Monasteries of the Heart

Description of courses available for $75; one-year access

Multiple Course Option Two


Study and reflect on your time at your pace. With this one-time enrollment fee you will have access to these ten eCourses for a full year. The content varies by course and includes text, video and audio. Each course is also available separately. Scroll down for individual descriptions and selections.

Comments are not open on these courses.

Get ONE YEAR access.

Multiple eCourse Access

Study and reflect on your time at your pace. With this one-time enrollment fee you will have access to these ten eCourses for a full year. The content varies by course and includes text, video and audio. Each course is also available separately. Scroll down for individual descriptions and selections.

Comments are not open on these courses.

Get ONE YEAR access.

Gift of Years

How do you view the aging process? Is it tinged with anxiety and regret? Or do you see it as an adventure, a time to find meaning, and a ripening? Or, is it a little of both?

Gift of Years, a four-week eCourse based on Joan Chittister’s best-selling book by the same name, offers you the chance to look at this time of maturation with fresh eyes, with joy for what has been and optimism for what is to come. Each week you will receive two brief videos from Sister Joan exploring a theme of aging such as meaning, time, joy, regret, spirituality, legacy…. In the video messages from Sister Joan, discussion questions, and an invitation to explore with others the blessing and challenge of each theme, you will be guided to embrace a vision of elderhood as a blessed time to be alive.

VIEW  the first of nine videos included in this course:

This eCourse originally appeared at www.spiritualityandpractice.com in 2013.

The Gift of Years book (not required for the eCourse) is on sale and available here.

Beatitudes of Peace with John Dear

Have you wondered what Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” or “Blessed are the meek”? Have you ever asked yourself if these Beatitudes are merely spiritual ideals or teachings that can ground and center your life choices?

In “The Beatitudes of Peace,” author and peace activist John Dear will offer fresh insights into the Beatitudes, including a new rendering of the Beatitudes based on an Aramaic translation. “Jesus was inviting us to ‘Arise! Get up, get moving and walk forth! you poor, you poor in spirit …Arise! Get up, get moving and walk forth, you who mourn….,’” Dear says.

Through four videos from Dear, discussion questions and creative exercises, you will be invited to meet the challenges of our present times by reclaiming Jesus’ radical framework for the Reign of God.

View clip from the eCourse.

Great Monastic Women

How much time do you devote to your inner life?

The truth is that enriching your inner life can change your outlook on just about everything. And, fortunately, there are many spiritual giants whose own journeys to wholeness can guide you as you search for fullness and meaning. Where did figures like Dorothy Day or Saints Hildegard of Bingen, Gertrude or Scholastica, for example, find the inspiration for their lives and work? How did they connect with the divine? What difference can their witness make in your life?

This Monasteries of the Heart eRetreat, Great Monastic Women, will introduce you to the life and times of these four Benedictine women who shaped, challenged, and embraced the monastic tradition, and it will offer you the opportunity to pray as they did, through sacramental rituals, psalms, chants, and other forms of prayer.

Facilitated by Sister Anne McCarthy and Oblate Jacqueline Small.

How Shall We Live

“How shall I live?” Isn’t that the question each of us presses to our heart as we move through our days? It’s the same question that Benedict of Nursia addressed 1,500 years ago.

In her book, Radical Christian Life, Sister Joan Chittister selected and commented on six pillars that she believes are integral to Saint Benedict’s Rule and essential to meeting the challenges of our times. The six monastic values are: work, holy leisure, stewardship, community, humility and peace.

In this eCourse, you will be invited to explore these “six pillars” through the ancient writings of the Rule and the Life and Miracles of Saint Benedict as well as the creative insight of Sister Joan, monastic tales and contemporary wisdom. The eCourse will be facilitated by Sister Mary Ellen Plumb, a beloved teacher for Monasteries of the Heart, who is convinced that the six values presented here can help all seekers live an ordinary life extraordinarily well.

Monastery Scribes

Is keeping a spiritual journal—a kind of heart-to-heart conversation with other seekers, poets, mystics, and saints—a practice you’d like to explore? If so, then consider becoming a Monastery Scribe. This eCourse includes poems, a reflective passages, an art pieces, a musical pieces, or a prayers along with writing prompts for you to play with. Selections are chosen from a variety of sources and sacred traditions. What can you expect from this eCourse? At least one surprise about yourself—what you believe, what you care about, what is your heart’s desire. And, if you’re lucky, a touch more inner freedom. Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, is the facilitator.

 

Give Me a Word

In the early centuries, seekers desiring a deeper spiritual life went and sought direction from seasoned monks saying, “Amma (mother) or Abba (father), give me a word." The same word might be offered over and over, year after year, until finally its meaning revealed itself to the seeker. This Lent, go into the "desert spaces" of your own life with Give Me A Word, drawing on Sister Joan Chittister’s 2015 book In God’s Holy Light. Journey with the Desert Mothers and Fathers, who grappled with the same struggles you do and whose truths and insights have stood the test of time. Give Me A Word offers you an opportunity to get to know yourself— even the parts you might ignore— in a new and fresh way.

Give Me A Word includes contemporary commentaries by Joan Chittister on wisdom stories by the desert monastics, other desert wisdom readings including poems, and scripture, and reflections from spiritual writers, and response prompts for participants. Facilitated by Sister Mary Ellen Plumb and Oblate Jacqueline Small, Monasteries of the Heart staff.

Friendship of Women

The best defense against the rampant sexism in our culture is the support, friendship, and sisterhood that women can offer each other. “Friendship is the sacrament of possibility,” writes Joan Chittister. What might become possible for this world—sickened for generations by violence and cruelty toward women— if we develop true, holy friendships?

Learn which qualities make a friendship strong and give it the potential to be transformative, by participating in Friendship of Women, an eCourse based on Sister Joan’s beloved book Friendship of Women: The Hidden Tradition of the Bible. This eCourse will introduce you to women from the scriptures whose lives have often been overlooked, but who can model for us all what it means to encourage, accept, and care for other women. As you listen to Sister Joan discussing the qualities that characterize true friendship, you will be prompted to consider your own friendships and relationships, to pray with these women of God and the women close to your own heart, and to grow into your full potential as a friend and an advocate. Facilitated by Sister Mary Ellen Plumb and Oblate Jacqueline Small, Monasteries of the Heart staff.

Respond with Nonviolence

Overwhelmed by the magnitude of threats to peace in our world today?
Tempted to curl up in a ball and hide until it’s all straightened out?
Find yourself spewing indiscriminate anger instead of using focused anger at injustice?
Or wondering if a refresher course in nonviolence would be helpful right about now?

If any of these speak to you, then consider this eCourse in Benedictine spirituality and nonviolent action. Peace and relationships based on justice and respect are hallmarks of Benedict’s Rule. This eCourse will be more workshop than retreat with prayer, input, and nonviolent experiments complete with evaluation process and feedback loop. Facilitated by Sister Anne McCarthy, Monasteries of the Heart staff.

What’s included:

  • Audio teachings on Benedictine spirituality and nonviolence
  • Short reflections and accessible suggestions for action or response.

Pages