Friday, April 5, 2013

Kicking Back (Friday Five)

Pat is way out west in one of my favorite places, the Tetons, asking about our plans for Easter Sabbaths.  Only ten more days! . . .  and I am off to the Wernersville Jesuit Center west of Philly for a week-plus silent retreat.  This will be a bit different than the past few times I've been there; I'll be between regularly scheduled retreats, so there won't be the usual forty or so people eating in silence and wandering around in solitude together.  I have no idea who will be there, but people do pop in and out for a day or a few days at a time.  Given this year's cold, I don't suppose that the grounds will have burst into bloom yet (I took the photo last April), but it will still be wonderful to settle into my small room in a massive building in which silence is the first language.
Another difference: I'll be making a retreat within a retreat, as Marty Laird, O.S.A, will be presenting a retreat over the week-end.  Here's the description:
INTO A SILENT LAND: A Contemplative Prayer Intensive
April 19-21, 2013
Martin Laird, O.S.A.
This silent retreat will feature sitting in silent prayer together as a way to affirm and deepen the life of contemplative prayer which most of us practice alone in the course of our daily lives.   Apart from times dedicated to sitting in silence together, Martin Laird will focus his conferences on some of the noble failures and encouraging defeats that we all face, like all the saints and sages, as we release into the God who is already shining out our eyes.  While praying and eating together in silence will keynote this retreat, there will also be time for solitary prayer and walks in nature.
Martin Laird, O.S.A., Ph.D., has studied Early Church thought and spirituality in Rome, London, and Oxford.  Since 1998 he has taught at Villanova University.  He is the translator or author of numerous books and articles, including two highly acclaimed books on the practice of contemplation:  Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness and Contemplation (each from Oxford University Press). For many years he has lectured and led retreats throughout the United States, Ireland, and Great Britain.
Michelle and I spent some time awhile ago writing back and forth about Into the Silent Land (the posts are linked in the bar above).  I am SO excited for this opportunity to sink into even deeper silence and to learn and pray with a group of similarly-inclined folks.
Now, if everything at church remains on an even keel for the next ten days . . .       . 


  1. Look forward to what your experience of a retreat within a retreat is. It doesn't matter what part of the month I take off...there is always something looming on the calendar when I return...a session meeting...a newsletter...a bulletin/ visits.

  2. Oh Robin... our schedules are hopeless! I will be at Oberlin when you're at Wernersville, seeing Joan in her first non-musical role there (about which she is very excited). But I am SO glad you will have that time.

    I am on my way tomorrow to Montreat, for the immersion course for Columbia Seminary's certificate program in Spiritual Formation. And have I finished the reading? I have not. I so want to find a spiritual practice that is not sporadic, and am hoping this will help, and that whatever I gain will spill over into the congregation.

    My dad is failing. At 91-1/2 it is to be expected, but sad all the same. It is wonderful to be with my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew.

    Blessings on your soon-Sabbath.

    1. Oh, I am sorry! I would have loved to come over to see her in her show.

      Have a wonderful time at Montreat. Soak it all up, reading finished or not. Continued prayer for your dad.

  3. I've read Martin Laird's books thanks to your blog. Very envious of your opportunity!!!

    1. I have to admit, A Sunlit Absence was a tough go for me. But maybe I will have something insightful to report when I return!