Santa Sabina Center

November 12 to 15, 2015

Merton Centenary Retreat with Bonnie Thurston

Encountering the Other: A Contemplative Introduction to Thomas Merton’s Interfaith Experiences

Thomas Merton was a pioneer in interfaith dialogue. His inner journey opened him to exploring the contemplative across spiritual traditions. We are honoring Merton’s profound gifts to the spirituality of the 20th and 21st centuries as we commemorate his 100th centennial by an exploration of some of Merton’s ideas and writings about interfaith dialogue. We have invited Merton scholar, Bonnie Thurston, to guide us in understanding Merton’s contemplative center in Christianity, his interest in and the gifts he received from Buddhism and Islam, and his principles for interreligious encounter. We hope sharing Merton’s insights will help us expand our own understanding of and capacity for contemplation and engaging the Other.

Jude SicilianoBonnie Thurston, Merton and New Testament scholar and theologian, taught at the university level for thirty years. She is an experienced spiritual director and retreat leader and her poetry frequently appears in religious periodicals. She was a founding member of the International Thomas Merton Society, served as president and lectures widely on Merton in North America and Europe. She has a particular passion for his poetry and interreligious thought. We welcome Bonnie back to Santa Sabina from her quiet West Virginia hills for this Merton centenary retreat.

Fee: $425. Discounted fee for early registration by October 8: $375
Registration deposit: $150

December 3 to 6, 2015

Advent Retreat with Patrick Marrin

“Imagine That!”

Imagination is another name for the biblical “heart,” where all ideas, hopes and promises first take form. During Advent, Mary models for us how to welcome the Incarnation. She heard the Word with such deep faith in her heart that it became flesh in her womb. As she conceived, carried and gave birth to Jesus, she “pondered all these things in her heart,” again modeling for us how to find God in all things—especially our own unique, human experiences. Where such faith is present, Advent imagines Christmas, the Christ in us quickens and comes to birth, which is the goal of the Christian life.
The rich imagery in the Bible reveals the face of God, the living presence of Jesus, the mystery of the “Christ in us” found in St. Paul’s letters. Art, music, literature and all our relationships also reveal God. It has been said that if we cannot imagine something, it cannot happen. Advent encourages us to stir up our imaginations and to long for God with all our hearts.
Jude SicilianoPat Marrin is the editor of Celebration, the worship resource of the National Catholic Reporter. He produces a daily blog of sketches and scriptural reflections called “Pencil Preaching” and is the creator of “Francis the comic strip,” which appears in NCR and is syndicated on Before joining NCR in 1997, he chaired the Journalism department at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., and worked as newsroom illustrator, editorial cartoonist and book review editor at a daily newspaper in Topeka, Kan. Pat is married and lives in Kansas City, Mo.

Fee: $375. Discounted fee for early registration by October 29, $350
Registration deposit: $150

February 18 to 21, 2016

Retreat with John Philip Newell

The Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings

John Philip NewellFor many years now the Celtic poet, peacemaker, and scholar, Rev. Dr. John Philip Newell, has been teaching the sacredness of being, the “of-Godness” that is at the heart of our lives and all life. During this weekend retreat Newell will explore The Rebirthing of God, asking what it would look like if these true depths were to come forth again in radically new ways. And, in particular, he will challenge us to ask what Christianity’s blessing for the world could be if there were to be fresh birth from deep within. Together we will explore the major features of this birthing, especially coming back into relationship with the Earth as sacred, reverencing the Wisdom of other religious traditions, and living the way of Nonviolence. The question for participants is: Do we wish to be part of this new holy birth?

Fee: $425. Register by January 3 for discounted fee: $375
Registration deposit: $150

April 14 to 17, 2016

Retreat with Robert Ellsberg

Exploring Journey Faith

Robert EllsbergPope Francis speaks of journey faith and invites us to renew ourselves in the process. Ellsberg takes us into this exploration in the company of modern saints and spiritual masters, including Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Mother Teresa, Oscar Romero and Pope Francis himself. Together these inspiriting writers will help guide us on a journey inspired by faith, hope, and love, which is also marked at times by darkness and doubt, risk, discovery and conversion. Robert Ellsberg, publisher of Orbis Books, has spent most of his life writing about saints and spiritual masters. His books include All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time, The Saints’ Guide to Happiness, and Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion.

Fee: $425. Register by March 1 for discounted fee: $375
Registration deposit: $150

July 5 to 11, 2016

Contemplative Retreat with Michael Fish, OSB Cam.

Entering the Cave of the Heart: Wild with the Divine, A Journey

Michael Fish, OSB Cam.A contemplative seven-day retreat. The spiritual journey leads us, like our ancestors in the Hebrew Testament and Jesus, himself, into the wildness of the desert, the wilderness of prayer, the cave of self-knowing. We discover our wildness, our creativity, our humor, our doubts and despair, and ultimately our surrender to power of the Spirit moving through us. In the contemplative silence of this week-long retreat, Michael will lead us to deepen that discovery of oneness and surrender. Presentations will be balanced with time for rest, prayer, creative expression and enjoying the beauty that surrounds Santa Sabina.
Michael Fish is a Camaldolese monk and a member of the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur California. He currently lives as a hermit in solitude and prayer. Solitude is only part of his calling and he offers retreats, talks and spiritual direction to his brothers and sisters in religious and lay communities.

Fee: $675. Register by May 15 for discounted fee: $625
Registration deposit: $250

August 2 to 6, 2016

Contemplative Retreat with James Finley, Ph.D.

Entering the Landscape of the Mystics

James Finley, Ph.D.A contemplative five-day retreat. James Finley, psychologist and student of Merton and the mystical tradition, is one of the best contemporary teachers on mysticism. This silent contemplative retreat will allow us time to deepen our own grounding in the contemplative. We will engage with stories from the mystical tradition, take time for silence and for sharing insights and spiritual practices that support a centered conscious way of being.
James 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.

Fee: $600. Register by June 15 for discounted fee: $550
Registration deposit: $200

November 10 to 13, 2016

Writing Retreat with Jane Hirshfield

Poetry and Permeability: Writing through Words, Silence, and Attention

Jane HirshfieldPoetry is a path to conjure, transform, evoke, counter, unravel, expose, and surprise our relationship to our own lives and the lives of others. Mystery and generosity are part of any genuinely creative act. So too is the ability to make of ourselves a passageway and conduit, to the large, the particular, the joyous and sorrowful, the unexpected. These energies of poem-making, like the energies of existence itself, are ultimately undomesticable forces. Yet they can be invited, welcomed. The cultivation of an open and permeable attention will be the taproot of this gathering. Participants will have the opportunity to undertake new writing and to contemplate the poems of others during times of silence and in conversation. Participants are asked to bring writing materials and three poems not their own and not over one page in length which they particularly admire.
Internationally renowned poet, essayist and translator Jane Hirshfield is the author of fourteen much-honored books. Her most recent are The Beauty (poems) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (essays), both published by Knopf in 2015. Her honors include the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and The Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. And, her books have been named best books of the year by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, and England’s Financial Times. Hirshfield’s work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Poetry, and eight editions of The Best American Poetry. She is a current Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Fee: $425. Register by October 1 for discounted fee: $375
Registration deposit: $150

December 2 to 4, 2016

Advent Poustinia with Margaret Diener, OP and Raya Hanlon, OP.

Join us for a quiet time to open to the blessings of Advent, season of welcoming rebirth and light. Days will be marked by times of common prayer, Eucharist and silence, and an evening of prayer for the needs of the Earth community.

Fee: $275. Register by November 1 for discounted fee: $250
Registration deposit: $150