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 society 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 text and audio format, supportive of the contemplative life.


Eye of the Heart – teaching by Matthew Wright

Recorded at a retreat focused primarily on the Gospel of Thomas, Matthew begins by laying out the divergent paths of mainline Roman Christianity (characterised by ascent of and escape from this fallen world) and the more fringe heart-centred Jesus wisdom tradition (characterised by healing a divided soul and faith in a nondual reality as manifested through the diverse faces of God lived out by each individual). Together, we explore the Gospel of Thomas’ themes of attention, non-identified presence, embodiment, and singleness, while the Gospel of Mary Magdalene helps tie these teachings to the heart as an organ of spiritual perception and Teilhard’s writings further illuminate this wisdom tradition in terms of evolutionary thought. Matthew’s approach is meticulous, engaging, and uplifting, showing us the potential of the collective when we all take up the call to incarnate our unique expression of the divine, creating heaven on earth.

Available as a 11-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.


It’s difficult to find the words for how grateful we are to everyone who contributed to this year’s special 20th anniversary campaign raising funds for the new Margaret Haines Scholarship Fund. We wanted to find a way to keep retreat costs as low as possible while also ensuring support is available to contemplatives who wish to attend but are constrained financially. Through the incredibly generous support of our members and donors, we are extremely pleased to announce that not only did we achieve our goal of $5000, we surpassed it by an extra $2812.17 as donations flooded in over the holiday weekend! We are humbled and astounded by your outpouring of support.

We also want to acknowledge those of you who contributed through the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, giving us the chance to win $10,000. While we lost this competition, we gained so much for our community – many blessings to you!

Everyone who contributed to the Margaret Haines Scholarship Fund before June 30 will receive exclusive access to a special interview between a Contemplative Society member and Cynthia Bourgeault – stay tuned for your invitation!

The Margaret Haines Scholarship Fund will continue to be an area you can support to help ensure that retreat costs are kept independent of scholarships, helping to increase the accessibility of contemplative learning and practice opportunities for all. To contribute, please visit


Thank You to Our Donors

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


Our last Wisdom School with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault was made possible by a grant from the Trust for the Meditation Process, a charitable foundation encouraging meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative prayer.