Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Yearning World: Advent Awakenings with Dorothy Day

As we have for the past half-dozen years, we are offering an Advent online retreat.

Some of you may have taken live or online retreats inspired by Dorothy Day in years past, but we have never reflected on her life, prayer, and practice through the lens of Advent. This is our opportunity to do so.

Advent is a season of waiting and hoping. It is also a season of turmoil, of yearning, even of fear.

There is gentleness and quiet in Advent, but there is also trepidation.

This is a season of prophecy, of warning, a season of learning to cast a new gaze on this old world. What does the future hold, in the long and short term? How can we live in a broken world? How can we who are so small make a difference in a world whose suffering is so great?

In Advent, we look toward the celebration of the Nativity --Christmas-- and also toward the end of time, toward completion, toward a time we can only imagine.

What can Dorothy Day teach not only her fellow Catholics, but Christians of all stripes? 

What can she teach all of us?

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) is best known as the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, an anarchist, pacifist, lay Catholic Christian movement, and founder and editor of the newspaper by the same name. Journalist, activist, mother, speaker, she was also a person of prayer whose Roman Catholic religious observance cannot be separated from her work for social and economic justice and peace or from what Christian tradition calls “the works of mercy.”

Click here for an informative essay on Dorothy Day if you want to know more.

This retreat lasts from the first Sunday in Advent (but you can start on Monday if your Sunday is already full) to Christmas Eve: from December 2 to December 24.

Every week will feature two three-part offerings.

Each three-part offering includes a passage from the writings of Dorothy Day, a spiritual exercise related to the reading or its theme for you to practice, and a prayer.

The twice-weekly offerings will come to you on Sundays and Wednesdays, but you can meditate on them and practice the spiritual exercises at other times if you prefer. It will be more fruitful if you keep to the twice-a-week rhythm, but you can focus on the retreat material on Mondays and Thursdays,, for example, or stretch it out for half a week.

An online retreat? Really?

The retreat offers its  resources (short readings or words of wisdom, pictures, spiritual exercises, prayers, and the occasional bonus piece of Advent music) online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.
What's a closed blog? It's a blog like this one, 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.
This format of the retreat is ideal if you are a busy person or if you are geographically isolated from retreat centers or other spiritual resources. The retreat requires only 15 to 30 minutes twice a week, at a minimum. You may, of course, devote more time than that to the retreat or divide up your "twice a week" time. Even a short time on a regular basis can be refreshing and beneficial. What matters is faithfulness, even in small doses.

It doesn't matter whether you are a night owl or and early riser. The retreat has a structure and a schedule, but is flexible enough to integrate into your daily life. You can take part in it from home, on a break from work, in a coffee shop, on vacation, anywhere you have a computer or a tablet and some intentional time apart: read, reflect, meditate, and pray with the retreat materials in a way that suits your schedule.

The material will be there on the retreat blog, waiting for you, every Sunday and Wednesday of Advent.
I will be available (in writing, with answers within 24 hours at most, or by phone or Skype (by appointment) to have one or more conversations with you about how you individually can get the most benefit from this retreat and fit it into your life during this often busy month of December. You will have independence, but also personalized support if you wish.
Once you register for the retreat (see below), I will send instructions for the sign-in mechanism. After you first sign on to the retreat blog, the blog will always recognize you when you visit it.


You can register via the PayPal secure link below, which takes credit and debit cards in addition to PayPal. (It will NOT show me your credit card number.)

You don't have to have your own PayPal account to use this online payment method. (If you prefer paying by check, please e-mail me.)

Some discounts and scholarships are available for those in financial hardship. If you are too broke for the discount rate in the drop-down menu below, write me.

The benefactor rate helps offset costs and makes scholarship aid and discounts possible.

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

Register here!

Retreat fee (choose one)

Questions? Write me, Jane Redmont, at

Cesar Chavez, Coretta Scott King, and Dorothy Day
"... love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.”--One of Dorothy Day's favorite sayings, from the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky

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