Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Monastic Wisdom in Daily Life:A Path to Peace and Community – IN PERSON

We are living in turbulent times. In so many ways it seems that as a species we have forgotten how to live in well with each other and the rest of creation. 

And yet, in the depths of who we are, there is a wellspring of love that is always calling us to an original harmony, to replace competition with collaboration, rivalry with friendship. 

1,500 years ago, St. Benedict wrote a Rule for monastic life which has been one of the most influential texts in the history of Western Europe. In a world facing so many challenges, Benedict’s simple guide for a school of love in community offers us a wealth of transformative wisdom.

Where should we begin? Precisely where we are, says Benedict, in our everyday life and relationships.

How do we begin? We must learn to “Listen carefully,” to “attend with the ear of your heart.”

“Monasticism,” says the Benedictine Joan Chittister, “is the single-hearted search for what matters in life. Any life. Every life.” In this sense, the monastic heart is not only to be found within someone wearing a habit, but is to be found within all of us.

With help from Benedictine teachers across the centuries, we will explore key aspects of this timeless wisdom tradition which are of huge importance for our time, including:

  • Listening: as key to spiritual growth in community
  • Humility: the path of self-knowledge, equality and peace
  • Attention and Awareness: the path of balance, harmony, wholeness
  • The Monastic Vision for today: a priceless gift for a suffering world.

The Rule isn’t a set of spiritual exercises, disciplines or devotions. It’s not even a “rule” in the modern sense of the word. It is a wisdom-path for a school of love in community, a guide to help us live our ordinary lives extraordinarily well. For 1,500 years Benedict’s “little Rule for beginners” has helped countless people learn to embrace the ordinary moments and tasks of their day as windows of grace, to become conscious of their immersion in God, to discover who we are meant to be through learning to live well together. 

This day will be relevant and accessible to anyone searching for truth and peace, regardless of their faith or beliefs.


The day will involve a flow of short talks, silent meditation practice and conversation. Walking meditation in the beautiful grounds of the Abbey will be offered if the weather allows for this. You are welcome to bring a packed lunch or buy food and drink from Prinknash Abbey cafe.

Event Leader

Chris Whittington is the Founder of The School of Contemplative Life. He was introduced to contemplative practice during several years of formation when he lived at the Benedictine monastery of Prinknash Abbey. Chris’ monastic teachers, including Sylvester Houedard OSB, taught meditation as a universal wisdom found within all the great spiritual traditions, a pathway to peace and solidarity with people of all faiths and none. Following an introduction by the Abbot of the Prinknash community, Chris subsequently studied at the Dalai Lama’s monastery in Dharamshala, India. Chris regularly delivers talks, workshops and retreats and has introduced the practice of meditation in the Christian tradition to thousands of people in the UK and abroad.
Words from Rev’d Dr. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

“I am delighted that there is a concrete opportunity for developing this new initiative in seeking to open doors into Christian wisdom for those who may have little previous awareness of its resources. This will be a chance for Christians of all traditions to discover new openings for growth in contemplative maturity.”

Words from Martin Laird OSA, Author of Into the Silent Land

”The School of Contemplative Life will surely rate among the most significant responses to the spiritual longings of the people of this nation and abroad through its well thought out programme of retreats, guidance and other opportunities to assist the Christian community to the wellspring of silence and compassion flowing within. Quite simply, there is no other centre in this country dedicated to cultivating the human discovery of its groundless Ground, that eternal Mystery ever hidden with Christ in God.”

Words from past participants

“I loved all the teaching, the practices, the conversations, the warm welcome and delicious treats! My first visit to Prinknash and certainly not my last.”

“I greatly valued being with other members of the practice community in person. Praying together and getting to know each other is so supportive in maintaining practice and feeling part of something bigger, spiritually and humanly. It is rare these days to feel rest in a spiritual setting and to know that our theological perspectives resonate deeply. “

Terms and pricing policy

Please refer to our website for the terms and conditions associated with this event. If you need to cancel for whatever reason after booking, please get in touch with us as soon as possible and we will try to find a solution. In the event that we cannot fill your place, the cost may not be refundable.

All our paid-for events are priced to simply cover costs (rather than make a profit) so they are as accessible as possible. However, we realise that even the most reasonably priced ticket can be difficult sometimes, so we invite people to get in touch if this is the case. 

For information about the School of Contemplative Life, please visit our website:


Prinknash Abbey Centre, GL4 8EX

Prinknash Abbey | Sat 20 July | £30

Monastic Retreats