher. He lives with his wife Trish and son Sam in Strawberry Point, Iowa.  Be welcome at and

Ronna Detrick

Ronna Detrick, MDiv

Ronna confesses that she is completely intoxicated with women’s stories (particularly those in Scripture). She believes the world is praying for a deeper, richer wisdom: a prayer answered swiftly and powerfully through women’s incarnate brilliance and beauty. Ronna is writing a book that re-tells the ancient, sacred narratives of women in empowered, relevant ways; inviting their stories to be seen as powerful archetypes that still speak today. Visit her website here.

Roy DeLeon

Roy Deleon

Roy is an oblate of St Benedict with St Placid Priory in Lacey, WA. He facilitates workshops and retreats on expressive prayer and yoga. He works as a graphic designer and illustrator. In 2009, Paraclete Press published Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life. He has conducted numerous workshops at the L.A. Religious Congress. 

Praise for the Course

It's Easter Monday and I am sad to see the end of this Creative Flourishing retreat, but oh so grateful for the multi-layered experience. I made the decision to take this journey at the last minute, but with great conviction it would deepen my Christian life. I had no idea what it would be like. It was like nothing I have experienced before. Thank you to Christine for originating the idea and doing such a thoughtful and tender job of guiding us through this journey. My deepest joy was to reconnect with the artist within me. The art literally flowed from me. Like living water. A well-spring fed by Christ himself.
Laurie Wagner
I'll be stepping into the season of Easter and spring with more ease, joy and awake from having prayed with, reflected on, moved with and daily witnessing of the mandalas during the past five and one half weeks. Thank you Christine for your vision, knowledge, design and guidance throughout this Lenten season; Hildegard of Bingen is now a living Saint for me. Betsey, i've become more embodied, through participating in your interpretations of Hildegard in dance and chant. This spiritual community has filled my heart with divine blessings. I will pass these blessings on.
Beatrice Randall
I'm so grateful for this retreat. It has been the most amazing experience of learning and growth, spiritually, artistically, and emotionally. Most of which I was not expecting when I signed up. Christine, I want to thank you again for this amazing Lent retreat. It was a joy, honor and privilege to attend. This has been an experience I won't soon forget. I've learned so much about myself and this process of healing through artistic expression. I look forward to doing more with you
Tamara Mapp
Thank you, Christine, for the best retreat I've ever experienced. I'm hooked on Hildegard! She will ever be part of my spirituality as she has added both depth and richness to my faith.
Evelyn Jackson
Sincere and grateful thanks for this marvelous retreat. Your guidance and song will live in my heart. Hildegard's presence has been a source of light and love. Your ministry is much appreciated. We are greener!
Mary Mason
This has been a very rich retreat. I have loved creating, singing, breathing, moving, reading and praying with you. Thank you.
Judith Bryan
My heart is so full. This has been the best retreat in my life.
Louise Thigpen


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