a series of talks on silent prayer and
contemplative living in today's world
|Cynthia Bourgeault||Cyprian Consiglio||Kevin Culligan||James Finley||Laurence Freeman|
|Robert Fruehwirth||Edwina Gateley
|Esther de Waal
||Sr Ilia Delio OSF
||Anthony Blake||David Tacey
Esther de Waal lives in a small cottage on the Welsh/English border. After studying and teaching history at Cambridge University, she married, had four sons, and moved to Canterbury, where she lived in a house that had been part of the medieval monastic community. She leads retreats, lectures, and travels widely. Her major interests are the fields of the Benedictine and Celtic traditions.
Her many books include: Seeking God: the Way of St Benedict; Living with Contradiction: Benedictine Wisdom for Everyday Living; A Life-giving Way: a Commentary on the Rule of St Benedict; The Celtic Way of Prayer; World Made Whole: Rediscovering the Celtic Tradition; A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton, and The Extraordinary in the Ordinary.
Dr de Waal gave the first talk in our series on 23 June 2007. She spoke on Contemplative Living in Today's World: an exploration of Benedictine and Celtic spirituality and its value for life in the modern world. Taking the two great dimensions of Time and Space, she invited us to consider the ways in which Benedict's Rule can guide us towards harmony and balance in our use of time; and she described the way in which the cloister and its garden can symbolise both outer and inner space. An edited version of her talk is available here.
She also opened our second series, on 25 October 2008, with the first of two talks (Thomas Merton and the Camera as a Tool for Contemplation) intended to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Fr Thomas Merton.
Born in London in 1951, Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB was taught meditation by John Main, and became his successor. Fr. Laurence is the spiritual guide of The World Community for Christian Meditation, and a Benedictine monk. He leads retreats and seminars worldwide, and nurtures interfaith understanding. His books include Jesus – the Teacher Within, Light Within, The Selfless Self, Web of Silence and Common Ground.
A summary of the talk Fr Laurence gave in our first season, in December 2007, The One-ness of Silence, based on notes taken by a member of the Silence in the City team, is available here.
Fr Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province. He was the founder of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971, and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986, where he presently serves as Founding Director.
He was born in 1943 in Kansas. He entered the Franciscans in 1961 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He received his Master's Degree in Theology from Dayton that same year. He now lives in a hermitage behind his Franciscan community in Albuquerque, and divides his time between local work, and preaching and teaching on all continents. He considers the proclamation of the Gospel to be his primary call, and uses many different platforms to communicate that message. Scripture as liberation, the integration of action and contemplation, community building, peace and justice issues, male spirituality, the enneagram, and eco-spirituality would all be themes that he addresses in service of the Gospel.
He is probably best known for his numerous audio and video tapes, and through the Center's publication, Radical Grace. He is a regular contributing editor/writer for Sojourners magazine and recently published a 7-part Lenten Series for the National Catholic Reporter.
He first spoke to us on What the Silence Reveals: the peace and struggle of contemplative prayer, on 9 December 2007. His second talk, The Consequences of the Contemplative Heart, given on 26 August 2010.
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia
Bourgeault is an author, lecturer, hermit, and scholar.
She is also a retreat and conference leader, teacher of
prayer, writer on the spiritual life, and Episcopal
priest. Passionately committed to the recovery of the
Christian contemplative path, she
has worked closely with Fr Thomas Keating and Fr Bruno
Barnhart and other Christian contemplative masters. She
has studied Sufism, the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, and
the inner traditions of Christianity. And when she isn't
teaching Centering Prayer or giving lectures around the
world, she spends half the year in the solitude of a
Trappist hermitage on Eagle Island, Maine.
She is the author of Mystical
Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God (2001);,Love
is Stronger Than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls (2002),
Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to
Awaken the Heart (2003), Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (2004), Chanting
the Psalms: A Practical Guide with Instructional CD (2006), The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and
Mind - a New Perspective on Christ and His Message (2008), The Meaning of Mary
Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of
Christianity (2010), and many articles on the
Recordings of her previous Silence in the City talks are available on CD and can be ordered here.
In June 2011, Cynthia gave a weekend workshop in Norwich on The Wisdom Jesus. MP3 recordings of her talks that weekend are avaiable here.
Jean Vanier is the founder of l’Arche, an international organization that creates communities where people with learning disabilities and those who assist them share life together.
The son of Georges Vanier, Governor General of Canada, he was born in Geneva in 1928. After service in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, and looking for deeper meaning in his life, in 1950 he resigned his commission to pursue studies in France where he received a PhD from L'Institut Catholique de Paris for his thesis on Aristotle.
In 1964, through his friendship with a Dominican priest Father Thomas Philippe, he became aware of the plight of thousands of people institutionalized with learning disabilities. He felt led by God to invite two men, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux, to leave the institutions where they resided and share their lives with him in a real home in Trosly-Breuil, France. He named their home L'Arche, meaning "the ark". From this original community in France, 130 other communities have been founded throughout the world.
