Benedictine Experience Retreats
For many people who would never consider themselves monastic, a Benedictine Experience cultivates and nourishes that monastic dimension within them.
How Benedictine Experiences Began
The Benedictine Experience began more than thirty years ago when Esther DeWaal was writing her spiritual classic, Seeking God. She invited people to Canterbury Cathedral to experience for a week the Benedictine rhythm of prayer, work, study, and rest in community. She was later awarded the Templeton Prize for her work with the Benedictine Experience.
Friends of St. Benedict was created (as an independent charitable organization) to continue the Benedictine Experience, which it offers in special, "thin places" around the US and at Canterbury Cathedral in the UK.
Experiencing Community in Daily Life
Based on the wisdom and practice of the Rule of Benedict, participants become a temporary religious community, sharing a balanced day of prayer, study, work and leisure. The framework of each day is the daily worship of God, including prayer offices that begin with Morning Prayer/ Matins, continue with Eucharist, Evening Prayer/ Vespers, and Compline or Night Prayer at the close of the day.
Daily lectures or meditations are led by a gifted faculty, with time following for questions and discussion as well as for silence and meditation. Because the work of the hands is a vital part of the Benedictine way, participants are encouraged to take part in some practical work. Evenings allow time for group reflection and discussion, as well as communal silence. The day finishes with Compline and then we enter the Great Silence, which continues until after breakfast the following morning.
This daily rhythm of prayer, work, study, and rest allows us to deepen our prayer life and reflect on Benedictine values of listening, attentiveness, humility, love, hospitality, and community. This time of living and praying in community is directed towards grounding our lives in the love of Christ.
Upcoming Benedictine Experiences