Day of Christian Contemplative Reflection with Jonathan Montaldo


Thomas Merton


An Annual Day of Christian Contemplative Reflection
with Jonathan Montaldo
 Saturday, June 11, 2016
from 9:00 a.m. –  4:15 p.m.
Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center, 303 Tunxis Road, West Hartford CT

LATEST NEWS – 4/21/2016

We’re delighted and very fortunate to have Jonathan Montaldo lead us in this 2016 Day of Christian Contemplative Reflection centered around Thomas Merton’s great mystical experience in Louisville on the corner of 4th and Walnut.


Join us for a day of Retreat, Prayer, Learning and Community to go deeper into Union with God and All Our Relations!

In a moment of light and contemplative union with God and all his neighbors, Thomas Merton’s 4th and Walnut experience has become central to understanding the expansiveness of his teaching on contemplative prayer. His written reflections on the depths of this experience, both in his private journals and in his revision (re-reflecting upon its wider implications) of this experience in Conjectures of A Guilty Bystander, will guide our prayer and dialogue during this one-day contemplative experience.

Jonathan Montaldo will present 3 teaching conferences during the course of this day which will be interspersed with Prayer, Silence and Community sharing.

  • Conference 1. “The Gate to Paradise is Everywhere” and “There are no strangers”: We are already One and the Body of Christ: Inspirations for our contemplative prayer from Thomas Merton’s “epiphany” on 4th and Walnut in Louisville.
  • Conference 2. Our humanity being transformed by and in divinity: Always stretching forward toward Christ in Thomas Merton’s spirituality informed by Saint Paul’s.
  • Conference 3. The figure of Sophia in Thomas Merton’s experience of praying contemplatively.


The current outline of the day is as follows::

8:15 – Doors open, check-in begins
9:00 – Check-in continues, Breakfast snacks available (30 mins)
9:30 – Introduction to the Day (10 mins)
9:40 – Conference 1 and Prayer Period (1 hr, 20 mins)
11:00 – Silent Break (15 mins)
11:15 – Conference 2 and Prayer Period (1 hr, 20 mins)
12:35 – Full Lunch and free time (with or without conversation) (1 hr, 25 mins)
2:00 – Conference 3 and Prayer Period (1 hr, 20 mins)

3:20 – Break (10 mins)
3:30 – Small Group Dialogue (30 min)
4:00 – End of Day Reflection and Closing Prayer (15 mins)


Fr. Sam Fuller, OFM Cap.

Sunday Vigil Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Sam Fuller OFM 4:30 p.m. in the Public Chapel.

Fr Sam is grateful for having discovered Centering Prayer in the early 1990’s which led to his reclaiming his Catholic faith and becoming a parishioner of a parish in mid-Coast Maine and eventual joining the Capuchins in 2000.

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An Engaging Faith: Jonathan Montaldo on Radio with Elizabeth Reardon


What a pleasure it was to have you on the show today! God bless you in your travels and journey in faith! Today’s show is now available on podcast at

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A HOLY JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY–A Pilgrimage Retreat in Assisi, Italy

Assisi CathedralJoin a Pilgrimage Retreat to Assisi, Italy to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy with the Lourdes Wellness Retreat Team, Marianne Hieb, RSM and Helen Owens, OSF, along with special guest presenter Jonathan Montaldo.

341fbe0f-c116-4554-9e8a-dec449ca87d1Abide in Assisi, Italy, during eight contemplative days that span the feasts of All Saints and the Holy Souls, encountering and exploring themes of Mercy in the life and writings of Saint Francis and Thomas Merton

–with Jonathan Montaldo, Merton scholar, writer and editor

–with Marianne Hieb, artist and art therapist

–with Helen Owens, wholistic nurse educator, former missionary, and health care minister.

Encounter the poetic prayers of Francis of Assisi, and the ancient wisdom of Italy’s sacred landscapes. Enter the spirit of the Jubilee Year, heeding the call of Pope Francis.

Our schedule is spacious. Group gatherings, prayer, silence, dialogue, and meditations are balanced with time for contemplative wandering, exploring Assisi’s winding streets and expansive vistas, her hidden alleyways and the Holy Doors of her great Basilicas.

Assisi fieldsOur retreat is hosted at Hotel Giotto, Via FonteBella, Assisi PG, near the Basilica of San Francesco, with stunning views of the Umbrian Valley. A delightful buffet breakfast and a typical Umbrian dinner served in the Hotel restaurant enhances our communal experience. Want a preview? Virtually visit Hotel Giotto online at

Retreat Fees:
Single occupancy: 7 nights with full program, half-day excursion to sacred Franciscan sites, two meals daily at Hotel Giotto: $2690.00

Shared occupancy: 7 nights with full program, half day excursion, two meals daily: $2,340

56e03e1b-8ef4-4553-83b5-29ec997e0e7aInterested in joining us? Contact Beverly Chabalowski at 856-757-3188 to obtain your registration form. Complete the form and submit your $500 deposit to secure your accommodations.

