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A Mystic for Our Times

by Mirabai Starr

What can Teresa of Avila offer us five hundred years after her death? Teresa models the living balance between action and contemplation, serving others and developing an interior life, engaging in passionate human relationships and surrendering to the divine mystery. She was an ecstatic mystic and skillful administrator, a fool of God and an insightful psychotherapist, a penitent when she needed to be and an epicurean when she could be.

Teresa of Avila was fully, deeply, unapologetically herself. If she had written a letter to which her correspondent had not replied, she did not hesitate to write again, demanding, “Why haven’t you answered my letter? Don’t you love me? Do you have any idea of the pain your silence is causing me?”

Nor was she reluctant to talk back to God. In the midst of harrowing external trials, Teresa’s first response was to withdraw to a quiet place and go within. There, she would confront her Beloved: “What’s going on here, Lord?” One day, the divine voice answered, “This is how I treat my friends.” To which Teresa responded, “Well, then, no wonder you have so few!”

She was keenly discriminating about spiritual phenomena. When her nuns prayed so fervently they gave themselves nosebleeds, she would send them to bed with a sweet cup of tea and a soft blanket and forbid them from entering the chapel for a few days. “God save us from sour-faced saints!” she would say about the self-important clerics who felt it was their job to uphold orthodoxy while never having held the Holy One in their arms and rocked him all through the night, as she regularly did.

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Now-Mar 31, 2017 - Howard Thurman Quiet Day
Now-April 12 - Lenten Prayer Offering
Now-May 31 - Contemplative Leadership Seminar online
March 5 - Open Hands, Willing Hearts online course
March 15 - Application Deadline for Clergy Program
March 18 - Taste and See Event - Assisi Pilgrimage, 10am to Noon
April 3-6 - Group Spiritual Direction Conference & Retreat
April 28-29 - Gerald May Seminar with Mirabai Starr


Gerald May Seminar with Mirabai Starr
The Passion of the Mystics: A Contemplative Journey

Mirabai Starr, MA, is an author, translator of the mystics, and a leading voice in the emerging inter-spiritual movement. She speaks and teaches nationally and internationally on the teachings of the mystics, contemplative practice and the transformational power of grief and loss.

She is known for building bridges not only between religious traditions but also between contemplative life and compassionate service, between cultivating an inner relationship with the Beloved and expressing that intimacy in community, between the transformational power of loss and longing for the sacred. Join us for this engaging weekend conference!

Friday, April 28, 2017, 7-9 PM
The Friday night lecture will draw on the works of the great Christian mystics and more.

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 10 AM-4 PM
In the Saturday workshop, we will read short passages from the works of the great Christian mystics and respond to writing prompts to access our unique voice and deepen our personal journey. Inter-spiritual chanting and simple body practices will support and balance our contemplative readings and writing exercises.

Register here

Going Deeper: Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership Program - Although our other Shalem programs connect with certain dimensions of congregational spiritual leadership and many clergy participate in them, none give the context of the local church as the explicit and shared focus as this program does. Going Deeper is for clergy of all denominations and geographic locations who serve on the staffs of local churches or whose ministry involves the local church. The application deadline is March 15. Click here to read more.

Soul of Leadership Program - The Soul of Leadership recognizes that leaders today face particularly difficult challenges. The commitment to inspire others while also increasing productivity and balancing the needs of the organization can leave leaders feeling depleted. Long hours and countless demands often result in a deep need for renewal. There are programs in Boston, England and Tennessee. 
Click here to read more.

Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening Program, DC 

The Living in God: Personal Spiritual Deepening Program (PSDP) is a resource for those wishing to integrate a contemplative orientation – a stance that encourages moment by moment awareness and openness to God’s grace – in all the changing circumstances of daily life.

A group in Washington DC is forming now.

DATES: Sessions are the second Saturday of the month, beginning March 11, with an Opening Day Retreat, ending on November 11.

COST: $45 application fee, $650 early bird rate, if tuition payment received by February 7, 2017. $695 regular rate, if tuition payment received by March 6, 2017.

Apply now
Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program - Although registrations have closed for the 2017-2018 class, we would be happy to talk with you if you are sensing a call to this program. Please contact Katy Gaughan as soon as possible (301-897-7334 or to see if it still might be possible to include you in this class. Click here to read more.
Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program - Although registrations have closed for the 2017-2018 class, we would be happy to talk with you if you are sensing a call to this program. Please contact Trish Stefanik as soon as possible (301-897-7334 or to see if it still might be possible to include you in the class. Click here to read more.

Go on a Pilgrimage with Shalem!

Pilgrimage to Paris, March 21-30; Pilgrimage to Assisi, May 10-20

PARIS: Throughout this Lenten experience, our intent is to be a prayerful presence in the city, embracing the life of Paris with a pilgrim heart. While the deadline to apply has passed, there may still be time to apply if you are sensing a call to this pilgrimage. Please contact Katy Gaughan as soon as possible (301-897-7334 or if you are interested.

