Reflections after a retreat at the Abbey of Gesthemani.

I’m just back from a retreat at the Abbey of Gesthemani in KY that I’ve been to before. I had found in the months leading up to the retreat that although I was spending more time in prayer I was having trouble quieting my mind both in that setting and “in the world”. It took until the second day to slow down which is evidence of the benefit of longer, more quiet retreats. As this visit fell by happenstance the weekend before Ash Wednesday I hope my experiences will manifest as metanoia as befits the Lenten season.

The message I hope more deeply settles is to be gentler towards the world.

This insight inserted itself especially as it applies to the physical/natural world during a “mind as sky” meditation. I was seated on a rise overlooking a fallow hay field. I could hear sounds rising around me – bird song, woodpecker pecks, the wind in the trees, a far distant airplane. I could feel things – my right foot falling asleep, the cold air as I breathed in. I could see things – the lines of yellow field, green copse of firs, grey sandstone outcrop, pale blue sky, white cirrus clouds. I could think things – where shall I walk next, what should I read later. For a few breaths these all became individual experiences separate from my spirit yet all natural processes of which I am a part unfurling in God’s creation – a brief but powerful moment. Today I see the metaphor of the experience as a stream – drifting ice crusts , whirlpools, riffles – all following their separate paths yet all influenced by each other. Be gentle towards the world to which I am intimately related.

Loving Kindness meditation was my first practice and is still my most personally important. The Buddhists suggest a series of specific prayers during Loving Kindness directed first at yourself then your family then your friends then your enemies then all the world. I have rarely been able to move beyond a few friends or the occasional vague enemy. I was blessed with being able to briefly get to all the world during this retreat. I also had several very emotional experiences of my love for my family during this exercise. One occurred while at Gesthemani’s version of an Irish Holy well – the Rosary House – where written prayers are left. As I tried to write one for my family after an intense sitting I found myself clumsily scratching out a plea in school-child block printing complete with backward Rs and the like. It was a deeply concrete evocation of God’s love for me as I am his child as I love my children – and around and around.

Apart from these more profound episodes I had a particularly pleasing experience on the third day. My prayer technique is to say a rosary and at each decade pursue a more specific meditative goal. I’ve mentioned 2 above. Another is centering prayer. At this sitting I used Praise God as my Sacred Word – it just felt better than Hallelujah. As I hit “crown of thorns’ in the Sorrowful Mysteries a thrush began to sing loudly from the bramble patch next to me. I acknowledged a partner in my song of praise. Then the bells in the Abbey rang for the afternoon liturgy and I knew that soon the monks would join us.

By Conrad Foley

Practices for a Deeper Commitment To the Contemplative Life

Notes on “Practices for a Deeper Commitment To the Contemplative Life” 

a weekend retreat with Mary Dwyer
Nancy Moran
     What a spiritually enriching weekend it was with Mary Dwyer presenting on “Practices for a Deeper Commitment to the Contemplative Life” on October 2,3 and 4.  This retreat sponsored by CONEO at River’s Edge Retreat Center in Cleveland focused on Deepening Centering Prayer, The Welcoming Prayer, The Forgiveness Prayer and Integration and Transformation.
     I had never heard her speak before last weekend and I was delighted to discover that Mary Dwyer is a spiritual leader who embodies and transmits the wisdom of Father Thomas Keating, Mary Mrozowski, the originator of the welcoming prayer, and Mary Dwyer’s own wisdom teachings on spiritual practices.  All of us present at the retreat were invited to learn with our hearts as well as with our minds.
     There was so much to learn but I will jot down here just a few notes and quotes from Mary over the 3 days.  For more information on the Spiritual Practices themselves and how to do them please go to contemplative  There are books, pamphlets and listings of retreats available to learn about and experience these practices in depth.
Centering Prayer:
       – The deeper you go the more there is to learn.
       – As Father Keating says, sit in the chair every day 2 times and be quiet.  The more you show up to the chair the easier it gets to go to the chair.
       – God is waiting to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
       – There are no rules because who is doing the prayer?  God’s spirit in us is doing the praying.
       – We have 4 simple guidelines for Centering Prayer – but we never know what God will do with us
       – Simple practice…..Profound results.
       -The present moment contains all we need to be happy, no matter what the psychological content. God is present…..All is well.
The Welcoming Prayer:
       – We need a second engine to lift us off throughout the ordinariness of our daily lives. The Welcoming Prayer helps us actively let go of thoughts and feelings that support the false self system.  It helps us embrace painful emotions rather than avoiding or suppressing them.
       – The Welcoming Prayer helps us while stuff is happening…..Consent on the go…..
       – Experience, not intellectual understanding is where it all begins.
       – I can only do work to the level of consciousness I am at now.
       – Some things take years.   The 1st moment is the process of seeing it.
       – A meditation practice is foundational for these other practices to take hold.
The Forgiveness Prayer:
       – We need the Forgiveness practice for what is still “sticky” after Welcoming.
       – St. Theresa of Avila, “A contemplative can have many faults except the inability to forgive.”
       – Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation.
       – Forgiveness practice needs a lot of safety and safe space.  The practice is done in our own time and space.
       – Sometimes the forgiveness process takes years….. and sometimes this process takes minutes.
       – Forgiveness does not mean we are allowing it to happen again.  Forgiveness changes things….. making things conscious… it is less likely to happen again.
       – We do the Forgiveness Practice after Centering Prayer when we are in a space of open heartedness.
Let me end this with gratitude for Mary for her time, teachings, presence and authenticity and for helping all of us to let our light shine a little brighter. 

