Living School

Dear contemplative friends,

This post comes to alert you to an extraordinary learning opportunity, which I hope you will find as exciting as I do. Richard Rohr, James Finley, and I are teaming up as core faculty for what Richard is calling his “Living School”, a two-year program of cognitive learning and spiritual formation in the best of the Christian mystical tradition. The program will feature a combination of onsite and distance learning. Over the two-year course of study there will be an annual 4-day symposium (three altogether) in a resort facility near Albuquerque, a week-long residential study with Richard at the Rohr Institute in Albuquerque (organized in groups of 25 to provide for more intimate interaction with faculty and with fellow students), and user-friendly computer distance learning modules. The three core faculty will be joined by quite a stellar galaxy of invited master teachers.

Cynthia and Richard Rohr

Cynthia and Richard Rohr

The program aims to be (in the words of the promotional brochure), “an underground seminary…creating three-dimensional twenty-first century people in the best that Christianity has to offer.” The emphasis will be on Christianity’s innate nondual Wisdom teachings and practices, taught in an atmosphere of inclusivity and deep respect for all spiritual traditions.

There is quite a heritage of spiritual Wisdom in the core faculty itself. Richard is a worthy descendent of his spiritual father St. Francis, upholding the Franciscan tradition of radical surrender and compassion. Those of you who were with us in Assisi this May know first hand what a rare treasure he is.

James Finley

James Finley

James Finley is also an authentic spiritual son: of Thomas Merton, who was his novice master during his early years at Gethsemani Abbey. Jim now lives in California, where he works as a psychotherapist, writer, and retreat leader. He is an unsurpassed master in his teachings on the Christian mystical tradition, particularly John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.

As for me, as most of you know, I am particularly interested in Christian contemplative Wisdom, particularly the interface between monastic and mystical insight and the classic teachings of the Christian inner tradition.

Our invited master teachers will draw the circle wide, including representatives from both liberal and evangelical camps, and occasionally from other spiritual traditions as well. We are held together by a common passion for transformation and reconciliation in a fractured and frightened world. Our aim is to make a difference: to turn out people who are ready and willing to step into a future based on our common humanity and the oneness of all living beings. Christianity is where we come from, but the future is where we are headed.

Tuition for the entire two-year program is about $3600— quite a bargain considering the quality and quantity of instruction being offered.

Enrollment in the inaugural school (which will start in September 2013) is limited to 150, and the enrollment period is now open, with application packets already going fast. The enrollment period will close on September 30, so I would encourage you not to delay, as frankly, I’d love to connect with you all again in this powerful new format. Check it out at; all the information you need to proceed can be found there….

I hope we’ll have some takers!

All blessings, Cynthia

7 replies
  1. Lois lynch
    Lois lynch says:

    Longed for the contemplative but felt should be more active. A fall and broken shoulder then a fall down some stairs,later a car accident have left me house confined. I am 78 ,live alone and believe the spirit is saying it is o.k. To be still and contemplative. Loid

  2. Anthony (Tony) Chetty
    Anthony (Tony) Chetty says:

    I feel a deep calling to join a group of contemplatives.I am based in Cape Town,South Africa.
    As a convert from Hinduism to Christianity (Catholic Church) I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of all of life exemplified in the life of Jesus the Christ. I was blessed to have
    had just one day of teaching by Fr.Richard Rohr when he visited South Africa early this year and I
    knew that I had to return to silence in a disciplined way,letting the Immeasurable speak to my heart.

    As a retired person I will have to save for some time to come over to the USA.

  3. Alan Mackenzie
    Alan Mackenzie says:

    Cynthia’s words echo in my ears as I read about the Wisdom School: “Our aim is to make a difference: to turn out people who are ready and willing to step into a future based on our common humanity and the oneness of all living beings.” I missed the opportunity to attend her Wisdom School in N. Carolina this fall. I had to work to support my family. My SD has been very helpful in assisting me to understand “the voice from the desert” whcih continues to beckon me to follow God’s call on my life (and that of my family). I will apply for the 2013 School next week; and will put it all to our Lord in prayer. I believe His plan is for me to attend… everything in my heart and soul ‘rings’ in resonnance with this truth.

    My prayers also go to Rev. Cynthia and Fr. Richard as they prepare to be ‘elders & mentors’ — for Jesus & the H.S. to bless their lives richly, as they undertake their preparations. May the Lord make His face to shine upon them — and give them His ‘shalom’…

    Cynthia, I look forward to our week of silent prayer next January in Auckland. Thank you for agreeing to come back downunder — your absence has been felt by all, ma souer! Pax Christi, AAM

    • Barb
      Barb says:

      Praying that the doors will open for you to go. God knows the cry of your heart & soul & He loves those that seek him with all their being.

  4. Phil Ewing
    Phil Ewing says:

    Like Kari’s comment I live in the UK and am retired.

    I would love to be part of this new venture but would not be able to travel to Albuquerque. Would it be possible for you to consider adapting your programme to allow people like me to participate in what you are doing solely via the distance learning part ??

  5. kari
    kari says:

    I would so much want to join. But I live in another part of the world (northern Europe). My longing prayer is that some day this also can be offered to people living here.

  6. DJ Wright
    DJ Wright says:

    I am so glad to hear you and Richard Rohr are doing this together. You are a powerful teaching team. I am sure that my community here in the heart of British Columbia will find a way to connect and participate. Thank you thank you!

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