Monasteries of the Heart

Meet MOH Community Leaders

Learn more about our MOH community leaders. Interested in starting an online community? Click here.
For information on starting an on-site community, click here.

Jackie Burns and prison volunteers visit Erie

MOH continues to pursue the possibilities of bringing MOH into prisons through the faithful services of prison chaplains and prison volunteers. Recently four such women, visiting the Mount for a retreat experience, sat down with Sister Mary Ellen Plumb to share ideas and enthusiasm around this worthwhile pursuit. Mary Ellen shares her reflection on their visit:

Profile: Pat Cuccia, Leader of Seaford, Long Island

Pat Cuccia is the leader of one of our earliest MOH communities, the Seaford, Long Island MOH community. They have been meeting on the last Wednesday of each month since August, 2011. Sr .Mary Ellen spoke with Pat at length about her MOH community and her own experience as a community leader.

What have been your most touching experiences as the leader of your MOH community and for the community itself?

Interview with Kelly Adamson

You may recall that the MOH on site monastery from Ohio Wesleyan was featured on this website as the first student MOH community. I recently sat down with Kelly Adamson, an Oblate of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie and founding leader of the Ohio Wesleyan MOH community, to share her ideas on MOH communities on college and university campuses. My hope is that her insights and experience may inspire others who work with college students to follow suit.

Profile: Ron (oblate Andrew), of Benedictine Spirituality & Addiction Recovery MOH

1. What would you say was the key reason that led you to offer an online monastery?
Self-help groups like A.A. and Smart Recovery do not include spirituality in their programs. I met a few people who wanted to discuss the role of God in their recovery. MOH is the quickest, easiest, broadest way for us to get together.

Profile: Patricia, leader of Heartlinks Monastery

1. What would you say was the key reason that lead you to offer an online monastery?
I felt committing to leading a group would help me be more consistent with my own spiritual practices and that the exchange with others would take me to a deeper level of spiritual growth. I have experienced both! I loved the idea of being part of a new and creative way of exploring spiritual issues that was ecumenical and free to focus on God without hierarchical trappings.

Profile: Padre Bob, leader of Cistercian Monastery of the Heart

1. What would you say was the key reason that led you to offer an online monastery?
A key reason that leads me to offer an online monastery experience is my belief that people have a genuine hunger for intense spirituality that they cannot find in traditional, individual, church practices and expressions.

Profile: Care for Creation Monastery of the Heart

Members of the Care for Creation monastery wrote these responses as a community activity.

1. Why did you join this online monastery?
As leader, Janet offered this monastery for those committed to care for the wellbeing of all creation. Others joined to share that vision. One wrote, it “is a place where my concerns for all manifestations of life can be discussed.” Some had found the conversation on the main MOH page was quenching a deep thirst and wanted a way to keep that conversation going. One expressed “a yearning for like-minded like-hearted companions and an opportunity to genuinely commit.” Another wrote, “I was looking for some sort of spiritual ‘place’ in which I could be grounded and brought back to my center.”

2. What has been the biggest surprise in the experience for you?

Barbara Redmond and Jane Eggleston -- on MOH in prison
Barbara and Jane

Barbara Redmond and Jane Eggleston each lead separate Monasteries of the Heart groups in the state prison for women Corona, California. The two long time chaplain volunteers reflect on why they started MOH in prison.

After being with the women for a good number of years, we have learned how the HEART is bigger than any fence any person or institution may build—razor wired, stone, woman or man made.

Profile: Kathleen Schatzberg, leader of Monastery of Our Stories

1. What would you say was the key reason that lead you to offer an online monastery?
I've been interested in online communities for almost two decades. I previously tried forming an online discussion group for people who, like me, had attended a retreat with Sr. Joan. I also joined Monasteries of the Heart when it went live, and was fascinated by the idea of online spiritual communities. So when Sr. Mary Lou asked me if I would form a group as that function was added to MOH, I could hardly say no, knowing I can always go to the MOH team for advice.

Profile: Irish, leader of Ora et Labora Monastery

1. What would you say was the key reason that lead you to offer an online monastery?
The truth: I was too proud to say no to Sr. Mary Lou when she asked me. I was totally caught off guard. Then I realized that is was a real opportunity to deepen my own prayer life, to get to know and share in a very special way with others. I would have to do extra reading and praying, but the payoff would far surpass the effort and time I would put into this – and it has.