The Centering Prayer Introductory Program Brochure

New resource available        (Original communication from CO, Ltd)

To all worldwide Contemplative Outreach coordinators, contact persons and presenters:Centering Prayer Introductory Program brochureOn behalf of the Centering Prayer Introductory Program Service Team, I’m pleased to announce a new brochure for the Introductory Program.  The Centering Prayer Introductory Program brochure was developed as a result of input from many of you. It is intended to be given to potential host organizations and participants of all faith denominations interested in the Introductory Program.   You may order it in packages of 25 from the online store (color) or it can be downloaded and printed from the website (black & white).

Traditionally, Contemplative Outreach has used our dear Father Keating’s six video presentations for the Continuing Sessions. For those of you who still have that set (which is no longer being produced), it is still a viable alternative.

The resources listed in The Centering Prayer Introductory Program brochure are new alternatives that you can fashion to fit your particular needs. For example, there is the multiple DVD set produced by Sounds True, “Centering Prayer: A Training Course in Opening to the Presence of God” as well as another option for those in 12-Step Programs.

The Resource Guide: Options for the Continuing Sessions  is geared to presenters and facilitators of the continuing sessions. It presents these resources in much fuller detail and also offers options for scheduling the sessions. This was introduced in the fall of 2014. (Note: To access this link, you must be logged in to the website and have access to the Leadership Resources page.  Please reply to this email if you experience access problems.)

We listened to your ideas and needs through the survey of coordinators in 2013. Thank you for your invaluable help which guided our work.  We want to keep listening and partnering with you in the development of future Centering Prayer Introductory Program materials.

We hope and pray that these new resources will help guide newcomers to transformation by deepening their relationship with the Holy Spirit through Centering Prayer.  One of our team members will be following up with you directly about using these new resources and any questions you may have.  Or, you can contact us directly by emailing Ruth Hofmann or calling +1.412.445.5055.

In humble service to you,

Ruth Hofmann
Team Leader, Centering Prayer Introductory Program Service Team

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Ivi Latronica samples @Ivi3Tron May-June 2015

Samples @Ivi3Tron May-June 2015
Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron May 17 Brunswick, OH
R basic core of goodness is R true Self. Its center of activity is God. Acceptance of R goodness is a quantum leap in the spiritual journey.

Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron May 27 Brunswick, OH
Only God can bring our false self to an end. The false self is an illusion. It is our way of conceiving who we are & what the world is.

Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron May 27
Don’t judge Centering Prayer on how many thoughts come or how much peace you enjoy. Only way to judge CP is by its long-range fruits.

Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron Jun 9 Brunswick, OH
As interior & exterior become one, daily life is a continual & increasing revelation of God. (Is that incredible or what?!?!)

Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron Jun 12 Brunswick, OH
Service neutralizes deep-rooted tendency 2 become preoccupied w/R spiritual journey & how we R doing. Service begins w/those w/whom we live.

Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron Jun 19 Brunswick, OH
Spiritual consolation is so marvelous, human nature reaches out 4 it. So long as U R moved by such desires, U R still trying 2 control God.

Ivi Latronica ‏@Ivi3Tron Jun 24 Brunswick, OH
The contemplative state enables one to rest & act at the same time because one is ROOTED in the SOURCE of both rest & action.

CONEO e-news. April,1 2015

April 1, 2015

Dear friend of Centering Prayer

I would like to inform you that we had a very successful event, United In Prayer -United In Silence, last Saturday, March 21, at Laurel Lakes. We had 43 participants this year. Having Joslyn and Chris Grostic, the youngest people of the group leading the event, was impressive. They successfully established and kept the prayerful tone and facilitated beautifully. Thank you to Mary Tatman for the organization of this event at Laurel Lakes where we were offered many options and flexibility.

