Laurence Freeman in South Africa – September 2019

Fr Laurence Freeman, director and spiritual leader of the World Community for Christian Meditation will be in South Africa from 5-16 September this year dividing his time between Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Interacting with various groups, he will share his understanding and experience of meditation and point out the many benefits of the practice for people living in an age of over-busyness and constant distraction.

The visit is co-hosted by the Catholic Institute of Education and The Jesuit Institute of South Africa.

Below is a schedule of events with contact and booking details for each.



6 September 2019 (12.30 – 15.30)  A Gift for Life: Introducing Christian Meditation to the Young (at Our Lady Help of Christians, 312 Imam Haron Rd, Lansdowne) [CONTACT: Catholic Schools Office (021 761 6541)]  R150


6 September 2019 (18.00 – 21:00)  Contemplative Prayer for Today (Seminar at in Harmonie, R45 Franschhoek) [CONTACT: (021 876 8032)] Donation

 7 September 2019 (08.30 – 13.00)  Contemplative Revolution (Seminar at St Stephen’s Anglican Church, 7 Central Square, Pinelands) [CONTACT: (074 103 8999)] Donation



Monday 9 September (19:00 – 21:00) Contemplative Revolution (Public Seminar at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 212 Florida Rd, Morningside) [CONTACT: Fr Brett Williams (031 303 1890)] I Donation

Tuesday 10 September (08:30 – 10:00) Good Work (Business Breakfast at The Sett, 1 Tamarind Close, Umhlanga Ridge) [CONTACT]  R150


Tuesday 10 September (12:00 – 15:00) A Gift for Life: Introducing Christian Meditation to the Young (at Glenmore Pastoral Centre, 10 Donlene Crescent, Glenmore) [CONTACT: Catholic Schools Office (031 700 8090)] R100



12 September 2019 (12.30 – 15.30) A Gift for Life: Introducing Christian Meditation to the Young (at Holy Family College, 40 Oxford Rd, Parktown) [CONTACT: Catholic Schools Office (011 447 9219)] R100


11 September 2019 (19.00 – 21:00) Contemplative Revolution (Lecture at St Augustine College, 53 Ley Road, Victory Park) [CONTACT: St Augustine College  (011 380 9000)] Donation

12 September 2019 (19.00 – 21.00) Word into Silence (Seminar at Jesuit Institute, 15 Molesey Avenue, Auckland Park) [CONTACT: Jesuit Institute (011 482 4237)] R150

13 September 2019 (08.30 – 15.00) Where the Spirit is there is liberty (Day Retreat at Origins, 32 Sterkfontein Caves Rd, Kromdraai) [CONTACT: Jesuit Institute (011 482 4237)] R150

14 September 2019 (09.00 – 15.00) Conversations (Seminar at Mosaiek, 1 Danielle St, Fairland) [CONTACT: (011 268 4700)] R250

At business breakfasts in Cape Town and Durban, he will engage participants in a conversation on work and leadership. Drawing on the wisdom of the Rule of St Benedict from the 6th century, Fr Laurence applies it to modern challenges such as stress and the intensity of change. Introducing meditation as a form of interior good work, he shows how it produces both personal and organisational transformation. He has recently published a book on this topic called Good Work.

At seminars designed specifically for teachers and catechists, Fr Laurence will draw on the World Community’s experience of teaching meditation around the world and the research it has delivered. He will show how natural and welcome meditation is to the young. The question, he says, is not ‘why should we teach meditation in schools?’, but ‘why on earth don’t we?’

The general public will also have opportunities to interact with Fr Laurence. At seminars in all three centres, Fr Laurence will remind his listeners that Christians have a unique tradition of meditation that also forms part of the universal wisdom of humanity. In an age of stress, multiple crisis and of change that runs ahead of our ability to control, this tradition is a major gift we have for the world today. Modern life, he says, calls for a contemplative revolution, a radical change of perception and so of lifestyle. Spirituality is living with awareness of the highest goals and meaning of human life. These are not achieved abstractly but by living in the present – which is the essential meaning of contemplation. The way we pray shapes the way we live.

Those who would like to experience a more contemplative time with Fr Laurence can attend a day retreat at the Origins Retreat Centre in the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. Approaching the theme, ”Where the spirit is there is liberty”, he will invite retreatants to reflect on the following question: In a post-truth world and in an era of artificial intelligence what, on earth, does spirituality mean? In a ‘post- Christendom’ church and a secular society, what is the contribution of the disciples of Jesus to the healing renewal of humanity? Meditation does not magically solve all our problems but without doubt it allows us to approach and deal with them in a newly contemplative way.

The round of events will culminate at Mosaiek Church in Fairland, Johannesburg where Fr Laurence will be guest speaker at a day event called Conversations. He will speak of the contemplative revolution needed in the Christian tradition and society as a whole. The deep unity that this brings takes down barriers between peoples of all faiths and beliefs. The programme is suitable for those who are new to meditation in the Christian tradition and wanting to  learn more about it as well as for those already practising and who wish to deepen their journey.

For further details contact Paul Faller at or on 083 326 4568

John Main Seminar 2019

Here are details of this years John Main Seminar and pre-seminar retreat to be held at Quest University, Squamish (near Vancouver) Canada August 5 -11.

Those of you who have been to a John Main Seminar know that it is a special time to gather as a community, meditate together, and share in rich teaching.  This year’s seminar will be led by Rev Dr Sarah Bachelard an internationally respected theologian, retreat leader and priest, and author of the book Experiencing God in a Time of Crisis.  She was one of the speakers on The Life and Legacy of John Main at the 2007 seminar.  We are blessed to have such a qualified speaker as Sarah who shares the journey of Christian meditation with us and is deeply grounded in our tradition. Her topic A Contemplative Christianity for Our Time has been inspiring young contemplatives and invites us to explore fresh insights for the church and society at large.  We are also blessed to have Fr Laurence lead the pre-seminar silent retreat on the theme Sources of Wisdom.

