People Speak about Bonnevaux

mary_mcaleeseMARY MCALEESE (President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011)
It is past time for the World Community to have a permanent home, a centre of deep peace and an invitation to reconciliation in our troubled and troubling age but also our age of educated young problem solvers and consciences formed by equality, democracy, compassion and courage. They can be righteously impatient with denominations and faith systems but I hope not with prayer. Meditation has so much to offer in anchoring their talents and their impatience for progress and for truth in that ancient form of spiritual communication, giving them personal depths and strengths to weather life’s many storms and appreciate its wonders, linking them to a universal community of care through contemplation. I do not yet know Bonnevaux but Laurence has invited me and as soon as it is ready I plan to visit but I am persuaded that it has many attractive qualities, not least the ancient contemplative origins which infuse its natural beauty with a spirituality which I am sure will touch many an anxious heart and clear many a confused mind. It is a venture worth encouraging and supporting, another light in the darkness, another hearth that welcomes all, another home for the soul. We cannot have too many of them and we have not yet enough. Read Mary’s full endorsement here.

rosaDIEGO M ROSA (Abbot General of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation)
Dear Dom Laurence,
As you know your monastic brethren and I have always supported your contemplative mission in the World Community for Christian Meditation. I can see the influence of the Spirit in the way it has grown and as you bring the contemplative dimension not only to the Church but to people of all ages and in all walks of life. It is a special way of living your monastic vocation but a very valid one.

I am now delighted to learn of the Bonnevaux project. Its ancient monastic roots and spirit of tranquillity make it an ideal place for stabilising the centre of the World Community. It has a very great potential. It is inspiring and I pray new forms of our life may flourish there.
It will be in my prayer and I certainly encourage all who can to support it.
I look forward to coming there myself one day and praying with you there in such a beautiful and sacred space.
Sincerely in the Lord and St Benedict.

sarah2REV’D SARAH BACHELARD (Anglican Priest and theologian from WCCM Australia)
John Main described the practice of contemplation as a pilgrimage to the heart of our own lives and to the heart of God. This image of pilgrimage evokes one critical dimension of the spiritual journey – the necessity to be dispossessed, travelling light and open to an unknown future. At first glance, this may seem in tension with the desire to own a property and be settled in one place. Yet – as someone who has just returned from making a 900km pilgrimage on the Way of St James – I can attest that the practice of pilgrimage is radically dependent on there being places of refreshment and hospitality, communities of welcome where pilgrims are enabled to reflect on their journey and realise more fully its meaning and call. I believe that Bonnevaux will be such a place of refreshment and hospitality, one that will enable all who come to deepen their own pilgrimage to the heart of God, and so to bear the fruits of this journey in their lives and communities at home.

harrisPAUL HARRIS (Patron of the WCCM)
John Main once said that: ” Meditation creates community”. By this he indicated not only the personal union with others in the depths of our own being, but as well the uniting of contemplative spiritual practice to small communities in the world at large. We see this in the ancient Israelites who formed 12 small family units; the first Christians met in homes for support and encouragement; spiritual seekers gathered in monasteries to foster love and friendship: currently Christian Meditators meet for support in weekly groups worldwide.
Bonnevaux can further encourage this universal yearning for community by deepening the contemplative spiritual roots of a new generation in a Benedictine style community. I wholeheartedly approve of this Bonnevaux initiative.

fr-richard-fh-porch-300x205RICHARD ROHR OFM (Founder of Center for Action and Contemplation)
Thank you for sharing with me the vision of your new international center. By reason of the Incarnation, Christians invariably become attuned to the importance of place and the effectiveness of the right symbol.  This is the way the inner message become outer and the hidden message becomes both visible and attractive. I feel this is happening and will happen at Bonnevaux. I fully congratulate the World Community for embarking on the project of this new center for its whole community and for all who are seeking depth and peace. It is a truly beautiful place and I am sure it will communicate the beauty of the peace of contemplation. Having an ancient monastic origin adds another dimension to the spirit of the place. Talking with you I know that all contemplatives will feel welcome here and I hope all friends of WCCM can fully support this great venture.

