August 2018


A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: Reflections on Twelve-Step Spirituality
Friday, August 10 - Sunday, August 12, 2018

This retreat is designed for members of 12-step fellowships and for anyone interested in its universal principles for spiritual living. Fr. Francis will begin his reflections as usual with his foundational premises on the spiritual life as they interface with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. His particular emphasis will be steps 1-3. In each one of our lives, we experience powerlessness, aspects of ourselves and our relationships which are unmanageable. In such situations, we can hopefully discover our need to reach out to 'a Power greater than ourselves' to 'restore us to sanity': a new life of sobriety, grace, and balance. This Higher Power is seen as an unconditionally loving God whose will intends our best good. This 'knowledge' helps us to make the 'decision to turn our will and our lives' over to God. N.B.: There will be a 12-step meeting during the weekend for those who are members of any fellowship following the 12 steps.

Presenter: Fr. Francis Benedict, OSB
Room, board, and tuition: $250 single / $200 each shared

Fr. Francis Benedict has been a monk of Valyermo since 1967. He earned an MA in Philosophy from Loyola-Marymount University and an MS in Theology from Mt. Angel in Oregon. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He served as the Abbey's abbot for 16 years. His special areas of ministry include spiritual direction, preaching retreats, and working with 12-step recovery groups. In addition to many responsibilities at the Abbey, he now serves as the Director of Oblates.


CANCELLED WOMEN MYSTICS: Hildegard of Bingen, Lady Julia, Teresa of Avila
Saturday, August 11, 2018 9:00a.m-3:30p.m.

This day retreat will begin with a brief overview of mysticism and introduce the participants to three women whose lives are examples of the mystic way.

Hildegard of Bingen: Born in 1098, she has become one of the most famous mystics of the age. At a time when very few women were literate and held status, Hildegard wrote over 300 letters and was widely respected for her mystical visions, medical knowledge, and musical compositions. In 2012, Pope Benedict named her "Doctor of the Church."

Dame Julian of Norwich: Little is known of her life, except for what is contained in her great work, "Revelations of Divine Love." Written in 1395, it is believed to be the earliest serving book written in the English language by a woman. Although she minimizes herself due to a lack of education, her divinely inspired writings are full of deep theological truths and profound encouragement.

St. Teresa of Avila: Teresa lived in the 16th century and was a contemporary of St. John of the Cross. She was a mystic, contemplative, and monastic reformer. In 1970, she was among the first women to be given the title "Doctor of the Church." This honor was due in large part to her exceptional work, "Interior Castle" withholds deep truths for those who desire Spiritual growth and union with God.

We're planning an easy, relaxed day of discoveries into this often-neglected area of our faith!

Presenter: Lisa Marion, Obl. OSB
Donation: $40 per person; includes tuition, morning beverages, and lunch after Mass.

Lisa Marion is an oblate of Valyermo and Spiritual Director in Orange County. An energetic leader she has over 25 years of pastoral experience ministering to people of all ages and stages of life. Leading numerous events both locally and nationally, she conveys her awareness of God and his love with a subtle yet honest sense of humor Having experienced many seasons of trial and suffering, Lisa is well equipped to journey with others through their own trials and seasons of struggle. Her attunement to the Holy Spirit makes her uniquely gifted for this ministry. For more information about Lisa and her ministry visit: to join her growing community of those seeking peace and spiritual growth.


INTERGENERATIONAL HEALING FOR SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION: Exploring, Healing, and Finding Treasure in your Familial, Cultural, and Regional Roots
Friday, August 17 - Sunday, August 19, 2018

Who should attend this workshop: Those of ancestry who seek to:
  • Learn more about the relational aspects and patterns of our ancestral lines and how they have affected us.
  • Discover more about the impact of our cultures and histories on our ancestors and current family members.
  • Grieve unresolved traumas and losses, celebrate unrecognized strengths and courage of those in our family trees.
  • Acknowledge the suffering of victims and damage inflicted by perpetrators in our ancestral lines.
  • Free ourselves and our ancestors from resulting spiritual bondage, transform the past, through the process of forgiving ourselves and others.
  • Reclaim, enrich our cultural and spiritual heritage, harness it for healing ourselves, families, and communities.
  • Transform sentimentalized attachment into healthy bonds and appropriate concern for unfinished business.
  • Support the development for a nurturing environment.