All the details are below and in the brochure which you can download here.

Bonnevaux: A Contemplative and Meditation Retreat Centre for The World Community for Christian Meditation

Contemplative centres through history have always served as places of peace and reconciliation. A thousand years ago a Benedictine monastery was built in Bonnevaux, near Poitiers in France. On these ancient foundations we would like to develop a contemplative centre for the 21st century.

Bonnevaux will contribute to the peace-building and mutual understanding so much needed in our world now. As a meditation centre with its roots deep in the Christian tradition and yet open to all in an inclusive spirit, it will show the potential of meditation for people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds to unify minds and heal divided hearts. With its focus on a simple and universal teaching Bonnevaux will deepen the contemplative dimension of Christian life and also bring the fruits of meditation to people of other religious or secular beliefs.

Bonnevaux is a beautiful site.  It is an ideal space with a spirit of deep peace and beauty for a contemplative retreat centre attuned to the needs of our time.  It will provide a home for The World Community for Christian Meditation and bring together meditators from around the globe in friendship. There will be a resident core community who will manage the centre and welcome participants for retreats and courses. A programme of retreats, courses and events will be offered here to continue the work and mission of our community.

Please share this good news with your friends and colleagues and visit the website for more details

International Seminar Report : Teaching Meditation to Children



At the suggestion of Fr Laurence Freeman, current leader of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), Dr Cathy Day and Mr Ernie Christie of Catholic Education, Townsville, Australia, were invited to South Africa to share their story and experience with teachers in Catholic schools. Both have been intimately involved in a 10-year project in their home diocese, introducing and supporting meditation in 31 schools. On the basis of their experience they have been invited to run seminars far and wide – in the USA, Ireland, UK, Poland, Singapore, Indonesia and at home across Australia.


The 9 seminars which took place in Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and cape Town were attended by some 550 teachers and other interested parties. The seminars comprised the following elements:

  1. The Townsville story: A brief explanation as to how Christian Meditation has been developed and embedded into Catholic school prayer practice across a system of Catholic schools
  2. What is Christian Meditation? A video, Learning to Be with testimonies from teachers and students in the Townsville diocese
  3. Experience of the practice
  4. Exploration of key concepts
  5. A second video, Teaching Children to Meditate, illustrating ways of implementing the practice in schools
  6. A look to the future – what shall I do?


The following email messages were received subsequent to the seminars.

Fri 2015/10/02 11:38 AM

Thank you for the Teaching Meditation Seminar on Tuesday.  The experience has stayed with us all week and my niece who came with us and who is suffering from a breakdown with panic attacks and has not been able to sleep for weeks had a full night’s sleep with no sleeping pills on Tuesday night.  Alleluia!

Yours sincerely… Johannesburg

Wed 2015/09/30 07:49 AM

Thank you so much for putting together the exciting course yesterday on Christian Meditation. I am looking forward to adding it to the RE programme I cover with my Grade 4 – 6s at St Teresa’s and eventually introducing it next year as whole school meditation as part of our assembly time. Please could I order a chime from you, and could you let me know what the most suitable form of payment would be.

Many thanks…SS, LO and RE Teacher, Grades 4 – 6

Sat 2015/09/26 12:35 PM

Many of you may have not even noticed this event or meant to enquire and then forgot…

Last night we attended “A WAY TO PEACE: TEACHING MEDITATION TO CHILDREN” (& Contemplative Prayer) presented by Dr Cathy Day & Ernie Christie of Catholic Education, Townsville (Australia) in our Parish Hall. (The CWL served an amazing finger food supper and refreshments – most appreciated!)

Well we were quite blown away and wish everyone could have had attended and had this knowledge imparted to them; the focus is on children but we are all in need of this (His) way to balance our lives and find the true peace that Christ intends – not only for ourselves personally but also for shining His Light & Peace in this frenetic world. The testimonies from the children and adults alike were so encouraging and insightful as well. So heart-warming to see them and the results in action.

A 2½ hr life changing event. Very easy to understand and absorb, presented so interestingly! We cannot emphasise enough how valuable this teaching is. Take off work/arrange a babysitter – just do whatever you have to – to get there!!


If only all the teachers, psychologists and other ‘professionals’ would also learn and do this;  then impart these God given ways to deal with our collective stress and ADD and many other dysfunctions of our day. (You’ll see why if you go along!)

Additional helping literature/resources and pamphlets are given, plus a valuable booklet “Christian Meditation YOUR DAILY PRACTICE” is available for R20.

Thu 2015/09/24 03:33 PM

Thank you for bringing Ernie and Cathy to Durban on 21 September. I managed to encourage all the Pre-Primary and Junior Prep teachers to attend and booked long in advance. They all embraced the experience and have been enjoying trying out Christian Meditation in their classes over the last two days. The children have responded positively already and have been asking the teachers each day to give them time for this.

Kind regards… HOD: Junior Prep

What of the Future?

Participants were invited at the conclusion of the seminar to indicate on a form which of the following services from CIE they might be interested in:

  • o Introductory workshops for teachers and/or parents
  • o Supporting materials for the implementation of meditation
  • o Regular printed materials and newsletters for enrichment
  • o Courses for teachers of meditation

143 replies were received and these are being processed with a view to devising a follow-up strategy for 2016 and beyond.