photoŁukasz Tomborek (Poland)
For us, young students and people in Poland the vision of living Christ must be renewed. So many of us feel the lack of his presence and are seeking substitute pleasures. They feel ‘Who wants to be in church that is just a piece of stone without any life-giving presence?’ Thank you for the gift of meditation which gives us a new perspective of meaning and spiritual life. Next year, I am going to start studying philosophy. I still carry on my daily practice of meditation. I also run marathons and enjoy every step of my life’s way. I hope the Bonnevaux centre will become a home for our lost selves and the wounded hearts of our friends. I really desire to participate and help in this work.

josieJOSIE VON ZITZEWITZ (Oblate, London)
The spirit of the WCCM is that of a “monastery without walls”. We are an international community held together by the practice of meditation, but fellowship thrives even more when people can spend time together in the same place.
Bonnevaux will be a still point at the centre of our vibrant community, a home for our teaching and our teacher, and a place for members to spend time together in silence and fellowship.

fr-thomas-headshot-300x250THOMAS KEATING OCSO (Founder of Contemplative Outreach)
The need for a place to train leaders and teachers and to provide space for special groups to hold important meetings is a sign of significant growth. WCCM is enjoying immense expansion and is being constantly enriched by maturing meditators, some of who will want more advanced training. The house and grounds of Bonnevaux look very beautiful and well suited to your purpose. As an ancient monastery, the walls are exuding grace all the time, like the special shrines of Europe and the Near East. It will help those who come to relax and find deep refreshment in the gift of profound silence that this facility is certain to provide. With my prayer and friendship

jeanJEAN VANIER (Founder of the L’Arche Community)
Dear Laurence, it was so good to have your here at the retreat which we preached together. I do think that we need each other. You can help people in our communities to meditate and we can help your communities to grow up to the poor and the needy. I pray that your project in Bonnevaux will be a success, in communion in Jesus.

149px-mark_carney_world_economic_forum_2013_3MARK CARNEY (Governor, The Bank of England)
Dear Laurence
I am delighted to hear about Bonnevaux and that it promises to be such a beautiful and timely home for the community and a centre of peace in our world. I hope it receives all the support you need to realise the vision.
I will look forward to coming there one day.

pell02CARDINAL GEORGE PELL (Patron of the WCCM and Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, The Vatican)
As you know, I have for many years now felt close to and supportive of the work of the WCCM in bringing contemplation back to the heart of the church’s life of prayer and action. I particularly feel the importance of introducing the practice of Christian Meditation to children at the beginning of their life journey of faith.  Thank you for sharing the vision of your proposed international new centre at  Bonnevaux. It is a beautiful and inspiring place; and the sacred history of the site, with the monastic foundation there in the twelfth century, makes it for me, as I think for many others, especially attractive and spiritually significant.  I feel you will be able even better to renew our great tradition there for our time, as well as build a centre of contemplation that will be welcome to all. Bonnevaux will be in my prayer and I would love to visit and pray and meditate with you there one day. I would urge all to support this brave and inspiring venture.

215568_taylorCHARLES TAYLOR (Philosopher)
For usually solitary meditators, like myself, it is a great boon to be able from time to time to meditate in community, and all the more so in a retreat house set in beautiful surroundings, like Bonnevaux. I am very pleased that the WCCM is taking this initiative.

alanCHI YU CHUNG (Hong Kong WCCM Community)
As a ‘young meditator’ I have a very hopeful sense of the future of WCCM and that it can bring the gift of peace to people of my generation in all walks of life. In this constantly distracted world, peace has become a rare treasure. Meditation has indeed empowered us and leads us into the realm of peace, which is in our heart. I see Bonnevaux as one of the great turning points of our community, and I believe it will attract a new generation to embrace this gift of peace and then bring it to the chaos of the world.

paul_richard_gallagher_september_2015ARCHBISHOP PAUL GALLAGHER (Patron of the WCCM and the Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State of the Vatican)
As we are all very aware, our world is in a mess just now. We know that we should be doing more about it, but we are often uncertain of how to proceed. As Christians of all ages and backgrounds, we recognise that the way forward must be rooted in prayerful discernment. The World Community for Christian Meditation is helping many to deepen their prayer life, and accordingly to find that inner peace, which is so precious in these troubled times, and to be more confident in the rightness of their decisions. Accordingly, it is my hope that the realisation of a new International Centre at Bonnevaux may confirm and strengthen WCCM’s mission.

