Conversatio Divina

Conversations Journal October 1, 2007

Conversations 5.2: Gifts from the Monastery—Silence and Solitude

Volume 5:2 Fall/Winter 2007

Conversations: A Forum for Authentic Transformation provides spiritual accompaniment and honest dialogue for those who long for radical transformation in Christ. It stimulates hunger and illuminates the path by drawing on classical wisdom and practice, exploring the vital role of community, and illustrating the journey with realism and hope.

In this issue, Gifts from the Monastery, you’ll hear from writers like Jan Johnson, Larry Crabb, and Ruth Haley Barton as they share how silence and solitude have been necessary practices in their journey with Jesus. A rare interview with David and Juliet Benner gives us a glimpse at making art the monastic way, as they teach us the history of graduals, musical settings of the Psalms that were hand produced in the monastery and sung by the choir during mass. Even though this issue was published almost thirteen years ago, the content is just as important for today’s reader.

Take for example Mindy Caliguire’s article, “Life with the Brothers”, where she shares how she makes her home [with young children] the monastery for receiving the gifts of wisdom, purpose, and love. What a poignant message for the current moment as we all shelter in place amidst the COVID19 pandemic!  Jan Johnson says it best, going to a monastery isn’t an escape— “it’s soul school, a space in which God can speak to us about what it would look like to love the difficult people in our lives and how the neediness of our spirits drives us to do foolish things. It’s a refuge where we know we are loved by God, even when we accomplish nothing.” We hope the content in this issue invites you to create space in your own life to embrace the gifts of silence and solitude.

In this issue, we have zeroed in on a featured article—Living a Little Rule of Life: Pilgrimage to a Motherhouse—and provided questions and practices for individuals or groups who want to experience a “class” with the words of the writer. See class here.