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A love note from your online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

It is that time of year once again, to reprise our annual Give Me a Word event for 2016.

In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to God and to their own inner struggles at work within them. The desert became a place to enter into the refiner's fire and be stripped down to one's holy essence. The desert was a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered.

Many people followed these ammas and abbas, seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life. One tradition was to ask for a word â€“  this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime. This practice is connected to lectio divina, where we approach the sacred texts with the same request – "give me a word" we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.  The word which chooses us has the potential to transform us.

What is your word for the year ahead? A word which contains within it a seed of invitation to cross a new threshold in your life?

As in past years, I am offering all Abbey newsletter subscribers a gift: a free 12-day online mini-retreat with a short suggested practice for each day to help your word choose you and to deepen into your word once it has found you. Even if you participated last year, you are more than welcome to register again.

Sign up here and you can start your mini-retreat today. Once you register you will receive the first email immediately with a link to the content and then one email each day for 12 days.

Once your word has found you, be sure to share your word with our community in the comments section of this post. Scroll all the way down to submit it. Share by January 6th and be entered to win one of several prizes from the Abbey in a random drawing.

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Monk in the World Guest Post: Jodi Blazek Gehr

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Jodi Blazek Gehr's the sacred pilgrimage of driving country roads:

A Country Road Contemplative

"My country drives are a sacred experience, a contemplative, scenic journey through four counties of Nebraska. 

Driving country roads has become a pilgrimage of its own as I travel to St. Benedict Center, a Benedictine retreat center and monastery seventy miles northwest of my home. Once or twice a month, I receive spiritual direction, participate in or lead retreats, attend Oblate meetings or pray with the monks. It’s where I go to honor my “inner monk”, find peace and quiet, learn to live more holy and grow in love. It has become my spiritual home and a home-away-from-home.

Click here to read the rest of Jodi's reflection>>

New Dates Added for 2016 Ireland Pilgrimage

We have added one last set of dates for pilgrimage in Ireland this coming year: August 30-September 7, 2016. All other Ireland dates have filled, so if you have wanted to join us now is your opportunity. (Or if you prefer to wait until 2017, let us know and we will add you to the advance notice list when those dates are published in the spring). Join our intimate community of 12 pilgrims for a journey to the sacred edge of Ireland based in the wonderful city of Galway.

Click here for more details on our Ireland journey>>

We also have just a few spaces left for our pilgrimage experience in Vienna, Austria next November 12-20, 2016. Come to one of the most beautiful cities in the world with us and visit stunning monasteries and savor the music, architecture, and food. We will explore contemplative practice for contemporary life.

More details on our Vienna journey>>

Sacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Seasons of the Year

Join us for a vibrant yearlong offering. For each of the 8 festivals and hinges of the year you will receive an invitation to dive into the spirit of the season through a PDF file with a mini-retreat. It will offer you a guided experience through reflections on the season written by Christine Valters Paintner and biblical reflections by John Valters Paintner, invitations to contemplative practice and creative expression, poems, art, music, and dance. A wonderful way to spend a day of reflection as a holy pause and chance to tune into how your inner world is being called forth by the outer world. Songs and movement prayers by Betsey Beckman for each season as well.

You can also preview the mini-retreat for February 1st – the Feast of St. Brigid for free at the link below!
Click here for details and registration>>

Subscribe to Daily Nourishment from the Abbey

Abbey of the Arts is now offering daily emails to nourish and inspire your journey with quotes and reflection questions from Christine’s work.

Click here to update your preferences then check the box for daily emails. You can always change back to the weekly option if your inbox is feeling too full.

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