Monasteries of the Heart

When you become a member of Monasteries of the Heart you receive free weekly practices that can help you develop a monastic spirituality—prayer, lectio (reflective reading), good works, study and community. You also receive free inspirational words each week from three monastic blogs, including one by Sister Joan Chittister. And you join a worldwide community whose members discuss meaningful issues and are intent on impacting the times.

Scripture is often used for lectio, slow meditative reading, but lectio can be done with all of God's texts — photos, art, nature, poetry, music and experiences in your life.

Monastic prayer is steeped in the psalms, scripture and silence and, as St. Benedict urged, it should be brief.

Good Work—work that blesses all creation—is integral to monastic life. Monasteries of the Heart asks its members to focus its good works in three areas: Celebrate Beauty, Honor the Word, and Practice Nonviolence.

Community is of the essence of Benedictine life. In Monasteries of the Heart what is important is that we each be an extension of the gospel, of each other and of Benedictine spirituality.

Instruction on monastic spirituality and way of life is essential if members of Monasteries of the Heart are to carry forward and keep alive the ancient Benedictine tradition.

In addition to new weekly content, Monasteries of the Heart offers members regular online courses, retreats and book discussions. While some of this curriculum content is free, many of the courses and retreats have a small fee. Courses and retreats usually include several emails a week, exclusive video or audio content and a facilitated discussion. Click here.

Open access to eCourses

Seeking God in Community
Community is an important gift that Benedictines give to the world—even in a time of pandemic. Until recently, monastic community only existed when strangers came to monasteries to seek God.... But in the past weeks, we are inhabiting virtual worlds. Is community possible there? Click here.

Mary of Nazareth: Reflections from Joan Chittister
Let this meditative, chanted Hail Mary and reflections from Joan Chittister on Mary as a strong woman who lived through difficult and trying circumstances—but found the fingerprint of God in all of them—bring you some comfort and hope. Click here.

Next Course or Retreat to be offered

Four to six courses and retreats are offered each year at Monasteries of the Heart. This is our next online offering.

The Gift of Holy Leisure

Are you always feeling pulled in a million different directions? Constantly lamenting that you’re just too busy, running from one project to the next? Consider a different way of living. Enroll in a new Monasteries of the Heart eCourse, “The Gift of Holy Leisure: 7 Poems on the Art of Wasting Time,” for a chance to catch your breath. 

In this three week eCourse, facilitated by Sisters Mary Lou Kownacki and Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, you will engage with the Benedictine ideal of holy leisure, which Joan Chittister describes as “the foundation of contemplation.” The eCourse will delve deeply into 7 poems, by authors like William Stafford and Naomi Shihab Nye, to inspire you to build a more reflective, joyful life.

The course runs May 9 - 27, 2022