You will be able to pay online, send a check, or call in your credit card. Deposit due upon registration. Final payment due October 14, 2016. Payment plans available, please inquire.

Unable to attend the entire pilgrimage?

Join us for a RETREAT INTENSIVE October 31 – November 4, 2016
to celebrate the feasts of All Saints and the Holy Souls.

Single occupancy: $1550.00   Shared occupancy: $1350.00

Not included in retreat fees: Airfare, local travel from airport to Assisi, lunches, and personal gratuities. Travel Insurance is strongly encouraged.

For more in-depth program details or questions, contact Marianne Hieb and the Lourdes Spirituality and Creativity Program at 856-869-8190.

We are proud to offer this 7th Annual Assisi Retreat by Lourdes Wellness Services, 1049 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108.


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“Why I Read Thomas Merton:” A Note by Jonathan Montaldo

Why I read Thomas Merton

What has moved me most personally in Merton’s text, after over fifty years of reading his books, is his love of learning, his continuing education to expand his experiences and knowledge of what it means to live and love as a hopeful and courageous human being.

I have been moved by Merton’s authentic prayerfulness, his consistency in maintaining his dialogues with God until the end of his day.

I have been moved by his courage to buck systems and swim against currents by his public support of racial justice, non-violence and peaceful coexistence with all nations and religions.

photo (2)I have been moved by Merton’s affirmation of the rights of the unique person existing within institutions, which often approach the diversity of human relationships with inflexible ideologies. Merton consistently struggled with his own prejudices and projections; he never ceased to do the inner work necessary to walk away from habitual states of consciousness whenever he discovered himself still too non-inclusive to be a thoroughly catholic human being.

I have been moved by Merton’s vocation as a monk and writer to be a witness to the unity of all beings.  Although he fully realized that the unity to which human persons are called would never be finally realized in his life time, he lived by faith that at a future “end and redeemed time” the entire universe of beings would finally know together that they have been eternally without exception loved by God.

Jonathan Montaldo

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Kathleen Deignan and Jonathan Montaldo Dialogue on Thomas Merton, April 2015

Kathleen DeignanKathleen Deignan and I were filmed in dialogue about Thomas Merton during the Spiritual Directors International Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in April, 2015. The Conference, entitled “Emerging Wisdom,” honored Merton’s centenary in 2015.

View the video here:

The entire interview will be featured in SDI’s newsletter, “Discover,” in August, 2015.

Kathleen Deignan is a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame and Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY where she founded and directs the Iona Spirituality Institute, the Merton Contemplative Initiative,  and is a founding Convener of the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue.   Dr. Deignan holds a Masters Degree in the History of Christian Spirituality and a Doctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University.  She is the author of ChristSpirit: The Eschatology of Shaker Christianity; When the Trees Say Nothing: Thomas Merton’s Writings on Nature; and Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours. A board member and past president of the International Thomas Merton Society, she is psalmist and composer in residence for Schola Ministries which has published a dozen collections of sacred songs. (

For further information contact:

Brittany Waldean
Membership Services Coordinator
Spiritual Directors International
PO Box 3584│Bellevue, WA 98009 USA
Office: 01-425-455-1565 │Fax: 01-425-455-1566

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Reading Merton to Friends at His Hermitage, ITMS Meeting 2015


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A Thomas Merton Centenary Pilgrimage Retreat in Assisi, Italy, October 28 – November 4, 2015

Assisi CathedralLourdes Wellness, a division of Lourdes Health System in New Jersey, will sponsor its Sixth Annual Assisi, Italy Event from OCTOBER 28 to NOVEMBER 4, 2015: A PILGRIMAGE RETREAT to honor the 100th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s birth in 2015.

Join Marianne Hieb, RSM and Helen Owens, OSF, along with special guest facilitator, Jonathan Montaldo, for eight days in Assisi, Italy. In community and in solitude we will celebrate Merton’s centenary year by reflecting on the monk and spiritual writer’s deep relationship with Saint Francis of Assisi and Franciscan spirituality.

Assisi fieldsWe will explore the Umbrian countryside in the season leading to the holy feasts of All Saints and All Souls while meditating on “all our relations in Christ.” The retreat’s themes will deepen our appreciation of the holiness of our friendships and those who companion with us as we journey through our every day lives.


Marianne Hieb, a Sister of Mercy with a doctorate in Ministry, is an artist, art therapist, and a retreat and spiritual director. She facilitates Spirituality, Creativity and Wellness programs through Lourdes Wellness Services. She is the author of Inner Journeying through Art-Journaling and creator of the Encirclings Sculpture series.

