Meditative Writing bbe A Norbertine Community santa María de la Vid Y








































Saturday, September 19, 2015, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


If you had a chance to take a walk with someone whom you consider to be a wise person or a saint, who would you choose?  This day in meditative writing will allow you to bring that person with you on retreat and to experience their life from the inside out by keeping their journal for them.  The only requirements for doing this are that the person you choose is no longer alive and that you are familiar with the basic facts of his or her life.  That will allow us to spend the day meditatively joining them on their journey homeward and getting to know their life and our own a bit better from the inside out.  In the process, we will experience a way of meditatively relating heart to heart and life to life with another person that can greatly enrich our own lives.  If you have any biographical material on your companion, it is helpful to bring it along with you so that you may refer to it as part of this retreat.










Have you ever pictured your soul’s dwelling place as a magnificent interior mansion that belongs to you and has been  waiting for you to move in and make yourself at home?  Well, these retreat days will let you meditatively explore the different rooms of your soul’s dwelling place and discover for yourself that it really exists and that there is a lot going on there that it is good to keep in touch with.  These meditative explorations can add a whole new dimension and an enriching new depth of meaning, purpose, and direction to your life that may really surprise you.

 Although all of these days are interrelated, each one is a distinct, self-contained experience.  So, although it can be richer, it is not necessary that you attend all of these retreat sessions.  You can still profit spiritually from attending just one or two of them.  Exploring your soul’s dwelling place is a deeply personal and private work.  The way in which we work together meditatively in these retreats honors, deepens, and respects the privacy and integrity of your own spiritual experience.  You do not need to have any previous experience in meditative writing in order to make these retreats.


You can expect to come away from these retreat days with:

  • A general sense of the shape of your soul’s dwelling place and of how to move through it;
  • A meditative practice that lets you continue this exploratory work on your own; and,
  • A deeper awareness of what is going on within you and of what an important difference that can make in your own life.




Becoming Meditatively Attentive: The Soul's Thresholds, Saturday, October 3, 2015


The Soul’s thresholds are very important places of passage within the soul’s dwelling place.  They are places of quietly “letting go” in which your soul invites you to become still and inwardly attentive before entering or leaving any of the many rooms of her dwelling place.  Honoring this invitation lends a meditative character to all that we do in our soul’s dwelling place and in our life as a whole.  Developing this meditative attentiveness is doubly important these days because, in this culture, thresholds are very often overlooked or totally disregarded


Attending to the Present: The Soul’s Entryway, Saturday, October 31, 2015


All of our meditative work is done in the Open Moment between what was and what will be.  It is done in the Now Moment and the present period of our life.  Being rooted in the Present is especially important since it is the entryway to the soul’s dwelling place and to all the meditative work that we do in it.  We will spend this day of retreat exploring what is going on in the present period of our life, how we feel about it, and in what direction it suggests that we move.


Re-membering the Past: The Soul’s Attic Saturday, November 21, 2015


Many of our experiences come before their time.  It is as though our soul benevolently puts them in storage until it becomes timely for us to re-member them as an active part of the movement of our life as a whole.  We will spend this day in re-membering the story of our whole life and exploring the soul’s attic for experiences that may want to become an active part of that story again.

Relating Interpersonally: The Soul’s Living Room, Saturday, December 12, 2015


The soul can be very independent.  In a world that is characterized by relating to persons as though they were things, the soul is characterized by relating person-to-person through the meditative practice of dialogue.  In this way, the soul not only treats persons as persons but continually transforms things into persons through living in dialogue with them.  Meditatively transforming our I-it relationships into I-Thou relationships is one of the most creative and important things we can do for peace-making in these violent times. We will spend this day exploring the soul’s living room and entering into inter-personaliz-ing dialogue with important persons and events in our own life.


Symbolizing and Dreaming:16,he Soul’s Cellar Saturday, January 9, 2016


Next to being silent, the seemingly indirect discourse of symbolizing, dreaming and day dreaming is the basic language of the soul.  So, the loss of a sense of the importance of silence and symbol in our culture is one of the primary reasons for our getting out of touch with our own soul.  We will spend this day exploring the soul’s cellar—the deep place in which our soul’s symbolizing and dreaming goes on.  We will spend it by meditatively re-membering and re-entering the symbols and dreams that are animating our lives at this time and learning from them by letting them continue to move freely through us.


Communing: The Soul’s Cloister Garden, Saturday, February 6, 2016


At the center of the soul’s dwelling place we discover that there is a beautiful garden around which all its rooms cluster and to which they all lead.  This is the place of the soul’s deepest integration.  It is the place in which the soul communes with the Wisdom of saints and sages; the Wisdom of all of creation; the Wisdom of our soul itself, and the Wisdom of our Ultimate Joy.  We will spend this day beginning to meditatively explore the soul’s cloister garden and how we can continually center and ground our Self in the soul’s deepest Wisdom.


Embodying and Co-creating: The Soul’s Outward Dwelling Places, Saturday, April 9, 2016


The soul’s dwelling place is not just within us.  It is also around us.  It is the whole outside world or cosmos in which we live and breathe and have our being.  All of our meditative practice is oriented toward preparing us to make a creative and transforming contribution to the soul’s outward dwelling places.  If all of our meditative work does not do that, it has not yet come full cycle.

It’s only half of the whole story.  As St. Teresa of Avila says, “All the water in the deep well (i.e. in our soul’s inward dwelling places) is meant for the flowers (i.e. for our soul’s outward dwelling places).  It’s all meant for the flowers.”  We will spend our final retreat in this series exploring the soul’s outward dwelling places, namely the Porch, the Marketplace, and the Cosmic Garden, and how we can live meditatively and creatively in the world around us.





   These retreats will be lead by  Fr. Fran Dorff, O.Praem., a priest of the Norbertine Community of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey living in retirement at the Norbertine Hermitage Retreat.  A former professor of philosophy and theology, Fr. Fran’s present work is primarily focused on experiencing and sharing a life-integrating approach to spiritual development.

   He is a specialist in the depth psychology of Ira Progoff, and the author of eight books on living spiritually.  He holds a licentiate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in philosophical theology from the Institut Catholique in Paris


Meg Ashcroft, O.Praem.Obl., a Norbertine Oblate and spiritual director, will also be available for one-on-one meetings with retreatants during these retreat days.




The Soul's Dwelling Place

This year Fr. Fran will offer both a meditative writing series (The Soul's Dwelling Place) and a stand-alone retreat (Taking a meditative walk with a wise person). All are welcome to attend!



All retreats take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

at Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey.

Lunch is included in the $55.00 offering per retreat.

Registration is required.

Call 505-873-4399 or email frontdesk@norbertinecommunity.org to register for retreats.



taking a meditative walk
with a wise person