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Touching the Sacred Through Poetry: Poetry as Sacred Leisure (on-site)

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ONE SPOT OPEN NOW! April 19-21, 2023 | Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. —Friday, 3:00 p.m., CDT

facilitated by Judith Valente and Lisa Breger
Cost: $240
Registration is limited.

In his Rule for monastic life, St. Benedict divides the day between prayer, work, study and rest. While Benedict asks us to resist sheer idleness, he encourages us to engage in holy leisure, the kind of relaxation that refreshes the mind and nourishes the soul. Poetry is an often-ignored resource for experiencing holy leisure. Poems offer us a clarifying vision of what it means to be human, and as such they are sources of both comfort and wisdom. Yet so many of us shy away from the benefits poetry offers. Poems are not just for those interested in writing or those who majored in English in college! In this retreat, we will examine how poems can help us to slow down, appreciate daily life in new ways, and lead us to holy leisure. For those willing to take poetry by the hand, it can become what the ancient Celts called an anam cara, a soul friend.

You are encouraged to register early as space is limited. Please register no later than April 10. 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.

Judith Valente spent many years as a journalist, but in 2018 she changed her focus to writing books and leading retreats that help busy people slow down and live a more contemplative life in the secular world. She is the author of several works, including Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith; How to Live: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community; and most recently a collaborative effort with Brother Paul Quenon, How to Be: A Monk & A Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship.

Lisa Breger is an educator, writer, and award-winning poet. 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.