Garry Oak

"...things do not lose spirit simply because they inhabit form… the created world is infinitely precious and valuable in its own right." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three


About St. Brendan

St. Brendan the Voyager

The Contemplative Society

" the heart comes alive as an organ of spiritual perception, we are able to perceive the invisible Kingdom of Love that surrounds us - and live it into being." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault


"Split a piece of wood, and there I am. Pick up a stone and you will find me there." ~ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 77


"Only after the terror of one's own diminishment and annihilation, after the last scraps of clinging to life at any cost have been left behind forever, is it possible to truly live in hope." ~ Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope p. 69


Welcome to The Contemplative Society website. We are an inclusive non-profit association that encourages a deepening of contemplative prayer based in the Christian Wisdom tradition while also welcoming and being supportive of other meditation traditions. We are based in Victoria BC Canada and serve a global audience. Our work is conducted by a voluntary Board of Directors and one part-time Administrator.

We offer local retreats, wisdom schools, and workshops led by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault and other teachers of the Christian contemplative path. In cooperation with other similar organizations, we promote the contemplative Wisdom path and offer events in other geographic locations.

On this website you will find instructional and inspiration materials, in both textual and audio format, supportive of the contemplative life.


In the Wake of St. Brendan – Teaching by Cynthia Bourgeault

Cynthia discusses how Brendan’s historically controversial voyage may be seen as an archetype of not just the monastic vocation but also the human vocation of seeking union with the divine by bridging time and the timeless. In particular, she focuses on the key role of lectio divina and psalmody as practiced daily by St. Brendan and his fellow travelers as they explored islands, peoples, and cultures looking for the Land Promised to the Saints. Through her teachings, we come to appreciate these two spiritual practices as “ancient vessels of transformation” that develop the “unitive imagination”. Cynthia presents these practices as “essential to approaching the Christian mystery” and relevant to today’s “new rising” in Christianity. Available as a 4-CD set or MP3 download. More details and audios for purchase on the Audio page.

Cynthia Bourgeault

Cynthia Bourgeault

Modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader, Cynthia Bourgeault divides her time between solitude at her seaside hermitage in Maine, and a demanding schedule traveling globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and Wisdom path.


Welcome to Ruth Dantzer, our newest board member! Ruth joined the Board in March 2016. She has experience as a chaplain, retreat leader, spiritual director, and yoga teacher. Currently, she is at home with her two young children. Ruth began her meditation practice in 1999 through her immersion in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She discovered Centering Prayer in 2002 while studying Contemplative Christianity at Naropa University. From there she attended several retreats with Father Thomas Keating at his monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, and eventually was introduced to Cynthia Bourgeault. As life allows, she has been practicing ever since.

Thank You to Our Donors

Our work is made possible through the generous support of our donors and the following organizations:


Our recent retreat with the Rev. Matthew Wright, M.Div. was made possible by a grant from the Trust for the Meditation Process, a charitable foundation encouraging meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative prayer.