pic_gordonTHE MOST REV. CHARLES JASON GORDON (Patron of the WCCM and Bishop of Barbados)
To purchase a home in France at this time is also a prophetic venture. It is to believe that the God of love will triumph and that the Christian Gospel has its place in the turmoil and cultural conflicts of this world. The Area around Bonnevaux was the place where enemies collided in the battle of Poitiers 1356. It is my prayer and hope that Bonnevaux will today be a meeting place of opposites where the practice of silence and meditation may reconcile enemies and open the hearts of generations to come to a commitment to peace.
I encourage and support the WCCM community in this bold new venture. It is timely and necessary for the leadership community, as it is for all those who are committed to building a better world through silence and the practice of meditation.

Magda Jass ( Montreal WCCM Community)
I met John Main and Laurence when they came to Montreal in 1977 and have been part of the community and an oblate since. I see Bonnevaux as a direct continuation of the founding vision of John Main and of the creative renewal of the Church through meditation. It is rooted in the tradition, and yet full of promise for a new life. It is inspiring to know that is on the site of an ancient monastery, where the prayers have been absorbed into the very stones and soil. One can feel that in certain places. It is new – not just as another meditation center, but as a new type of monastery, with lay people, men and women, single and married, inclusive of faith tradition and nationality; welcoming all like Christ, in the pure Benedictine tradition; welcoming people to meditate, to be in silence, to grow personally, to learn to serve, to lose a bit of their ego, and to contribute to peace, love, compassion and community, both there and in the world.

ELIZABETH CARDONE (Former Director of the John Main Center, Georgetown University, Washington DC)
The establishment of Bonnevaux is an especially wonderful stage of development for the World Community for Christian Meditation. Several years ago, I had the privilege of being part of the Meditatio House  WCCM community in London. That experience of daily meditation, rooted in a loving community, has had a lasting effect on my life. No doubt Bonnevaux will provide a center and a foundation to nurture the spiritual lives of many in future generations. Our world is in need not only of deep prayer, but of individuals and communities who share the fruits of that experience.  I see every day and first-hand the powerful effect of rooting the daily practice of meditation in a physical space. Bonnevaux will be a great gift and blessing to the WCCM and to the wider world. It will be a global center and a local home for those seeking to deepen their practice and experience the richness of community life. Centers of contemplation such as these have the power to truly change and bless our world. I look forward to the fruition of the Bonnevaux project!

Sr Ruth Montrichard (WCCM Caribbean)
The Caribbean Meditation Community has given its whole hearted support for the our new “home” in Bonnevaux. We feel that besides being a home for all meditators the centre will be a beacon of peace and hope for a troubled world and a place where divisions will be healed as everyone will be welcomed. Meditators in each Island in the Caribbean welcomed
the project and made a financial contribution to Bonnevaux and the Scholarship fund. Our widow’s mite of US $2,416 was donated as a token of our commitment to support the project and we will continue to do our part. In the midst of the violent darkness of cruelty, indifference, and disrespect for life, Bonnevaux will be sign that there is a different way – a deeper spiritual path, a way of love, of care, of inclusion and of welcome. We look forward to its completion and to visiting this new sanctuary.

Pascal Wintzer (Archbishop of Poitiers)
How can we live, choose or make decisions​ without sitting, listening, doing silence, meditating? Who can naturally and spontaneously adopt these ways of being, this way of doing? Places like Bonnevaux, communities like The World Community for Christian Meditation, initiate, accompany and support us in this work. I rejoice in the birth of this new centre of contemplation at Bonnevaux in the heart of my diocese of Poitiers.


If you have any questions about how to support Bonnevaux please do not hesitate to contact us.

Briji Waterfield, Director of Special Projects
WCCM International Office, St Marks, Myddelton Square, London EC1R 1XX, United Kingdom
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7278 2070