Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thomas Merton online "Novena Retreat" begins Monday, September 8

Hoping  for some prayerful and reflective time as the new season begins?

Interested in (re-)discovering a wise guide?

Busy but willing to devote 20 minutes a day to spiritual renewal?

Join us!

Thomas Merton: An Online Novena Retreat
September 8-15, 2014

Thomas Merton (Fr. Louis) was a Trappist monk, poet, spiritual teacher, hermit, and social critic. Merton wrote about prayer and monasticism, but also about war and peace, solitude, nature, suffering and joy, and community. He is probably the best-known monk and most influential Catholic writer of the 20th century.

What, when, where

* An online nine-day spiritual retreat, September 8-15, 2014, with the help of the writings of Thomas Merton (1915-1968).

* Simple and accessible:
one quote per day
one spiritual exercise per day
one prayer per day
* At home, in your daily life: read, meditate, and pray in a way that suits your schedule.

* You'll need 20 minutes a day of focused time and a computer or tablet with internet access.
* $50 if you register (pay online or mail a check, see below) by Friday, August 29.

$65 if you register from August 30 to September 8.

Some discounts are available for those in financial hardship. Talk to me.

* Spiritual refreshment, nurture, and challenge.

"Novena retreat" ?

A novena is a sequence of nine successive days of prayer–usually prayers of either petition or thanksgiving. It is generally a public and popular spiritual practice and is found most often in the Roman Catholic religious tradition.

I am using the word “novena,” meaning "nine days," as part of the description of this retreat to indicate that it is nine days long and involves daily meditation and prayer.
It is a new twist on the traditional novena.

Our novena retreat is ecumenical: Merton was a Roman Catholic and well rooted in his Catholicism and his (Trappist) monastic tradition, but he delved into Christian sources, biblical and historical, from before the great schisms of the 11th and 16th centuries. His writings are accessible to Christians of many backgrounds, East and West. They are also beloved by many from other religious traditions. Merton was a pioneer in interreligious conversation, especially Buddhist-Christian dialogue. This retreat is open to all and in that sense it is also interreligious, though it offers an explicitly Christian perspective in the writings of the 20th century's most famous Catholic monk.

This is a retreat, not a class. It is a learning experience, but not only that. There are readings, but they are very short and meant to be pondered and used as a springboard for prayer and action.

 An online retreat? How does that work?

* The retreat offers daily resources (the quotes, spiritual exercises,** and prayers mentioned above, with some images as well to nourish you visually) online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.
** These are invitations to reflection, action, meditation, journal-keeping (verbal or visual), and/or prayer which participants can use and adapt to their daily life and to their own spiritual practice.
* What's a closed blog? It's a blog like this, but it is not public: it is open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (that's me) has signed in. In other words, it is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. It is not "searchable": random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments.

* Once you register for the retreat, I will send instructions for the one-time-only sign-in mechanism. After that, the blog will always recognize you.


To register, write me, Jane Redmont, stating your intention to take the retreat, and make your payment.
Cost and payment

* $50 if you register by Friday, August 29.
You may also take advantage of this discount (even if you register after July 25) if you are unemployed or if you are a student or retiree on limited resources. If cost is still a hardship with this discount, please write me.
* $65 if you register between August 30 and September 8, the day the retreat begins.
It's best to register before September 8, but you are still welcome if you sign up at the 11th hour!
Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration, by check or online electronic payment.

If you prefer to pay by check, I will send you the mailing address when you write me to register.

If you prefer to pay online by credit card or PayPal, please click below to pay via the Redmont Retreats secure PayPal account. (Note: you don't have to have your own PayPal account to use this online payment method.

[The PayPal button is now fixed -- sorry for the glitch!]

Retreat fee (choose one)

Privacy and community

During the retreat, you can remain private and just read the blog and use the quotes, spiritual exercises, and prayers on your own.


If you are more extroverted and communal or in need of companions on your retreat, you can  share your thoughts, experiences, and questions via the comments function on the blog and engage in conversation with other retreatants and with the retreat facilitator.

Do you have questions or concerns after reading the retreat descriptions, here and on the linked pages? E-mail me.

* * * * * * * 
Jane Redmont is the author of When in Doubt, Sing: Prayer in Daily Life. She is a spiritual director, retreat leader, pastoral worker, writer, and theologian who has worked in  campus, urban, and parish ministries. An Episcopal Christian, she was also formed in the Catholic tradition and has Jewish and Unitarian Universalist family roots. She has been involved in work for social justice and ecumenical and interreligious relations all her life and has taught college, seminary, and graduate courses in Christian history, theology, spirituality, religious pluralism, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies.

Jane has been reading Merton for forty years, taught his work, and used his writings as a help to prayer and meditation both for herself and for others. She has led online retreats on Merton during Lent for the last two years.

Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama, 1968

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