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Fresh Springs Retreats

The Rev. Lois Keen: Julian House

One day, long ago, after several years of trying to pray earnestly and finding myself falling away again and again, I sat down to start over, with my Prayer Book and devotional books and a Bible and found myself unmoved to open any of them. My mind was empty of words of petition, thanksgiving, adoration or penitence. All there was, was silence. I didn't understand it. And at the same time, it seemed oh so right. But I was worried - I should be praying. Why were there no words?

I had learned at one time about Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, then in Washington, DC. I decided to check them out. That was when I found I had stumbled onto - or been called into - contemplative prayer. I gobbled up all the courses I could at Shalem, which was quite a drive from Chester County, PA. In time, I found myself asked, as a lay person, to lead a Lenten study on contemplative prayer. After that, my husband and I opened up our house in the woods as a retreat center - Julian House, named for Julian of Norwich. When I went to seminary, Seabury-Western in Evanston, Illinois, Julian House moved with us. Now, wherever we live is Julian House.

So, Welcome to Julian House Retreats and Quiet Days! I led my first diocesan retreat, as a laywoman, in Easton, MD for the ECW there. Since ordinarion my understanding of contemplation has expanded. I have led retreats and quiet days in the Diocese of Connecticut for a handful of church groups.  When I became attached to a Spanish speaking mission of Episcopalians, I began thinking about retreats and quiet days that require no words, no verbal reflections or presentations. Most recently i have led workshops for lay pastoral caregivers on holy listening, coming out of my contemplative roots. I have also led Vestry retreats, grounded in the Vestry as spiritual leaders. The repertoir of possible retreats or quiet days, or extended studies in prayer, is open to your expressed needs.

You may contact me at Trinity Episcopal Church Wethersfield at 860-529-6825 or at revlois1@yahoo.com.

The Word is very near you. Be still, and know.

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