January 2018


The Sacred Space of Humanity

Friday, January 12 - Monday, January 15, 2018

This workshop is an invitation to step into the sacred space of the Abbey and use it as a portal into the sacred space of our humanity. Overcoming the division and fraction between one another calls for the "application of Trust" - prayer. Dancers, musicians, artists, liturgists, and poets of faith are called together this weekend to move beyond words into heartfelt and embodied prayers for and about the dignity, mutual respect, and love we share in the ongoing work of Creation.

The days are full of scripture, dance, prayer, and fellowship; evenings are open to silence and reflection. Sunday night provides the participants the opportunity to offer the work of previous days in a worshipful setting in the company of the monks. Bring comfortable clothes to move with ease.

Presenter: John West, Obl.OSB
Room, board, and tuition: $350 single / $287.50 each shared

John West is an oblate of Valyermo and the founder of the Valyermo Dancers. A gifted dancer, choreographer, and liturgist, he has been conducting dance workshops at St. Andrew's for many years. He is also a lecturer and educator at the International and national collegiate and university levels. His professional associations include membership in the prestigious North America Academy of Liturgy.


Friday, January 19-Sunday, January 21, 2018

The greatest human and spiritual truths are often embodied in stories and narratives. Today much of the burden of storytelling is carried by movies. We will view four mainstream films and have intensive discussions on how spiritual realities are shown through their plots, symbols, acting, and so forth. These films will be chosen around a theme and are traditionally kept a mystery. This workshop seeks to raise and focus consciousness of the medium and offer ways to use it in the ongoing project of spiritual growth. (The summer session is offered July 27-29.)

Presenter: Nikki Tucker, Obl. OSB
Room, board, and tuition: $250 single; $200 each shared

Nikki Tucker is an oblate of Valyermo and a private Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned a BA in Art History at UCLA with a focus on Medieval Art and an MA at Fuller Seminary. She has lectured and given retreats on art and spirituality and has facilitated several cinema workshops.


AT PLAY IN CREATION: The Spirituality of Thomas Merton
Monday, January 29 - Friday, February 2, 2018

This retreat will focus on the period of Thomas Merton's life when he encountered Sophia, Holy Wisdom, in the depths of his heart. This led him to an intense study of the Russian mystical writers. This in turn formed the backdrop of his remarkable prose poem Hagia Sophia. We will learn to appreciate what Merton has to say in this profound work as well as in related works from this fruitful time in his life as he discovers Wisdom at play in creation.

Presenter: Fr. Stephen Coffey, OSB Cam
Room, board, and tuition: $400 single / $350 each shared

Fr. Stephen Coffey, a Massachusetts native, is a monk of the Camaldolese Congregation of the Order of St. Benedict and lives at the Monastery of the Risen Christ in San Luis Obispo, where he is director of oblates. He is a retreat director, spiritual director, and is involved in other formation ministries at the Hermitage in Big Sur and at San Lorenzo Seminary in Santa Ynez. He is a graduate of St. John's School of Theology in Collegeville, MN and holds degrees in Christian Spirituality from Creighton in Omaha and in Pastoral Leadership from Chaminade in Honolulu.

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