Historical Roots: According to recent findings in a field called epigenetics, gene expression, which affects attributes, attitudes and behaviors, can be altered by experience, whether traumatic or affirming, and those 'modified' genes become part of our inheritance. What were your ancestors' experiences, including their emigration experience? What were your family's culture(s) or region(s) of origin and their attributes? What watershed events impacted your ancestors or living relatives, when did they happen, and how were your ancestors affected?

What to Bring:

  • Your Family Tree. Please take time to fill in the blanks, talking and sharing with family members ahead of time.
  • Photos and mementos of deceased or living family members.
  • Recommended: Device (journal, recorder) to record thoughts and observations for workshop exercises.
  • Recommended: Drinks or snacks to share.

Presenters: Pamela Clark; Ph.D, Nancy Morgan; LMFT, and Albert Nyland; Ph.D
Room, board, and tuition: $275 single / $225 each shared

Pamela E. Clark, Ph.D., Oblate in formation at Valyermo, ACTHeals Associate, acting regional coordinator of the Los Angeles Region, Bon Secours Associate, genealogist, local and oral historian, aerospace engineer, has been involved in healing ministry for three decades, having led several intercessory prayer groups and intergenerational healing workshops. This workshop has evolved from one she originally gave with Doug and Frances Schoeninger (From Famine to Feast, From Pain to Passion: Healing and Nurturing your Irish Roots) to include broader cultural perspectives for our more challenging times.

Nancy Morgan, LMFT is a Marriage, Family Therapist in Private Practice and a retired teacher/advisor of at risk students. She has served as a prayer minister at ACT events and conferences (local and international) as well as at the Branches of the Cross Christian Healing Center in Vista, CA. She is a member of OSL (Order of St. Luke) and the current international president of ACTheals (formally known as the Association of Christian Therapists).

Albert G. Nyland, Ph.D. is a past coordinator and current treasurer of the Los Angeles Region, and ACTheals board members (Co-Chair of Regional Coordinators, International Conference Chair, and Resource Coordinator for the Western U.S.). Educated in counseling psychology, health education, special education, biology, and spiritual direction, he works for the Pasadena Unified School District and Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, CA.

Intergenerational Healing

LECTIO DIVINA: The Monastic Art of Praying the Scriptures

Friday, August 24 - Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lectio Divina, the ancient Christian art of praying the scriptures, is a way of allowing the Bible, the Word of God, to become a means of union with God: in other words, through lectio divina, the reading of sacred scripture becomes the gateway to contemplative prayer. In this workshop, ancient and modern approaches to the practice of lectio divina will be studied and practiced.

Presenter: Fr. Luke Dysinger, OSB; PhD; M.D.
Room, board, and tuition: $250 single / $200 each shared

Fr. Luke Dysinger has been a monk of Valyermo since 1976. He is a priest and a physician who writes and teaches in the fields of mystical theology and biomedical ethics. He earned a Ph.D. at Oxford University and currently teaches at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, CA as well as online courses.


OUR SISTER, MOTHER EARTH: The Wisdom of Laudato Si

Friday, August 31 - Sunday, September 2, 2018

This retreat will draw from the wisdom of Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si. Deepening our understanding should promote in us an integral ecology that forwards care for the environment, the common good, justice and the dignity of the poor. Our natural world is a 'sacrament if communion' for all people and must become the shared concern and responsibility of more of us. During this retreat other voices of shared wisdom from Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Native American sources will also be explored. Pope Francis invites all people of every culture and religious practice to be engaged in preserving the integrity of our world's resources for the common good and for future generations. The oasis of the monastery and the natural beauty of the high desert are a beneficial setting for our reconnecting with our Sister, Mother Earth.

Presenters: Fr. Francis Benedict, OSB & Yvonne Comstock Wilber, Obl. OSB
Room, board, and tuition: $250 single / $200 each shared

Fr. Francis Benedict has been a monk of Valyermo since 1967. He earned an MA in Philosophy from Loyola-Marymount University and an MS in Theology from Mt. Angel in Oregon. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He served as the Abbey's abbot for 16 years. His special areas of ministry include spiritual direction, preaching retreats, and working with 12-step recovery groups. In addition to many responsibilities at the Abbey, he now serves as the Director of Oblates.

Yvonne Comstock Wilber is an academic librarian at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. She has two master's degrees, one in intellectual leadership and one in library science. Yvonne is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Faulkner University and her particular research interests are in the study of the modern Subject, Mass Man, human authenticity, and the intersection of theology and philosophy.


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