Helen Owens, a Franciscan sister with a doctorate in Ministry, is a nurse and missionary. She is the former Vice-President of Mission for Lourdes Health System and is the founder of Lourdes Wellness Center. She integrates wholistic spirituality and wellness into her spiritual ministry. She has an Integrative Nurse Coaching practice at Lourdes Wellness Services.

Jonathan Montaldo is a retreat and workshop leader, an editor of Merton’s writings and a former director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. He most recently edited a volume of over a hundred reflections by international contributors that honors Merton’s centenary: We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope.

Registration is limited so act soon! For a complete brochure of the retreat visit or call (856)-869-8190 and ask for Beverly.

Assisi streetYou may join the pilgrimage for the full seven nights or choose to attend an “intensive” of four nights to celebrate the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day.





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Jonathan Montaldo to Present Retreat at Shalom Spirituality Center in Dubuque, Iowa, April 24-26.

exterior Shalom w logoDubuque, Iowa–March 13, 2015–Internationally recognized writer, editor and retreat presenter Jonathan Montaldo will lead a retreat weekend titled “Choosing to Love the World: A Retreat with the Contemplative Poetry of Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton” beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24 and concluding at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 26 at Shalom Spirituality Center, 1001 Davis Street, Dubuque.

This leisured retreat will ruminate on the spiritual practices of silence and solitude that infuse the poetry of Mary Oliver, a best selling American poet, and the prose-poetry of Thomas Merton (1915–1968), a monk whose teachings on “contemplative living” remain significant for contemporary spiritual practice. The retreat will emphasize themes associated with Mary Oliver’s practice of “loving the world” and with Merton’s teachings on prayer. We will reflect on how we might include the poetry and practices of these two poet-mentors into our own daily contemplative living. The retreat includes Sunday Eucharistic liturgy.

The offering to attend is $90 for commuters and $175 for overnight retreatants. To register, call Shalom at 563/582-3592 by April 20 or visit

Note: A $10 early bird discount is available to anyone registering by March 24

Jonathan Montaldo is a former director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, and he served as the associate director of the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living. He has edited numerous volumes of Merton’s writing and created the ten-booklet series for small group dialogue Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton. His latest book is an edition of over one hundred reflections of international contributors to celebrate Merton’s 100th birthday year during 2015: We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope published by Fons Vitae Press and now available on


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Jonathan Montaldo will host a Philadelphia Celebration of Thomas Merton’s Centenary: A Day of Reflection Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy and the International Thomas Merton Society

ThomasMertonGriffithSunday, March 22, 2015
10:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Hosted at the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy
515 Montgomery Avenue
Merion, PA 19066

This year will witness international celebrations of the legacy of one of the most influential spiritual writers of our time. Join a Philadelphia celebration of the centenary of Thomas Merton’s birth (January 31, 1915-2015).

Jonathan Montaldo will guide these hours of reflection that will include a presentation of Merton’s teaching on prayer and an exhibition of Merton’s drawings curated by Dr. Marianne Hieb, spiritual and retreat director and a Sister of Mercy.

The event is free and sponsored by a grant from the International Thomas Merton Society.

Part of the celebration will be a movement to found a chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society in Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey.

There is limited seating and thus pre-registration is required. Contact Marianne at or call Epiphany House at 856-324-0512. If you are leaving a telephone message, please provide your phone number and email address.

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Jonathan Montaldo Presents Ave Maria Press Webinar in Celebration of Thomas Merton’s Centenary

Jonathan Webinar PhotoThe Ave Maria Press Webinar

featuring Jonathan Montaldo, presented live on

January 27th,


While you can no longer see Montaldo live (Martha Stewart might remark, “And that’s a good thing.”), the Power Point Presentation with Montaldo’s commentary is being received favorably.

Learning Wisdom in the School of Your Own Life: Thomas Merton’s Practice for Contemplative Prayer
Presented by Jonathan Montaldo, creator of the ten-volume series for small group dialogue, Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton
Date: January 27, 2015
Time: 3 p.m.–4 p.m. EST

In anticipation of Thomas Merton’s 100th birthday celebration, author and Merton expert, Jonathan Montaldo, provided parish ministers with a unique perspective on contemplative prayer and demonstrated how we can integrate it into our lives or the lives of the people theyserve.

Thomas Merton taught his novices a way of praying that would allow them to enter the school of wisdom provided by their most personal experiences. He taught a perspective for contemplative prayer through which his students could meditate upon a divine providence at work in all their significant relationships with persons, books, art, and everything they loved.

In this webinar, Montaldo examined three key texts from Merton’s journals that feature the monk’s understanding of the value of his relationships with others as guidance for creating his own destiny to love and seek God. This teaching could instigate a new way of meditation as a practice for parish ministers and those they guide in spiritual formation.


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