What is it?

It is an effort to provide resources to age consciously and tools to grow spiritually in the second half of life.

What does the Institute offer?


Contemplative Eldering Retreats

Contemplative Eldering Retreat I:

An Initial Retreat for Elders (those with 60 years or more of life experience)

The Institute provides three or four of these retreats a year. They are based on the premise that the bridge between the first and second half of life is a contemplative practice. The retreat provides an introduction to contemplative practice and supports the contemplative discipline of the participants. It also provides a reflective community to explore the concerns of the second half of life which enable this to be a time of growth rather than decline. Many retreatants experience the retreat as a passageway into a more contemplative elderhood.

2016 Dates:

  • January 15 -18
  • April 25 – 29
  • June 6 -10
  • September 12 – 16

Contact Fr. Guerric Heckel for more information or to request a registration form at guerricheckel@gmail.com or (843) 761-8509 and dial #1.  
Registration fee is $300 for weekend or $350 for weekdays.  You may apply for a partial scholarship by contacting Fr. Guerric.


Advanced Themed Retreats for Elders

Contemplative Eldering Retreat II:

An Advanced Retreats for Elders (those who have made an initial retreat)

These retreats focus on particular themes emerging out of the initial retreat, such as Befriending Death, Life Review, Mentoring, Leaving a Life Story Legacy.

2016 Date February 12 – 15

In place of our usual Advanced Retreat we are offering a retreat with Ron Pevny this year on Conscious Eldering

Description of “Conscious Eldering: Aging with Intention and Passion” Retreat

There is a profound difference between becoming old and aging consciously.  This retreat is for people over 50 who anticipate their later years as a life stage of growth, purpose and service—of deepening into the fullness of who they have the potential to be as elders.  It will provide a dynamic experiential introduction to conscious eldering and the inner work vital to the emotional and spiritual growth of an engaged elder.

The Council process for sharing from the heart, life review work, exploration of legacy, goal setting and intentionality, ceremony, and periods of reflective time outdoors are woven together as a powerful set of processes in this retreat.  These will help you identify and clear out old beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and identifications that do not serve, and help open you to new clarity about your unique potential and calling in the elder third of life.

This retreat will be presented by Ron Pevny, Director of the Colorado-based Center for Conscious Eldering and author of the book Conscious Living, Conscious Aging published by Beyond Words/Atria Books.  Ron’s calling throughout his career has been helping people find vision and empowerment as they move through life transitions.  For the past 13 years the transition from mid-life into a conscious elderhood has been his focus and passion.

Contact Fr. Guerric Heckel for more information or to request a registration form: guerricheckel@gmail.com or (843) 761-8509 and dial #1.  
Registration fee is $300 for weekend or $350 for weekdays (You may apply for a partial scholarship)


A Public Lecture Series – Discerning the Call of the Second Half of Life

Public Lecture Series

Mepkin Abbey Institute of Contemplative Eldering brings noted speakers in the field of aging or related fields to Mepkin Abbey for two hour lectures four times a year.

2016 Schedule of “Public Lectures”

Linda Bender, DVM

Linda Bender, life long animal advocate and doctor of veterinary medicine, opens up the spiritual dimension of animals that many people feel intuitively but find hard to express. She is author of Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals

Topic: What Animals Can Bring to The Second Half of Life

Mepkin Abbey Library
Thursday, January 14, 2:00 – 4:00 PM

book a lecture

or call 843.761.6580 to register $10.00 payable at the door

Ron Pevny

Ron Pevny, M.A., Durango, CO, is founder and director of Conscious Eldering, a national organization that offer people support  in realizing their potential as they age. He is a long-time rite of passage guide, certified Sageing leader, and author of a new book in this emerging field, Conscious Living, Conscious Aging

Topic: Conscious Eldering

Bon Secours/ St. Francis Hospital
Wednesday, February 10,  10:00 AM – 3:00 PM (registration 9:30 AM)
The program is free with a complimentary lunch advance registration is required.
To register call 843.402.2273

Topic: Conscious Eldering continued

Mepkin Abbey Library
Thursday, February 11, 2:00 – 4:00 PM
book a lecture

Kathleen Norris

Poet and bestselling author of The Cloister Walk, Dakota and Amazing Grace
Topic: The Art of Contemplative Living
This talk will look at ways of listening for the still, small voice in a busy and noisy world. The focus will be on the discipline of using time, routine as a scaffold rather than a rut, and avoiding the distractions that are available to us 24/7.
Cost Preregistration $25, at the door $35
To register call Sophia Institute 843 720-8528 or go to their website
 www.thesophiainstitute.org

The Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor

The Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor is the sixth bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina. He is the author of two books: To Dream as God Dreams: Sermons of Community, Conversion, and Hope and From Anger to Zion: An Alphabet of Faith.

Topic: The Power of Story

My Story, Our Story, The Story

As human beings and as Christians, we are people of story.  As John Shea says, “We turn our pain into narrative so we can bear it; we turn our ecstasy into narrative so we can prolong it. We tell our stories to live.”   As humans we are hardwired to make meaning through narrative, and as Christians we are connected to the never ending story of redemption and salvation.  Bishop Taylor will speak on how the sacred narratives of scripture informs our lives as we each live out our story.

May 20, 2016
Mepkin Abbey Library
2:00 – 4:00 PM
book a lecture

or call 843.761.6580 to register $10.00 payable at the door
2:00 – 4:00 PM Mepkin Abbey Library
$10 Payable at the door

Martin Laird, O.S.A.

Martin Laird is Associate Professor of Theology at Villanova University. An Augustinian priest and a highly experienced retreat leader throughout the United States and Great Britain, he is the author of the classic guidebook to contemplative prayer, Into the Silent Land, and its companion volume, A Sunlit Absence.

Topic: Dialogue With Silence

Mepkin Abbey Library
Date TBA


Mepkin’s Online Contemplative Elders Community

Contemplative Aging Cenobium

Prior to each public lecture those who have made an initial retreat are invited to gather for a morning of contemplative practice and then to sit in circle for two hours reflecting on their contemplative aging experiences with others.


Mepkin’s Online Contemplative Elders Community

Mepkin Online Contemplative Elders Community

This is a vehicle open to those who have made a Contemplative Aging Retreat. The purpose is to share with others who have made the retreat their insights and experiences which further the experience


Carolinas Chapter of Sage-ing International

Carolinas Chapter of International Sage-ing

These are regular meetings of members of Sage-ing International www.sage-ing.org to provide the resources of this organization to local groups in the Carolinas. It is a way to make known, coordinate and sponsor their conscious aging activities in the Carolinas.

For more information or to be added to the mailing list contact Lyndall Hare, PhD lyndall@therespite.org


Web Resources to Conscious Spiritual Aging Sites

Links to Conscious and Spiritual Aging Sites