Sampling of Programs/Presentations/Retreats
offered by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM
- Directed Retreats (Weekends, 6 or 8 day Retreats)
- Guided Retreats
- Presentations (day/weekend)
- Spiritual Direction (offered only in the Scranton, PA area or during directed retreats)
- A Sampling of Day/Weekend programs (below)
Note: These generally include prayer, input from the presenter, times of stillness and personal reflection, reflection material, and sharing and conversation, according to the needs of the group. There are other themes available in addition to this beginning list. Specific themes can also be developed according to the needs and desire of your group.
Widening the Reach of Our Tenderness
Throughout his life, Jesus showed his concern for the wounded, the fragile, for all that is broken and flawed in our world. In our own time, as we experience violence, suffering, and fractured relationships, we also hear Pope Francis speak of the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. How are we called to deepen compassion and embrace tenderness as a practice in our everyday lives?
Claiming Our Lives as Both Blessed and Blessing
When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, he was blessed and called the “beloved.” Whatever happened during Jesus’ life—praise or blame–he clung to that blessing and was sustained by it. Our world can sometimes be a cold, lonely, and scary place, but when we bless others, we offer them refuge from an indifferent world. When we bless and are blessed, we affirm and say “yes” to our belovedness. How might we open our hearts to allow the healing power of God to work in us and through us?
Saved by Beauty
The great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared, “The world will be saved by beauty.” In our world that is so often broken and wounded, how might we surround, nurture, and restore ourselves with the beautiful? Come and experience a time when we pray, reflect, and immerse body and spirit in beautiful words, images, movement and sound. Bring an open heart and wear comfortable clothing.
Naming the Deep Breath
In Mary Oliver’s poem, “Sunrise”, she asks: “What is the name of the deep breath I would take over and over for all of us?”
Each day of our lives we take over 20,000 breaths, most of them unconsciously. How might we name that deep breath so that we live with greater attentiveness and awareness? In this day, we will cultivate mindfulness as a life practice, engage in forms of breathprayer, and explore the grace of deep listening in the ordinary moments of everyday living.
Spiritual Spa Day
We have heard, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Yet how do we truly love ourselves? How do we nurture our own soul and body as we also care for our world through our ongoing responsibilities of work, family, and relationships? This day will afford us Sabbath time, a chance to assess our energy and spirit, restore balance, and move us towards wholeness and well-being through quiet, prayer, reflection, and self care.
Our Work Is Loving the World
The poet Mary Oliver writes that, “My work is loving the world” and then prays, “Let me keep my mind on my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” In this day, we will explore our life’s work, our true vocation: to love the world as Jesus did. We will reflect on how, in the arena of the everyday, we can cultivate mindfulness and awareness, live contemplatively, and practice tenderness for all that is lost and wounded, broken and fragile among us.
This can be offered in the format of a single day, a weekend, or longer, and can include one, some, or all of the following:
“What in the World? It’s All about the Reign of God”
“A Spirituality of Work”
“No More Either/Or: Living Contemplatively in This World”
“Imagine That: Seeing Our World through the Eyes of God”
“Our Lives as Blessed and Blessing for the World”.
Additional themes are also available for Advent, Lent, and other seasons
Waiting in the Edges
So much of daily life involves waiting: in traffic, in line, for news, for results, for change. Advent calls us to a fresh and lifelong way of being, one where we actively wait, paying attention with an expectant heart and listening to God in the ordinary moments of everyday life. No matter what is happening in our lives and our world, Advent reminds us that we are not waiting alone, for God waits with us and for us and desires our homecoming. Come and spend this day creating a spacious welcome for the coming of Emmanuel through prayer, input, stillness, and reflection.
Fasting and Feasting
The season of Lent is traditionally a time of fasting, but it is so much more. Lent also invites us into a season of feasting, of feeding our hunger for meaning and for the Divine at work in our lives. This day will invite us to explore what we need to fast from or let go of, and also how we can be nourished by the deep desires of our heart that are part of God’s dream for our world.
Standing with the Women of Holy Week
During this season when we reflect on Jesus’ journey to Calvary, we also remember Jesus as he lives today in the crucified peoples of our world. What insights might the women of Holy Week offer us towards a theology of remaining and accompaniment? How might the women invite us to deeper solidarity with our beautiful, yet wounded world?
Imaging the Holy (Focus on Women)
Our worldview is shaped and influenced by the way we imagine the Divine. As we grow in grace and our images of God evolve and expand, we’re called to integrate all dimensions of the feminine into our spirituality; to bring the fullness of our lives, with all their wonder and messiness, into our life of prayer; to hear our lives and pray with them in the conext of our life experience and relationships with God and our neighbors.
In this day, we’ll reflect on who God is for us at this time in our lives and how the Divine is expressed through the qualities of compassion, relatedness, nurturing, and wisdom. We’ll explore how to grow the life of the Spirit and to imagine the feminine as a gift in service to our beautiful, yet wounded world.
Spiritual Spring Cleaning
As Nature visibly renews herself this season, she invites us to ask: What do we want to create with our lives? This day of spiritual spring cleaning is a soul-making experience that opens us to clear the path of our heart, make room for more, and reflect on what is meaningful, liberating, and emerging for ourselves and others. Come and join in a day when we can de-clutter, refresh, and green our lives.
NOTE: Spiritual Spring Cleaning is a sample of a 1-day seasonal program. There are also 1-day programs available for the seasons of fall, winter, and summer.