Seeking the Soul of the World: The Spiritual Poetry of Mary Oliver (Zoom)

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May 13-14 | Friday evening 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.,and Saturday 10:00 a.m.-noon CDT

facilitated by Judith Valente and Lisa Breger
Cost: $25

Perhaps more than any other contemporary poet, Mary Oliver sought to uncover what St. Bernard of Clairvaux called “the real behind the real.” Her explorations of nature, insights into humanity, and perception of creation bring us not only into contact with “the soul of the world” but with the very nature of God. Using her poems as guides, we will refresh our spirits, deepen our kinship with all of creation, and perhaps even answer the challenge her poetry poses to us all: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Please register by May 6. Once we have received your registration, we will send you an invoice for the retreat. Please know we have scholarships available; if you would like to make a request, email S. Carol Ann at We strongly encourage you to add to your email contacts to ensure the delivery of emails regarding your retreat. We look forward to welcoming you online.

Judith Valente was once a hard-charging journalist who worked for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, national PBS-TV, and two NPR affiliates in Illinois. She left daily journalism in 2019 to focus on writing that helps busy people slow down and find greater meaning in their daily lives. She is the author of several spirituality titles, including The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed; Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith, the memoir of her time living as a laywoman at a Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kan.; and How to Live: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community. Her most recent book is a collaboration with a Trappist monk, titled How to Be: A Monk & A Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship. She co-edited the award-winning anthology Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul and is the author of two poetry collections. She has received numerous awards for her writing and leads frequent retreats on how to live a more contemplative life in the secular world.

Lisa Breger is an educator, writer, and award-winning poet, currently living in Massachusetts. She was an assistant professor at Pine Manor College and Director of the Undergraduate Writing Program. She left academia after a life-changing illness and currently is a writing practitioner at Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts Center. There she teaches poetry, spiritual journaling, and leads mindfulness and writing retreats. She is also founder of the Wayland Poetry Garden, an arts project supported by her local cultural council.