By Joyce Rothermel
Thomas Merton, TMC namesake, was a contemplative monk, yet he wrote to us about how we too can be contemplatives outside monastery walls and still live activist lives. One of Merton’s contemporaries whom he taught at the Abbey of Gethsemani was James Finley. Finley, himself an author, now gives retreats that build on Merton’s writings.
Via Skype, Finley will join Cheryl Rose, HM in leading a retreat at Villa Maria Conference Center in Villa Maria, PA, beginning at 7 pm Friday, May 1 and ending noon on Sunday, May 3, entitled: “Exploring the Foundations of Contemplative Living in the Midst of the World.”
At the retreat, Finley will be present at three live-streamed video sessions assisted on site by Sr. Cheryl. Together they will help participants explore ways to live a more contemplative way of life in the midst of today’s world. The retreat will begin by paying close attention to fleeting moments of contemplatively resting in God’s presence in the midst of nature, in marital love, in solitary silence and other realms of human experience. Retreatants will see how fidelity to prayer and meditation can help them to live in more daily abiding awareness of the depths so fleetingly glimpsed, and how this awareness spills over into more compassionate and loving ways to be with others day by day. Time will be given for shared sessions of silent meditation and discussion of the themes presented.
James Finley, Ph.D. lived as a monk at the cloistered Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where the world-renowned monk and author, Thomas Merton, was his spiritual director. Dr. Finley leads retreats and workshops throughout the United States and Canada, attracting men and women from all religious traditions who seek to live a contemplative way of life in the midst of today’s busy world. He is also a clinical psychologist in private practice with his wife in Santa Monica, California. James Finley is the author of: Merton’s Palace of Nowhere, The Contemplative Heart and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God.
Cheryl Rose, HM has always been drawn to the mystery of the human encounter with God, engaging in ministry in the area of spirituality and personal growth all along, even as a high school teacher of chemistry and physics. She has taught courses on prayer and the spiritual journey, directed retreats for youth, school staffs, non-profits, and parishes. She has been doing spiritual direction and retreat work for many years. As a trained spiritual director and certified Enneagram teacher, Sr. Cheryl offers a variety of workshops for groups in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
Cost for the weekend is $215. The fee includes the Retreat, Lodging, and Meals from Light Supper on Friday to Lunch on Sunday. For more information and to register, call 724-964-8886 to speak with a conference center staff member.
The conference center is located at 2067 Evergreen Road, Villa Maria, PA 16155. If interested in carpooling from the Pittsburgh area to the retreat, please call Joyce Rothermel at 412-780- 5118.
Joyce Rothermel is a long time follower of Thomas Merton and member of the Thomas Merton Center.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 2. March, 2020. All rights reserved.