Retreats and programs

Seeking The Soul of the World: The Poetry of Mary Oliver


Perhaps more than any other contemporary poet, Mary Oliver sought to uncover what St.
Bernard of Clairvaux called “the real behind the real.” Her explorations of nature,
insights into humanity and perception of creation bring us not only into contact with “the
soul of the world,” but with the very nature of God. Using her poems as guides, we will
refresh our spirits, deepen our kinship with all of creation, and perhaps even answer the
challenge her poetry poses to us all: “What is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and
precious life?”

This is a 2-hour retreat on Zoom that includes dialogue and group discussion.


*Retreat materials and the Zoom login information will not be provided until 5 business days prior to an event.*


Judith Valente covered faith and values for many years on the national PBS-TV news program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. She is also a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, having worked in that paper’s Chicago and London bureaus, and is a former reporter for the National Public Radio affiliates in both Chicago and central Illinois, where she currently lives.

Judith is the author of several spirituality titles including, “How To Live: What the Rule St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community” and “The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed” as well as two collections of poetry, and a memoir about her time with the Benedictine sisters in Atchison Kansas, titled, “Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith.”

She is a popular speaker and retreat leader on the theme of living a more contemplative life in the secular world, and is a board member of the International Thomas Merton Society. She served previously on the board of the Chicago Cenacle.

August 25, 2021
Facilitated by: Judith Valente
10:00 AM Central

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