Although L'Arche communities are found in many different cultures and reflect the ethnic and religious composition of the locales in which they exist, they share a common philosophy and approach. The goal of L'Arche is to bring together people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them to live and work to create homes, recognizing one another’s unique value and gifts.
In 1964, inspired by his belief that community can change the world, Jean Vanier founded Faith and Sharing, a worldwide movement of annual retreats where people from all walks of life are welcome. In 1971, he co-founded Faith and Light with Marie Hélène Mathieu. Faith and Light groups, composed of people with developmental disabilities, their family and friends, meet regularly to discuss hopes and difficulties and to pray together. Vanier points out that when confronted with human brokenness and weakness, people often find a God whose love is without limitation. Today there are over 1400 Faith and Light communities around the world.
Until the late 1970's, Jean Vanier carried the responsibility for L'Arche in Trosly-Breuil in France and for the International Federation of L'Arche. He stepped down from these responsibilities, to spend more time today counselling, encouraging and accompanying people who come to live in L'Arche as assistants to those with disabilities. He still makes his home in the original community of Trosly-Breuil, France. He also travels widely, visiting other L'Arche communities, encouraging projects for new communities, and giving lectures and retreats.
Jean Vanier has become a leader in consciousness-raising about the suffering of all who are marginalized in our world, the lonely and the dispossessed. He is internationally recognized for his compelling vision of what it means to live a fully human life and for his social and spiritual leadership in building a compassionate society. He has written a number of best-selling books.
A recording of his talk, The Silence of Tenderness, given in London on 7 June 2008, on two CDs, is available here.
James Finley, Ph.D. lived as a monk at the cloistered Trappist monastery of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where the world-renowned monk and author, Thomas Merton, was his spiritual director. He has led retreats and workshops throughout the United States and Canada, attracting men and women from all religious traditions who seek to live a contemplative way of life in the midst of today's busy world. He is a clinical psychologist in private practice with his wife in Santa Monica, California.
His first talk, Falling into Silence: an exploration of Thomas Merton's relevance for our time, was the second marking of the 40th anniversary of Thomas Merton's death. It was recorded and a CD can be ordered here.
He has written a number of books, including Merton's Palace of Nowhere: a search for God through awareness of the true self;Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God; and The Contemplative Heart.
Daniel O’Leary is a priest, author and teacher in the Diocese of Leeds. As curate and Parish Priest, he has worked in parishes for almost thirty years. He taught theology and religious education in St Mary’s University College in London and became Chair of its Religious Studies Department before being appointed Episcopal Vicar for Christian Formation in Leeds. He holds Masters degrees in theology, spirituality and religious education. Award-winning author of 12 books, he is a regular contributor to the Tablet and the Irish Furrow. Currently he gives conferences and retreats to teachers, catechists, head-teachers, priests and Diocesan RE Advisers around the country. His current passion and project is about the recovery of what is called the sacramental imagination in all our spiritual endeavours – both our inner spiritual work and our many pastoral ministries. Begin with the Heart, book and DVD, is published by Columba Press, 2008.
Timothy Radcliffe, OP(b. 1945) is a Catholic priest and a Dominican friar, a member of the Dominican Priory at Blackfriars, Oxford. He was Prior Provincial of the English Province and later Master of the Order of Preachers from 1992-2001, the only member of the English Province of the Dominicans to have held the office since the Order's foundation in 1216.
Among his many publications are: Sing a New Song. The Christian Vocation. Dublin: Dominican Publications, 1999. I Call You Friends. London: Continuum, 2001. Seven Last Words. London: Burns & Oates, 2004. What Is the Point of Being A Christian?. London and New York: Burns & Oates, 2005. .Just One Year: Prayer and Worship through the Christian Year, edited by Timothy Radcliffe with Jean Harrison. London: Darton, Longman and Todd for CAFOD and Christian Aid, 2006.
Vincent Nichols began as a college chaplain and parish priest in Liverpool, and held a number of educational posts; he was a special adviser to Cardinal Basil Hume, and was given temporary charge of the Westminster diocese on the latter's sudden death in 1999. He became Archbishop of Birmingham, and was appointed to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor early in 2009. He opened the 3rd season of Silence in the City talks in October 2009.
Kallistos Ware holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford where from 1966 to 2001 he was Fellow of Pembroke College and Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Studies. He is a monk of the monastery of St John the Theologian, Patmos, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1966. In 1982 he became titular bishop of Diokleia and assistant bishop in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and in 2007 he was raised to the rank of metropolitan. His publications include The Orthodox Church (2nd edn., 1993) and The Orthodox Way (2nd edn., 1995) and he is co-translator of the five-volume Philokalia.
He spoke to us on the Jesus prayer in November 2009, and will be speaking again in April 2013.
The Rev. Robert Fruehwirth was for many years a monastic in The Order of Julian of Norwich in the United States. Now married and with two children, he has served as the Priest Director of the Julian Centre in Norwich, England, where he also worked as a Person-Centred Counselor. For over twenty years he has offered retreats and conferences across the USA and in the UK, and he currently lives with his family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the United States. His current book: The Drawing of this Love: Growing in Faith with Julian of Norwich is due for release by Canterbury Press in August 2016.
