ECTN Trinity Wall Street

Trinity Institute’s 34th National Conference
April 28-29, 2003
Presented Via Live Webcast

Rowan Williams

Joan Chittister

Kathleen Norris

Laurence Freeman

Click here to view the on-demand archive of speeches.

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St. Benedict’s Rule has been shaping holy lives for over 1500 years. One would hardly expect such an ancient spiritual practice to have much relevance today. Nevertheless, Benedictine spirituality seems uniquely suited for contemporary seekers. Why is that? Is it because our basic spiritual needs never really change? Is it because St. Benedict, a layman, designed his Rule (Regula) with regular people in mind? Is it because it’s all about "living the ordinary life extraordinarily well?" Is it because the issues that Benedict raises radically unmask the superficiality of contemporary culture? Is it because Benedict’s pre-modern mind uncannily hit upon postmodern themes like the paradoxical nature of truth, the hiddenness of reality, and the call to community? Or is it all of the above? What is the real shape of a holy life? And why does the Benedictine Rule speak that eternal language so well?


Rowan Williams

The Most Reverend Rowan Douglas Williams has been selected to be the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Williams has served as a Dean of Clare College and Lecturer in Divinity at Cambridge University, as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, and as Archbishop of Wales. He has written or edited over twenty books on the history of theology and spirituality and published collections of articles, sermons and poetry. His most recent books are Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness (Co-edited with Geoffrey Rowell and Kenneth Stevenson), Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement and a volume of reflections called Writing in the Dust that he wrote after being present at Trinity Church, just a block and a half from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Joan Chittister, OSB

Joan D. Chittister has been a leading voice on Benedictine spirituality and practice for over 25 years. A widely published author, columnist and noted international lecturer, she is executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality located in Erie, Pennsylvania. A Member and past prioress of the Benedictine sisters of Erie, she is past president of the conference of American Benedictine Prioresses. The most recent of her 26 books are New Designs: An Anthology of Spiritual Vision and Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope. She has also written a very helpful introduction to Benedictine spirituality called: Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today.

Kathleen Norris

Kathleen Norris is an award-winning poet and writer and the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Cloister Walk, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, and Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, as well as three volumes of poetry, the most recent being Little Girls in Church. A recipient of grants from the Bush and Guggenheim Foundations, she has twice spent considerable periods in residence at the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and has been an oblate at a Benedictine Monastery in North Dakota. Kathleen brings a layperson’s voice to the evaluation of Benedictine practices in the contemporary world.

Laurence Freeman, OSB

A graduate of New College, Oxford, Father Freeman is a monk of the Monastery of Christ the King, Cockfosters, London. He worked for many years with Dom John Main, helping him establish the first Christian Meditation Centre in London and a small Benedictine Community of monks and laypeople in Montreal. In 1991 Father Freeman became the first Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation that now extends to 50 countries and includes 27 Christian Meditation Centers. He is involved in contemplative inter-religious dialogue and directs an initiative called the Way of Peace that explores the spiritual dimension of peacemaking. His six books include Light Within, Selfless Self, and Jesus: The Teacher Within.

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