The Contemplative Society.
Recovering the mystical heart of the Christian Wisdom Tradition.
The Contemplative Society is 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 offer a consistent and balanced path for spiritual growth and transformation rooted in prayer, silence, mindful work, and in the 1500-year-old wisdom of our Benedictine contemplative heritage.
The Society supports the work of Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault in her role of Principal Teacher and Advisor for The Contemplative Society and her vocation as a hermit and writer. We do so by sponsoring retreats, wisdom schools, and workshops led by Cynthia and other distinguished teachers of the Christian contemplative path, and through the sales of instructional and inspiration materials, in both textual and audio format, supportive of the contemplative life.
The Contemplative Society actively nurtures local teachers of the contemplative way and maintains an office to communicate with members and to provide a regular and balanced schedule of retreat, teaching, and workshop opportunities.
A Brief History
The Contemplative Society was formed in 1997 on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia with four original members united in their desire to support an emerging contemplative renewal in the area. The group sought a teacher to lead retreats and workshops, and to encourage the spiritual life by living a contemplative life of deep prayer and spiritual practice.
In January 1998 the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, Episcopal priest, hermit, author, musician and teacher, arrived on Salt Spring Island at the invitation of the Society to take the role of resident teacher. Cynthia’s presence generated tremendous energy and excitement for the work and vision of the Society. From its tiny beginnings the Society has grown to include members from around the world.
As Cynthia has traveled increasingly both on the continent and internationally, other members of the Society have begun to assume some of the responsibility for teaching and leading retreats. Retreats sponsored by The Contemplative Society are usually held in the vicinity of Vancouver Island, or the lower mainland in British Columbia.
Although Cynthia is no longer resident teacher the board continues to support Cynthia in her role as principal Teacher and Advisor to the Society. As principal teacher, through her written works, retreats, and workshops, Cynthia encourages, “reawakening the inner heart of Christianity itself through a direct encounter with the Wisdom Christ, our living interior master, sustained through a combined program of contemplative retreats, inner work, chanting, and sacred movement.” (Cynthia Bourgeault, April 2003)
The Contemplative Society was registered on August 07, 1997. Our registered charity number is 878177161RR0001.
To recover the mystical heart of the Christian Wisdom tradition.
The Contemplative Society seeks to be a thriving facilitating network and active regional presence to any person interested in learning and living contemplative Christian wisdom.
The values of The Contemplative Society include but are not limited to:
- living the Christian Wisdom tradition;
- practicing meditation on a regular basis as foundational to the spiritual journey;
- grounding in scholarship which illuminates the Christian contemplative life;
- honouring the contemplative Christian lineage as expressed in the life of Jesus, the early Desert community and Christian mystics through the ages;
- welcoming all people who wish to engage with the Christian contemplative tradition;
- learning from contemplative practices of other traditions; and
- respecting diversity within the many approaches to spiritual life.