This year’s Monastic Institute is off to an enthusiastic start with 17 participants and blessed by a diversity of ages, faith traditions, cultures and genders.
Rev. Matthew Wright, an Episcopal priest and pastor of St. Gregory’s Church, Woodstock, NY, was our first presenter. He helped us begin the Institute with heart-centered Contemplative Practice. He is also a Sufi practitioner and spoke about Christianity in an Inter-spiritual Age….
Sr. Margaret Malone, a Good Samaritan Benedictine Sister from Australia, taught for two weeks on the Rule of Benedict. Her 60 years of lived monastic life came through in every lecture on the Rule of Benedict. She helped instill a love for the Rule rather than just information about the Rule. After years of teaching the Rule to lay people, she ably showed how this ancient Rule can be a wonderful tool to deepen the spiritual life of people today from all walks of life. She believes that one of the reasons the Rule has survived for centuries and is still able to speak to our contemporary world is because it is rooted in the Scriptures.
Each week four of the participants shared with the whole community the impact the Institute has had on them thus far. These sessions have become transforming experiences for both communities who have become one community for the month of July.
During the final two weeks of the Institute, Fr. Thomas Davis will teach a course on how the Rule of Benedict has informed The Essential Element of Cistercian Life today. Fr. Thomas is the former abbot of New Clairvaux Monastery in Vina, CA. The participants will be concretizing their experience into a Rule of Life for themselves. They will also have the opportunity to do a podcast for our website to share their experience with a wider circle of friends of Mepkin.