Do you enjoy silence? My spirit is happier when I have the chance to immerse myself in the quiet of a prayerful place. This week I was on silent retreat at Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia, about an hour’s drive from my home. I used to come here regularly -- during the decade I served … [Read more...] about Silence & Snow
Where do you go to restore your soul? For me, spring always brings a bit of restlessness. On an unseasonably warm day last week, I drove out to Holy Cross Abbey to restore my soul. It's where I often go on writing retreats. I emailed Brother James that morning and he responded that he'd have time … [Read more...] about Green Pastures
I just spent 3 days in silence at Holy Cross Abbey. Each day I walked about 3 miles, spent time reading, ate my meals in silence with other retreatants, and ended the day by attending Compline, the monk's final prayer service of the day. I like to go on silent retreat twice a year. Other ministers … [Read more...] about Re-Entry
I was at Holy Cross Abbey all week. It is the best place on earth for me to get writing done. It is beautiful, silent, full of cows, and prayer. There is no internet, no cooking or laundry to do, the only contact with the outside world is if there's an emergency. There are prayer services 5 times a … [Read more...] about Writing at the Monastery in Silence
I just spent 4 days in silence at the monastery, it was really wonderful. I read a good novel, enjoyed peaceful sleep, went on a lot of cold windy walks along the Shenandoah River, saw an eagle's nest, found a dead possum, saw the reddest cardinal I have ever seen, talked to some cows, cried over … [Read more...] about Progress and Perfection: a view from the monastery
Last night I dreamt I went to the monastery again. It seemed to me I stood outside the brick pillars that mark the drive and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me.* You clear your desk on a Monday morning, and pack lightly. You drive toward Berryville, Virginia and wonder if … [Read more...] about Silence, Please!
I come to the Abbey for silence, and I am overdue for a big slice of the stuff. My week of retreat began on Monday afternoon and will conclude on Friday morning. That's four precious nights, and I know they will race by. But the beauty of the Abbey is that nothing seems to race, not in the moment. … [Read more...] about On Silence
I was on silent retreat at a monastery last week. Each evening I would check in with my husband via cell phone as I walked to the chapel for Compline, which is the closing prayer service of the day, at 7:30. One evening as I walked through the silent dusk, my husband excitedly told me that he had … [Read more...] about KISS
Into Great Silence is a movie about a monastery in Chartreuse, France, in the Carthusian order. As the title suggests, the movie has no soundtrack, and simply follows the white-robed monks through the daily activities of their contemplative lives, which include long stretches of silence. The … [Read more...] about Into Great Silence, a movie review
I heard Kathleen Norris talk about "acedia" at the Festival of Faith & Writing. Acedia is an ancient term for a sin which can be defined as apathy, or boredom, or more precisely, "why bother." She quoted some very profound writers on the subject. It seems that in the 4th century acedia was a … [Read more...] about Got Acedia? Who cares.