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Heart Speaks to Heart: Correspondence as Spiritual Practice

November 19, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Contemplative Enrichment Day with Judith Valente and Brother Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O.

Through the ages, correspondence has been an important contemplative practice to recognize and share the presence of God in our lives. Thomas Merton considered his nearly 20,000 letters as an “apostolate of friendship.” We’ll look at how Merton’s most engaging letters inspired a years-long contemplative exchange between Brother Paul and Judith and how it might do the same for you. Brother Paul will also take us on a virtual tour of Gethsemani, share his contemplative photographs and poetry, and engage in dialogue about contemplative living.

This program will be offered both in-person and online via Zoom. Information on how to access the program on Zoom will be sent to participants in advance.

This program will include a morning and an afternoon session of Centering Prayer.

Judith Valente is the author of several spirituality books, including two co-authored with Brother Paul Quenon. The most recent is How to Be: A Monk and a Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship. She is an award-winning journalist and poet and a lay Benedictine Oblate who guides frequent contemplative retreats. Judith has written a contemporary guide on The Rule of St. Benedict, titled How to Live.

Brother Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O., has been a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani for 60 years, the first years of which were spent under the guidance of his novice master, Thomas Merton. He has written nine collections of poetry and an award-winning memoir, In Praise of the Useless Life. He is a talented photographer, and a compilation of his poems with photographs, See the Moment, Feel the Moment, will be published in 2023.


Mike Smoolca


Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center
303 Tunxis Road
West Hartford,CT6107United States
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