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Newsletter March 2019

Here we are - heading into Lent. Whether we celebrate with Irish soda bread or zeppoles, it is always a surprise that the feasts of St. Patrick and St. Joseph occur in the midst of Lent. Maybe we should switch our celebration food to pretzels, the early monks’ way to teach prayer! (Click here for the story and an easy recipe

In Celtic culture, an “anam cara” is a soul friend. How appropriate for the “band of sisters” who walk as soul friends with each other! From the Irish, too, we learn the importance of “thin places” where the veil between heaven and earth is lifted and we glimpse the eternal. This little story sums up the concept well.

You may have heard the story about the rabbi and his young child.  The child liked to wander in the woods every day after school. At first, the rabbi let the child wander, but over time he grew concerned. The woods were dangerous and the father did not know what lurked there – think Peter and the Wolf.  One day the rabbi sat his child down and asked, “You know, I’ve noticed that every afternoon you walk in the woods. Tell me– why do you go there?” The child replied, “I go there to find God.” “That is a very good thing,” the father replied, smiling. “I’m glad you’re searching for God… but, my dear child, don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?”  “Yes,” the child answered, “…but I’m not.”
— Joe Simmons, SJ

Have you found a thin place?


“The Deer’s Cry” (I Arise Today) was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433 AD. It is said that he was aware there was an ambush to try to kill him and his group on their way to the King’s court. It was during this march that they sang the Deer’s Cry. As the druids lay in hiding, ready to kill, it is said that they did not see Patrick and his men, but a gentle doe followed by twenty fawns. The miracle saved Patrick and his men. “The Deer’s Cry”, is also known as “Lorica” and “The Breastplate of St Patrick” - all versions of the prayer of St. Patrick which celebrates God who lives with his children - guiding them, sheltering them, strengthening them. God who is with us and in us through creation. Here is a link to this beautiful sung prayer:


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We have streamlined our registration process. Go to the “Calendar” page, scroll down to find the event you are interested in - and simply click the black button that corresponds to your event. Payment is secure using a credit card or PayPal. You will receive a confirmation email. Please keep or print your confirmation email.

Don’t miss registering for “Bridges to Contemplative Living” in Raleigh - which begins on March 13 and runs for five weeks during Lent - and remember to drop in on “Contemplative Yoga” in Durham on Tuesdays (3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2).  Find detailed info for both on the “Calendar” page of the website (click here).

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We send you, anam cara, this blessing from one of our favorite Irish writers:

“For Equilibrium, a Blessing:

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,

May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.


As the wind loves to call things to dance,

May your gravity by lightened by grace.

 

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,

May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

 

As water takes whatever shape it is in,

So free may you be about who you become.

 

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,

May your sense of irony bring perspective.

 

As time remains free of all that it frames,

May your mind stay clear of all it names.

 

May your prayer of listening deepen enough

to hear in the depths the laughter of God.”

 

― John O'Donohue

 To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings