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 www.bonnevauxwccm.org

International Seminar Report : Teaching Meditation to Children

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Presenters

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.

Seminars

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?

Feedback

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.

Retreat at Good Shepherd Retreat Centre

(Hartbeespoort, Brits)

Date: 20-22 October 2017

This year the retreat will focus forgiveness and reconciliation. We will watch the movie “The Railway Man” and look at a text from the Bible on reconciliation. Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a former British army officer and POW, discovers that the Japanese interpreter who tortured him is still alive. He and his new wife (Nicole Kidman) set out to confront the man who caused him so much pain.

Price: R1200 accommodation and meals.

Contact Johan van den Heever

vdhj100@gmail.com

Space is limited. Please book well in advance.