Voila! A Benedictine wisdom school for contemplatives who want to venture deeper into the arts and artists who want to venture deeper into contemplative prayer. The five-day teaching retreat will offer a rare, hands-on opportunity to explore the deep, mutually nurturing relationship between spirituality and the arts at the heart of the Benedictine Monastic tradition.
Join with fellow artists and contemplatives in an artistically thriving contemporary Benedictine community to explore the secrets of why, for more than fifteen hundred years, the Benedictine tradition has offered such a hospitable environment for music, architecture, drama, scholarship, and the visual arts, and why it continues to do so in our own times. How do artistic creativity and deep contemplative silence engage and complete each other? Is there a secret here that could perhaps restore balance and harmony in our own lives and in our fractured world?
Come explore these questions “on location” as you participate in the daily cross-pollination of this “wondrous exchange” (in the words of an ancient Benedictine hymn.) Grounded in the steady Benedictine rhythm of Prayer and Work and four daily periods of silent meditation, Bonnevaux offers a unique laboratory to hone your own skills as a creative or performing artists while exploring the delicate balance between personal creativity and the deeper creativity of silence, prayer, and self-surrender. Daily morning teaching will explore spiritual and historical aspects of the topic, including the “yoga” of chanting and psalmody, objective versus subjective art, “handling your muse” (i.e., dealing with the temptations of ecstasy and vainglory), getting to know some hidden gems of Benedictine liturgical arts while creating a few new ones of your own! Afternoon lab sessions will offer hands-on guidance in sacred chanting, drama, and movement under the guidance of experienced contemplative artists.
The seminar will be led by The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, who for nearly half a century has inimitably combined her love of contemplative spirituality with her equally deep love of the arts. An internationally acclaimed writer and retreat leader, she has been at the forefront of the Christian contemplative renewal, carrying forward the lineage of Thomas Keating and Centering Prayer. Wearing her other hat, she is a recognized medieval scholar and musicologist, who has performed extensively with various choral and collegium musicum groups as well as founding her own medieval drama company to help contemporary audience experience the lost liturgical arts.
Cynthia will help us collectively explore the principles of successfully melding contemplative reverence with creative energy in a successful liturgical performance and will be joined by Giovanni Felicioni who will lead us deeper into how the art of embodiment sustains these explorations.
This seminar is suitable—and warmly welcomes!!—both accomplished artists and those more timid about their performance skills. It is also suitable for those who do not consider themselves artists at all but simply want to learn more about the Benedictine tradition. There is something to learn, and something to share for everyone, with the main goal of helping us all to be more responsive and creative participants in the “wondrous exchange” that awaits us every time art and silence flow together into the ocean of God.
This retreat is both for the beginning and ongoing meditators. There will be four periods of meditation a day to accommodate your level of practice. Mornings will be in silence through breakfast and lunch, with the afternoon opening to times of rest and solitude and a convivial dinner where you can get to know your neighbour.
This event takes place at Bonnevaux and offers an opportunity to discover the rich cultural and historical French and European heritage of the 12th-century Abbaye de Bonnevaux, as well as to explore the varied and natural beauty of the land which we cultivate as a model of ecological responsibility.
"Spirituality and the Arts
in the Benedictine Tradition"
|Arrival||Tuesday 27 February 2024, check-in: 13h30 – 15h30|
|Departure||Sunday 3 March 2024, after lunch (15h00)|
|Shared / Twin rooms||450€|
The prices reflect the need to achieve self sufficiency. Therefore if you’re able to give a little more we would be very grateful. Please, click here to donate.
If you need a concession please let us know. We do not turn anybody away for lack of resources. Please, click the email address <firstname.lastname@example.org> to contact us.
At Bonnevaux, we aim for healthy, well-rounded, and nutritious meals. Please indicate your meal preference (non-vegetarian, vegetarian) below within the registration process.
* Unfortunately, we cannot cater to specific intolerances and allergies — we do not have the team or facilities for this. Please also be aware that traces of allergens (e.g. nuts) may be found in the food at Bonnevaux.
* We are committed to balancing protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber from organic meat, plant-based proteins, vegetables, un-processed carbs, grains, legumes and fruit.
* Gluten and Lactose intolerance: we cannot create individually tailored meals. Should the main course at lunch contain your intolerance, you can always choose from the vegetables on offer and rice (plus non-gluten bread). The salad and soup bar in the evening will offer you a variety to balance out and complement what you have eaten for breakfast and lunch.
* Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at: email@example.com.
This is a very popular retreat. The retreat center is now fully booked. We will open off-campus registrations shortly. Places are limited. Please give us your name, email and telephone number at the following email address <firstname.lastname@example.org>.and we will be in touch with you ASAP.
— Please ensure you have travel insurance in place as we cannot refund cancelled travel for any reason.
— If you cancel your Bonnevaux booking up to 30 days before the event starts, you will be refunded the full cost of the event. Cancellations occurring within 30 days of the event start will be offered a voucher for a future event. Bonnevaux reserves the right to cancel events at any point – cancellations occurring within 30 days prior to the event start date will be subject to the voucher refund policy only.
Membership Fee ** – 10€
Membership fee is paid once per year, valid from Jan – Dec.
** by French law you must be a ‘member‘ of the charity (association ABP) Abbaye de Bonnevaux – Centre Pour la Paix in order to participate at an on-the-ground event at Bonnevaux – 86370 Marçay, France.
Membership is non-binding. It simply means that you are invited to attend the annual general meeting if you wish and that you may receive information about our events during the year.
The Abbey of Bonnevaux is the spiritual home of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) which includes a Conference and Retreat Centre dedicated to peace. The on-the-ground activities of the Abbey are organized under the responsibility of l’Association Abbaye de Bonnevaux – Centre pour le Paix (ABP). The Association, which is governed by the French law of 1st July 1901, is registered in Poitiers under the reference RNA: W863007299.
Address : Bonnevaux, 86370 Marçay, France.
Phone number : 06 33 43 71 71 / 06 61 96 57 74.
José Pype (President of the Association); Giovanni Felicioni (Associate Director and Programme Manager)
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