Our coming events are:

Introduction to Centering Prayer Workshops
a. Saturday, April 18, Women’s Retreat of the Presbyterian Church in Wooster. Please contact Carol Vagnini (330) 749-0590
b. Saturday, May 16, sponsored by Contemplative Outreach and Trinity Cathedral. Please see and download flyer on the website.
c. Saturday September _____ , Contemplative Outreach and Laurel Lakes Retirement Community, Hudson, Ohio. Details will follow

Saturday Silent Days
a. April 18th, at St. Rita Parish, Solon, from 9:00 am 12:00 pm. Please RSVP to Jacqueline Fabian at
Address: 32820 Baldwin Rd, Cleveland, OH 44139
b. June 13th, Our Lady of the Lake, Euclid, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please RSVP to Mary McGeary at
Address: 175 East 200th Street, Euclid, OH 44119

Weekend Retreat
October 2,3 and 4. This retreat will run from Friday afternoon to Sunday lunch time at River’s Edge.
3430 Rocky River Dr, Cleveland, OH 44111

The leader of this retreat will be Mary Dwyre. Mary is a long-time student of Fr. Thomas Keating, a former Chairperson of the Contemplative Outreach Faculty, coordinator for the Living Flame Program and a member of the Welcoming Prayer Service Team.

We are in the planning stage to develop a program with the possibilities of having a full weekend, and partial program/commuter program experience to
accommodate our very diverse community. Please mark your calendar. Details will follow.

I would like to close this message in the same way we closed our United Prayer- United In Silence Day. Teresita Richards wrote the poem during the experience of our prayerful day.


We are all one.
There is no us and them.
From One came the entire human race.

The heartbeat of God pulses in us all
-pulses beyond and through all the generations of humanity simultaneously.
-pulses across all the boundaries constructed by human minds.
-pulses us into a unified beat with each other
and with the rhythm of God’s heart.

God is
-simply is
-profoundly is

God is
-intrinsically everywhere.
-sustaining everything.
-present – hiding in plain view

And every once in a while we are privileged to catch a glimpse of wonder or
Hear the quiet roar of God’s immense love pulsing through us.

By: Sr. Mary Teresita Richards, SND
23rd. Annual Worldwide Day of Prayer.
United In Prayer – United In Silence
Hudson, Ohio. March 21, 2015


Josefina Fernandez
CONEO coordinator

The Pulsing Heartbeat of God _ A Poem

We are all one.
There is no us and them.
From One came the entire human race.

The heartbeat of God pulses in us all
-pulses beyond and through all the generations of humanity simultaneously.
-pulses across all the boundaries constructed by human minds.
-pulses us into a unified beat with each other
and with the rhythm of God’s heart.

God is
-simply is
-profoundly is

God is
-intrinsically everywhere.
-sustaining everything.
-present – hiding in plain view

And every once in a while we are privileged to catch a glimpse of wonder or
Hear the quiet roar of God’s immense love pulsing through us.

                                     By: Sr. Mary Teresita Richards, SND
23rd. Annual Worldwide Day of Prayer.
CONEO: United In Prayer – United In Silence
Hudson, Ohio. March 21, 2015

The Pulsing Heartbeat of God

CONEO e-news. March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015

Dear friend of Centering Prayer

There are few things I need to communicate to you at this moment:

1. Our United in Prayer, United in Silence event is coming up on March 21 at Laurel Lakes, Hudson. Please, RSVP to Joslyn Grostic, phone (216) 650-9804 or e-mail: before March17. We need the number of people for lunch planning.

A formal PDF Invitation with all the information.

2. There is an article about Contemplative Prayer in the February 27th edition of The Catholic Exponent. It is about the awakening story of Joanne Underwood and how the experience of Centering Prayer and the support of Contemplative Outreach have helped her. Please do not hesitate to send this link. Perhaps it will stir up some interest in Centering Prayer! This is the link: The Catholic Exponent.

3. We are continuing our 2015 Saturday Silent Day program

a. April 18 St. Rita Parish, Solon from 9:00 am 12:00 pm. Please, RSVP to Jackqeline Fabian at

b. June 13, Our Lady of the Lake, Euclid from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please RSVP to Mary McGeary

4. There are two Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop coming up. The first one will be on Saturday April 18 in a Women’s Retreat of the First Presbyterian Church in Wooster. Please contact Carol Vagnini ( 330) 749-0590. The second one will be on Saturday May 16, sponsored by the Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.

5. We have updated our website for cleaner looks and easier manageability. Check it out.

Have a blessed rest of the week,

Josefina Fernandez
CONEO Coordinator