The Contemplative Society presents. . .

A One-Day Online Contemplative Retreat: Exploring the Mysticism of Thomas Merton with James Finley

April 30th, 2023

Part I 10am – 12:15pm ~~ Part II 1pm – 2:30pm


James Finley helps us to see how we can look to the mystics to speak to our spiritual lives and provide wisdom in navigating the challenges of being fully human bearers of the divine spark within. Even now we can draw from their teachings to inform how we live in the monastery of our own lives. Join us for a one day retreat in which we explore the mysticism of Thomas Merton and how it is relevant to our humanity.

Part I of the day will be facilitated by two long time contemplatives and board members of The Contemplative Society who will guide us through reflecting on the themes of the 8 episode podcast Turning to the Mystics with Jim Finley on Thomas Merton with time for contemplative practice, reflection, and contemplative conversation. Part II of the day will be spent with teacher James Finley speaking about Thomas Merton and answering questions.

How to participate: This event is being offered free of cost for members of The Contemplative Society. If you are not a member of The Contemplative Society, you can become a member by making a donation of any amount as part of your event registration.

This retreat will be recorded and will be available for registrants to access for one month following the event.

Event Link here


Part I Retreat Facilitators:

Carol Hekman, Ph.D., Psy.D., is a psychologist and certified psychoanalyst with over 35 years of clinical experience. She received a M.A. in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, where she met her spiritual director, James Finely, and has been a student of the Christian mystical teachings ever since. A graduate of the Living School through the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico, she leads a Centering Prayer group through All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA.  Along with her involvement as a board member of The Contemplative Society,  she is core faculty and a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. She maintains a full-time private practice in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in Pasadena, CA. Find out more at, or


Heather Ruce, M.A. is a wisdom spiritual director companioning individuals and facilitating wisdom practice circles, groups, retreats, and wisdom schools focused on learning and practicing the Christian Wisdom Tradition. She offers teaching and guidance in various wisdom and mindfulness practices including Centering Prayer, Christian meditation, sacred chanting, lectio divina, conscious work and embodiment in service of waking up and putting on the mind of Christ. Find out more at





Part II Retreat Speaker:

James Finley, Ph.D, is a contemplative practitioner, student of Thomas Merton and clinical psychologist. He leads retreats teaching how connecting to our Divine indwelling can transcend fear and shame and awaken to our True Self. Drawing from his experience as a former monk and spiritual directee of Thomas Merton, Jim offers trustworthy guidance for the spiritual journey. A faculty member at the Center for Action and Contemplation, he is the author of Mertons Palace of Nowhere and The Contemplative Heart, and the host of CACs podcast “Turning to the Mystics”.