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MAY 2019

PRIESTS' RETREAT: Walking in the Way of the Heart Through the Gospel of John . . .
Monday, May 6-Friday, May 10, 2019

. . . Rekindling the mystical dimension of our priestly life and ministry. To aid us on our journey together during these days of retreat we will be reflecting on two works: Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John by Jean Vanier, and Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel by Sandra M. Schneiders. (This retreat is also offered March 25-29)

Presenter: Fr. Joseph Brennan, OSB
Room, board, and tuition: $440 single

Fr. Joseph Brennan has been a monk of Valyermo since 1994 after having served as a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for over 20 years. He is a spiritual director at the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for priests in Los Angeles as well as St. Andrew's Prior.


THE HEALING POWER OF FAITH: Jesus as Our Therapist
Friday, May 10-Sunday, May 12, 2019

The way we do [or don't] deal with our suffering is the most important determinant of the quality of our lives. It is difficult to learn to deal with suffering in a way that benefits and heals us, as opposed to damaging or even destroying us. This retreat will integrate psychological and spiriutal ideas in an examination of the ways our Christian teachings help us embrace and utilize suffering in the service of psychological/spiriutal transformation to our natural state of love, joy, and healing.

Presenter: Fr. Francis Benedict, OSB & Maria Rohde, Obl.OSB
Room, board, tuition: $275 single; $220 each shared

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.

Maria Rohde is an oblate of Valyermo and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned a BA in Psychology at UCLA and an MA in Community/Clinical Psychology at California State University Northridge. She has been in private practice in the Antelope Valley for 25 years and works primarily from a cognitive-behavioral perspective, specializing in treatment of anxiety disorders.


THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MYSTICS: The Spirituality of Mary Magdalene & Paul
Monday, May 13-Wednesday, May 15, 2019

These two great saints, Mary Magdalene and Paul, were among the earliest mystics of the Christian church. Although not counted among the traditional twelve apostles, both experienced transformative visions of the resurrected Christ and received apostolic missions. Early church writings and Paul's authentic letters speak of their mysticism, the unique nature of their relationship with Christ, and their leadership in the transmission of his life-changing message. We will explore their spirituality, as we invite these saints into conversation with us and each other.

Presenter: Laura Dunham, Obl.OSB; Ph.D.; MDiv
Room, board, and tuition: $220 single; $192.50 each shared

Dr. Laura Dunham, former academic, retired Presbyterian minister, and Catholic convert in 2012, is an oblate of St. Benedict's Monastery in MN. She holds a PhD, MDiv, and Certificate in Spiritual Formation. Teaching and writing about Christian spirituality, guiding the Ignatian Exercises, and leading retreats and group studies of the mystics are her current work. Laura is the author of Path of the Purified Heart: The Spiritual Journey as Transformation (Cascade Books, 2012) and Extraordinary Time: Spiritual Reflections from a Season with Cancer, Death, and Transition (Cascade Books, 2018). A resident of Riverside, CA, she invites inquiries about her work through her website.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 10:00a.m.-3:00p.m.

Life has way of making so many demands on our time and energy. Sometimes the harder we try the more frustrating it can become. Taking time out to slow down and refocus can do wonders for our mind, body and spirit.

Life often offers us many challenges but you do not have to go it alone. On this one-day retreat to be offered one Wednesday each month, you will learn some very valuable and workable techniques that can assist you in your daily life. Christ is present among us and offers us His "Light" to guide our way. It is possible to turn a life of chaos into a life of peace and calm.

Presenter: Sr. Joan Marie Sasse, OSB
Donation: $45 per person includes tuition, morning beverages, and lunch after Mass

Sr. Joan Marie Sasse
is a Benedictine Sister who was a member of Holy Spirit Monastery in Grand Terrace for many years. When the Community left California in 2012, she joined St. Lucy's Benedictine Community in Glendora. Sr. Joan Marie has earned degrees in Education, Theology, and Neuro Linguistic Programming. She was a teacher and school administrator in various elementary schools for over twenty years and served as a Parish Administrator or Pastoral Associate for thirteen years. Sr. Joan Marie was a Retreat Director at Serra Retreat House in Malibu for five years where she published five Meditation CD's and two CD's for self-improvement. Sr. Joan Marie currently gives weekly Retreats at Grand Terrace, CA.


Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, 2019

The notion of "divinization" has traditionally been associated with Eastern Christian spiritual theology, particularly the Byzantine understandings of the sacraments and spiritual progress. In this workshop we will discover how both the Rule of Benedict and Gregory the Great's Life of Benedict reflect this ancient tradition; and we will reflect together on how this can enrich the lives of those who live according to the Benedictine Way.

Presenter: Fr. Luke Dysinger, OSB; Ph.D.; M.D.
Room, board and tuition: $275 single; $220 each shared

Fr. Luke Dysinger has been a monk of Valyermo since 1976. He is a priest and a physician who writes and teaches in the fields of mystical theology and biomedical ethics. He earned a Ph.D. at Oxford University and currently teaches at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, CA as well as online courses.


Monday, May 27-Friday, May 31, 2019

This retreat is based on the latest work of Cistercian Abbot Thomas Keating, founder of Contemplative Outreach. We will view selected videos from his series God Is Love: The Heart of All Creation. Themes to be explored include: Cosmology; Human Evolution; Christ, Evolution and All Creation; Into Unity Consciousness; and Surrendering to Love. In addition to time for personal reflection, retreatants will practice centering prayer for 30 min. three times each day, and evenings will be devoted to the practice of visio divina on paintings by artist William Condgon correlating with the themes of the day.

Presenter: Fr. Stephen Coffey, OSB Cam
Room, board and tuition: $440 single; $385 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 hold degrees in Christian Spirituality from Creighton in Omaha and in Pastoral Leadership from Chaminade in Honolulu.


Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2, 2019

Beginning with the basic makeup of the human person, many spiriutal writers have tried to understand both the positive and negative forces, national and supernatural, that act upon the individual. This workshop will be geared towards identifying those forces inherent in every person. Participants will be asked to read Bernard of Clairvaux's Steps of Humility and Pride before the workshop.

Presenter: Fr. Aelred Niespolo, OSB
Room, board and tuition: $275 single; $220 each shared

Fr. Aelred Niespolo has been a monk of Valyermo since 2001 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2005. Having completed the Master of Theology program at Oxford University, he teaches at St. John's Seminary in Camarillo. He has served as the editor of the Valyermo Chronicle and as Director of Oblates.