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 Spirituality of Mary Oliver: Putting Ourselves in the Way of Grace

Perhaps more than any other contemporary poet, Mary Oliver sought to uncover what St. Bernard of Clairvaux called “the real behind the real.” Her explorations of nature, insights into human nature and her keen perception of creation bring us not only into contact with “the soul of the world,” but with the very nature of God and that spark of the divine within us. Using her poetry as a guide, we will refresh our spirits, deepen our kinship with all of creation, and perhaps even answer the challenge one of her most famous poems poses to us all: “What is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”

Join us on Zoom on Saturday, February 26, 10-12 p.m. ET