ASSISI: Come with us to the awe-inspiring town of Assisi where pilgrims have sought wisdom for centuries.  As you journey to the sacred sites where the saints sought clarity and spiritual sustenance, you may find your connection to the divine grow stronger and see your own life with renewed vision. Click here to read more or to apply. There are only three spaces left!

Taste and See Event - Assisi: March 18 from 10 AM to 12 PM at the National Gallery of Art, featuring the special Della Robbia exhibit. Come learn more about the Pilgrimage to Assisi at this free event! Click here to RSVP.

Embodying God’s Love in the World - online course on discernment

Recognizing and living into one’s call is a lifelong process of discernment. In this six-week class, you will be invited to look at your life, no matter what age, and notice your unique contribution to God’s vision. Listen to stories of discernment and engage in enriching experiential exercises.

Dates: Sunday, March 5 to Sunday, April 9, 2017
Cost: $75 (group discounts available)

Shalem graduates, go to the course page on our website and click on the leadership packages tab to lead a group in your area at a discounted rate!

Give yourself the gift of spaciousness during Lent with this six-session series!

Register now!

With Hearts Wide Open: Online Contemplative Leadership Seminar

Do you yearn to explore a way of leading that is more aligned with your heart?

With hearts wide open, we can see how to lead in a more contemplative way.

Join other leaders in this online course as together we reflect on the invitation to contemplative leadership, a countercultural practice grounded in deep listening and compassion.  Whether you are in a formal or informal leadership role, you’ll find practices and support to help you remain spacious, flexible and open to the True Leader, the Spirit.

Dates: Material is available online for you to access anytime now until May 31, 2017.
Cost: $150. (Group discounts available!)

Register now!

A Lenten invitation to join together in prayer

Prayer for our leaders and for the well-being of all humanity and creation

During the six weeks of Lent, Shalem invites you to pray with us for our country, our leaders and our world. A friend of Shalem will be walking through the House and Senate office buildings and around the White House on Wednesday mornings from 9:00-10:00 AM EST, intentionally praying for all those whose offices she passes as well as those who are affected by the individuals in leadership positions. As she walks these halls and sidewalks, we are extending the invitation to the wider Shalem community to join with her in prayer, seeking truth, justice, peace and the well-being of all humanity and creation.

Join in this prayer for the well-being of all humanity and creation: click below to receive a weekly prayer invitation by email.

Sign up

Group Spiritual Direction Conference & Retreat

This conference and retreat is designed for those who are currently engaged in or offering group spiritual direction and want to enhance their practice as facilitators or participants.

The rhythm of our time together will include daily experience of group spiritual direction and advanced learning discussions; spacious afternoons and evenings for silent prayer and journaling; optional sessions for addressing leadership issues and questions.

All of this will happen in a relaxed and spacious way, allowing for the chance to experience group spiritual direction as a personal practice with plenty of solitude and time in the beauty and quiet of the Shenandoah Valley.

DATES: April 3 to April 6
LOCATION: The Bellfry, Lexington, VA
COST: $475 by March 6, 2017, $525 after March 6, 2017

Register now

Margaret's Travels

Follow our Executive Director, Margaret Benefiel, as she hits various spots around the world!

Margaret's upcoming schedule:

March 10-11 Church renewal retreat, South Congregational Church, Cape Cod
Mar 27-30 - Soul of Leadership opening residency, St. Mary's Retreat Center, Sewanee, TN (all are welcome)
March 31, Soul of Leadership seminar, Boston College (all are welcome)
April 20-23, Toronto, Spiritual Directors International

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Friends of Shalem

Friends of St. Benedict
Leadership in Community and the Rule of St. Benedict
March 14-17, 2017
Click here for more information.

Center for Action and Contemplation
TRINITY: The Soul of Creation
April 6-8, 2017
Featuring Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault and Wm Paul Young
Albuquerque Convention Center and Live Webcast
Click here for more information.

July 7-9, 2017
Featuring Richard Rohr, Angel Kyodo Williams, Mirabai Starr, and Ken Wilber
Hotel Albuquerque and Live Webcast
Click here for more information.

The World Community for Christian Meditation
Praying with the Masters Today, Bernard McGinn
August 10-13
The Inner Room, pre-seminar retreat led by Laurence Freeman, OSB
August 7-10
Click here for more information.


Giving a gift to Shalem has never been easier! Simply select Shalem as the charitable organization of your choice before you begin shopping.
More details
Howard Thurman Retreat Day 
Lerita Coleman Brown invites you to reflect on the life and work of Howard Thurman in this online quiet day.
Sign up!
Shalem Book Store
Find a winter read in our Books and Media store on our website! Titles by Gerald May, Tilden Edwards and more!
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Share Shalem’s vital ministry of spiritual deepening—become a Shalem donor today!

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