Seeing with the Heart

In this four-day teaching retreat we will explore a rich and remarkably little known treasury of teaching and practices in the Christian contemplative tradition

“It is only with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye,” says Antoine de Saint- Exupery in his beloved classic The Little Prince. His wisdom seems more timely than ever as our world slowly emerges from a year of pandemic winnowing and we muster the courage and clarity to rebuild. What is truly essential? What must be let go of or radically refashioned? How do we steer a balanced course between the head and the emotions? In this four day teaching retreat we will explore a rich and remarkably little known treasury of teaching and practices in the Christian contemplative tradition developed to nurture this deeper heart seeing, traditionally known as “vigilance” or “attention of the heart.” 

Sheltered in the sturdy rhythms of the Benedictine monastic tradition as it is lived here at Bonnevaux, we will explore how each of the daily components—meditation, silence, conscious practical work, and liturgical prayer, augmented in this retreat by specific exercises to deepen embodiment and expand attention—work to together to open the “eye” of the heart.

The retreat begins with evening prayer and meditation at 18:00, followed by dinner on the 9th Nov (please check-in at the Abbaye between 14:00 – 17:30 on the 9th Nov). The retreat ends on Saturday 13th at 14:00 and includes lunch. This retreat is in English and on-the-ground (not online) at l’Abbaye de Bonnevaux, France.

All our events taking place at Bonnevaux offer 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.

Arrival and Departure

ARRIVAL: Tues 9 Nov, check-in : 14:00 – 17:30.

DEPARTURE: Sat 13 Nov, 14:00

Contribution for the Retreat


4 days with room, board and instruction


4 days with board and instruction


Membership fee is paid once per year, valid strictly 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.


To register please email “contact@bonnevauxabp.com“, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Cynthia Bourgeault

Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, and theologian. For thirty years she worked closely with Fr. Thomas Keating as a student, editor, and colleague and has taught and written extensively on Centering Prayer. She is a core faculty member at the Center for Action and Contemplation and founding director of an international network of Wisdom Schools. In addition to her work on Centering Prayer, she is the author of numerous other books on the Christian Mystical and Wisdom tradition, including The Wisdom Jesus, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, and her most recent, Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm.

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.
Director of the publication: José Pype (President of the Association); Giovanni Felicioni (Associate Director and Director of Programmes)
Site hosting: Flywheel


Nov 09 - 13 2021


Abbaye de Bonnevaux
86370 Marçay, France
Cynthia Bourgeault


Cynthia Bourgeault