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Wisdom School: The Encounter with Evil – ZOOM OPTION

February 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - February 22, 2023 @ 12:00 pm


“From time immemorial Wisdom Schools have emerged in times of global crisis or on the cusp of great leaps in human consciousness in order to help shepherd our planet through the transition. While there is academic teaching that goes on here, that is not the primary business of a Wisdom school; the primary business is to help anchor human wholeness and to work with the core practices that sustain the transformation of consciousness.” — Wisdom Waypoints

Please Note: In-person retreat is full

Mercy Center, Burlingame Centering Prayer Program presents
Wisdom School: The Encounter with Evil – ZOOM OPTION

In this timely advanced wisdom school, we will be inquiring into the nature and presence of evil as a discernible force, with a focus on these key questions: What is a useful, contemporary understanding of evil? How can we effectively deal with evil, at both an individual and collective scale?

Teachings will draw from a wide variety of sources both spiritual and psychological, with the emphasis first and foremost on the practical: learning to recognize and shield oneself better from the toxic effects of prolonged exposure to evil, “speaking truth to power” in a way that wields real clout, and as necessary, to draw more intentionally and skillfully on assistance from realms beyond our own.

We will be exploring:
the metaphysics of evil with an emphasis on the process and relational nature of its arising
the psychology of evil and its potential spawning ground
the roots of collective psychosis
the dangerous blind spot in the Christian strategy of “love conquers all”
considerations of personal responsibility
the remediating force of conscience and the costliness of engaging it

Because this is an advanced wisdom school, a strong meditation practice and familiarity with the Christian wisdom tradition as laid out by Cynthia Bourgeault is strongly recommended. Join us on ZOOM through Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA. There will be an invitation to a wisdom way of approaching this material through a daily rhythm with periods of silence, centering prayer, teaching, conscious conversation, Gurdjieff Exercises and Movements, chanting, mindful work, and contemplative free time.

Retreat Leader & Centering Prayer Team:
Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally acclaimed retreat leader. She divides her time between solitude in her seaside hermitage in Maine and a demanding schedule traveling globally to spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom paths. She is principal teacher for The Contemplative Society and the founding director of an international network of Wisdom schools, uniting classic Christian mystical and monastic teaching with contemporary practices of mindfulness and embodied presence.

Heather Ruce will be supporting our wisdom school experience through guiding us in daily Gurdjieff Movements. She is a wisdom spiritual director with training in a neurophysiology based approach to understanding the nervous system. She loves working with individuals as well as facilitating groups and retreats focused on learning and practicing the Christian Wisdom Tradition.

Joy Andrews Hayter is a spiritual director whose offerings include Centering Prayer and other contemplative practices of the Christian Wisdom tradition. These practices encourage us to lean into the Love that is constantly being offered within a relational web of Sacred Unity. As a scientist she sees in the physical world an expression of that love.

Catherine Regan is a spiritual director, retired psychologist, and adjunct staff member at Mercy Center, primarily serving on the Centering Prayer team. She has a special interest in participating in the reclamation of the Christian Wisdom tradition and fostering the contemplative practices so urgently needed at this time in our world.

ZOOM Hosts:
Jesse Roger Burson is a father of three, business owner, retired Coast Guard officer and dedicated practitioner of meditation and Centering Prayer for over forty years. He has been attending Wisdom Schools and following the teachings of Cynthia Bourgeault since reading “The Wisdom Jesus” in 2017 and has been a Spiritual Director and Group Spiritual Director since 2019. Jesse is also an avid sailor and pilot!

Alan Krema is a long time student of Cynthia Bourgeault and has attended multiple Wisdom Schools since 2010. He facilitates Wisdom practice groups focused on Centering Prayer, Wisdom Way of Knowing, and the Gospel of Thomas. He emphasizes the engagement of current issues with the embodied Wisdom of contemplative practice. He is actively engaged with Wisdom Waypoints and Contemplative Outreach and has introduced a variety of teachings from the Wisdom Way of Knowing lineage into the practice and prayer gatherings of Contemplative Outreach. He lives in the Chicago area.

To register, please see the link below.
For further assistance, contact us at (650) 340-7474.
For more information visit: www.mercy-center.org

These are unprecedented times. If finances are an issue, please email us at registration@mercywmw.org for a learning grant discount code. We want to make sure our offerings are available to everyone.

Mercy Center requires notice of cancellation in writing (email to mc@sistersofmercy.org) 1 week prior to the event for a full refund by check or 50% of the total program cost if the notice is received 3 days or less prior to the event.
No refund will be given if a retreatant leaves early or arrives late during a retreat. Out of consideration for others on the waiting list, please make a commitment to attend the entire retreat.

Schedule (subject to change)

Friday Evening, February 17th
7:00 ZOOM Welcome and Orientation
7:30 Opening session Introducing the Encounter with Evil (Cynthia)
Great Silence from end of session until afternoon

Daily Saturday, February 18th – Tuesday, February 21st
6:25 Yoga (optional)
7:00 Centering Prayer & Chanting
7:30 Break for breakfast & Personal prayer time maintaining Great Silence
9:00 Morning Teaching
10:30 Break
11:00 Conscious Work or Gurdjieff Movements
12:00 Break Mindful conversation at Lunch followed by contemplative silent time for rest and reflection
2:30 Conscious Work or Gurdjieff Movements
3:30 Break
3:45 Gurdjieff Exercise
4:45 Afternoon Teaching
6:00 Break for Dinner
7:15 Questions and Dialogue, followed by chanting and Centering Prayer into the Great Silence from end of session until afternoon

Wednesday, February 22nd
6:25 Yoga (optional)
7:00 Centering Prayer & Chanting
7:30 Break for breakfast & Personal prayer time maintaining Great Silence
9:30 Final Teaching/Q&R
10:45 Break
11:00 Ash Wednesday Eucharist Celebration
12:00 Wisdom School Complete


February 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm
February 22, 2023 @ 12:00 pm
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Cristina Esguerra