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“And the song remains beautiful”

This retreat draws on the witness of those who glimpse the “whole” in the tumble of this fragmented and broken world.

Our work will be to join those “poets,” medieval and modern, who invite us to risk opening ourselves to beauty’s embrace: Hildegard, Meister Eckhart, and Julian of Norwich from the Middle Ages; Rainer Maria Rilke, Hilde Domin, SAID, and others among the “moderns.”

What joins such varied voices is their conviction that “when we awaken to the call of beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world” (John O’Donohue).

What draws us to their witness is the sense that, come what may, “the song remains. . .beautiful” (Rilke).

Come ready to discover how beauty “frees [us] from ourselves,” as a contemporary philosopher recently put it, and how it frees us to ourselves, to each other, and to our world.

Come to discover how beauty “belongs to the advent to truth” (Heidegger), and to engage what Rilke called the “heart-work” that grounds us in beauty, with all its surfaces and depths—yours, ours, and that of the earth.

Come to live more reflectively into the deep change that is your life.

This retreat is both for the beginning and ongoing meditators. There will be four periods of meditation a day to accommodate your level of practice. Mornings will be in silence through breakfast and lunch, with the afternoon opening to times of rest and solitude and a convivial dinner where you can get to know your neighbour.

This event takes place at Bonnevaux and offers an opportunity to discover the rich cultural and historical French and European heritage of the 12th-century Abbaye de Bonnevaux, as well as to explore the varied and natural beauty of the land which we cultivate as a model of ecological responsibility.

Mark S. Burrows

Mark S. Burrows is a poet, translator, and teacher, much sought-after in Europe, the UK, and the United States as a retreat leader and speaker. A scholar of medieval history and an award-winning translator and poet, he taught in graduate theological schools in the United States before accepting a university professorship in Religion and Literature in Bochum (Germany) from 2013 – 2020. His interests explore the intersections of mysticism, spirituality, and poetics. Recent publications include The Chance of Home. Poems (2018), The Wandering Radiance. Selected Poems of Hilde Domin (2023), Meister Eckhart’s Book of Darkness and Light: Meditations on the Path of the Wayless Way (2023), and a new translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus (forthcoming in March, 2024). He has led many programs for the WCCM in the Meditatio Centre (London) and is a member of the Iona Community. He lives and writes in Camden, Maine. 

ArrivalWednesday 9 October 2024, check-in: 13h30 – 15h30
DepartureMonday 14 October 2024, after lunch (14h00)