Robert Fruehwirth spoke to us in March 2010 on Relationship, community and Embodiment: the Gift of Jesus to contemplatrive Experience. Illness prevented him from opening our 2012-13 season with Silence and Self-Acceptance: Julian of Norwich and the Journey to Wholeness, but he is now scheduled to give his talk in September 2013.
Kevin Culligan, OCD, a native of Chicago, was raised in Southern California and attended Seattle University. He entered the Discalced Carmelite friars in 1955 in Brookline, Massachusetts, and was ordained to the priesthood in Washington, DC, on June 8, 1963. He received his Ph.D. in psychology of religion from Boston University in 1979. He is a charter member of both the Institute of Carmelite Studies and the Carmelite Forum in the United States. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, America, National Catholic Reporter, and Spiritual Life in the U.S., and in The Way in the U.K. In 2000, he edited Carmel and Contemplation: Transforming Human Consciousness for ICS Publications and in 2007 his "Carmelite Prayer and Buddhist Meditation" appeared in Spiritual Life. He regularly offers spiritual guidance and retreats in the Carmelite tradition for laity, clergy, and religious. Since 1989, he has, with Mary Jo Meadow and Daniel Chowning, developed through writings and intensive retreats the practice of Christian Insight Meditation, incorporating the wisdom of Buddhist vipassana practice into Christian spirituality as taught by St. John of the Cross. He lives in the community of Discalced Carmelite friars in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ursula King is Professor Emerita of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol, and a vice president of the World Congress of Faiths. Her specific areas of expertise are in the life and work of the French Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and in feminist theology. She has published numerous books and articles on different religious topics including Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages (2001), Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin (1998), Religion and Gender (1995), and her most recent The Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for a Spiritual Life (2008). She acted as consultant for the content on gender and religion in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion (2005). She is a renowned speaker and she lectures at conferences and universities around the world.
Dr King spoke to us in December 2011 on The Universe as Epiphany: Teilhard de Chardin's discovery of the heart of God in all creation.
Nicholas King is a Jesuit priest who teaches New Testament at Oxford University. He spent many years in South Africa and still has a weekly column on the weekly scriptures.He has written a highly acclaimed translation of the New Testament about which Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote:" The translation hits you between the eyes." He is currently working on a new translation of the Old Testament. He enjoys playing squash and cricket. He is much demand to give talks on biblical subjects.
Fr King spoke to us in
January 2012 on A Contemplative Look at Jesus.
Martin Laird is a member of the Order of St Augustine and Professor of Early Christian Studies at Villanova University, USA. He has extensive training in contemplative disciplines and gives retreats and lectures throughout the United States, Great Britain and Ireland. Among his books are Into the Silent Land (cover picture shown here) and A Sunlit Absence, compelling works for those interested in contemplative prayer. He draws on the ancient wisdom of both the Christian East and West as well as on contemporary literature. His most recent book, An Ocean of Light, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
He is scheduled to speak to us in June
2017 on Light sitting in Light
Return to top of page
Cyprian Consiglio is a monk of the
Camaldolese Congregation, musician, composer, writer and
teacher. He lived for ten years and did his monastic
formation at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, where he
served as liturgist, choir director and teacher. He
currently lives near Santa Cruz, California; he spends
about half his time at home and half his time on the road
performing and teaching.
Much of both his music and his teaching revolve around Bede Griffiths' Universal Call to Contemplation through spirituality and the arts. He has five collections of original music recorded and published through OCP Publications, three others released through the Equilibrium label with his long time collaborator,
percussionist John Pennington, and two other collections self-published out of Singapore. He has also collaborated on several collections of a capella sacred music for the church year with the Collegeville Composers Group.
Fr Consiglio earned his MA in Theology from St Johns Seminary in Camarillo, CA. A student of the writings of Bede Griffiths and Abhishiktananda, Cyprian has a great love for comparative religion, has done work in inter-faith ritual and world music, regularly leads conferences on meditation, and has been to India and other countries in Asia several times, both studying and teaching. He has written numerous articles and a book, “Prayer in the Cave of the Heart: The Universal Call to Contemplation,” for Liturgical Press.
Fr Cyprian spoke to us in November 2012 on
Prayer in the Cave of the Heart: the universal call to
From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the university, and in 1986 returned to Oxford as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church.
In 1991 he became bishop of Monmouth, and in 1999 was elected Archbishop of Wales. In 2002, he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.
Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study: philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, since becoming Archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly to contemporary cultural and interfaith issues. He is also an accomplished poet and translator. His interests include music, fiction and languages.
He stepped down at the end of 2012 and is now Lord Williams of Oystermouth and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Prof Peter Tyler is Professor of Pastoral
Theology and Spirituality. He is a UKCP registered
psychotherapist and contributes to the current
dialogue between spirituality and psychotherapy.
He is also Co-Editor of Vinayasadhana,
a new journal for Psycho-Spiritual formation.
Peter is the Director of St Mary’s research
centre InSpiRe -
The Centre for Initiatives in Spirituality and
Page updated by PAJH on 13 June 2018