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THE UN-SILENT RETREAT: Listening Deeply to the Sounds of the Desert
Friday, July 21- Sunday, July 23, 2023
As retreatants drawn to the desert, we often seek to cultivate the practice of silence, quieting ourselves to hear the voice of God. Yet the desert monastics were deeply attentive to the sounds around them: the wind, the raven, the thunder of a desert storm. They cultivated the practice of deep listening–– not to silence the world but to be attuned to nature and learn from it. As we are mindful of the sounds around us, we can cultivate inner harmony and care for the earth and its inhabitants. In this retreat, we will draw from the wisdom of the desert fathers and mothers, and include the voices of Pope Francis and Thich Nhat Hanh, theologian Kim Haines-Eitzen, acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, and the poetry of various artists.
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.
Dr. Yvonne Comstock Wilber, Obl.OSB;PH.D is an oblate of Valyermo and works as an academic librarian and adjunct instructor of Religion at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. She holds master's degrees in Library Science and Intellectual Leadership, and she earned her Ph.D. in Humanities with a major in Philosophy. Yvonne's intellectual work lies at the intersection of the humanities, technology, and ecology, which supports her "heart work" in helping people build bridges across all sorts of differences.
St. Andrew's Abbey Retreat Office
Phone: (661) 944-2178
(Closed for Mass and lunch 11:45am-1:30pm)