Heart of Wisdom Monastery

a pop-up monastery for non-monastics
a spiritual oasis for all people in the heart of the city
a diverse and radically inclusive refuge
a seedbed for prophets and justice-makers
a moveable feast for the Soul
an invitation to rest in the Presence of the Holy
renewal and nourishment for the journey
a teaching community offering Christian spiritual practices to all
a glimpse of the Body of Christ in the world

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is no shortage of wonderful spiritual communities and opportunities for spiritual practice.   Yet, being a both/and person in an either/or world, Abbess Joellynn Monahan longed for a place where she could continue learning, teaching, and practicing the ancient spiritual practices of the Christian tradition in radically diverse and inclusive community.  It often felt like she could find one or the other – tradition or inclusion; mystery or freedom.   As she shared her vision for Heart of Wisdom, it became clear that this need was unmet not just for her, but also for many others.  The overwhelming response to Heart of Wisdom’s founding and offerings affirms that people share this longing: to travel well-worn spiritual paths which call people to devotion, liberation/salvation/wholeness, to cultivate compassion and embody justice-making, and to welcome and celebrate (as Christ did) people’s whole selves as gifts to all who gather and to the world!

About Heart of Wisdom Monastery
In summer 2013, while on retreat, Joellynn Monahan received a call to found Heart of Wisdom Monastery and to serve as Abbess – which came as a bit of a surprise!  But that’s how the Holy Spirit rolls!  Heart of Wisdom Monastery began and continues to grow out of deep prayer and reflection in community.

In 2015, The Monastery’s held it’s first pop-up:  a multi-day retreat in July in Mill Valley, CA led by the Abbess.  The diverse gathered community practiced a shared Rule of Life, entered into simple and Great Silence, learned Sabbath as Soul restoration, Prayed the Hours, celebrated the Eucharist/Communion, studied scripture by Lectio Divina,  engaged the natural world as Icon, and reflected on the day with Prayer of Examen.  These traditional Christian practices were intentionally inclusive/expansive in language and ritual, arts-infused and embodied.

Following that first retreat, Heart of Wisdom went deep in a year of formation:  studying monasticism in the Christian tradition and responding to increasing numbers of diverse people from all walks of life who long for a way to deepen their individual spiritual practices, be committed to a practicing community, discern making temporary and lifelong vows to a community.

In the years since, Heart of Wisdom continued to gather in diverse community going deep on retreats which offered spiritual practices to sustain people in faith and action in the world including collaborative offerings with spiritual co-conspirators whose presence and gifts are in alignment with Heart of Wisdom’s path.

In 2018-19, Heart of Wisdom is taking a year of hiatus from offering retreats as the Abbess is in a season of deep discernment about next steps.   What will the Holy Spirit do next?  How are we called to gather differently in the world to respond to the particularities of this time in the world?

To receive updates from Heart of Wisdom Monastery, follow the Spiral Way via email (see top of the sidebar to the right – or below on smartphones/tablets).  Inquire about Heart of Wisdom or to be in conversation with the Abbess.

Photo: Redwood grove in Mill Valley, CA