Contemplative Outreach Celebrating 30 years of Grace and Gratitude
Celebrating 30 years of Grace and Gratitude
Dear Contemplative Outreach Community,
During this banner year, Contemplative Outreach
Ltd. is celebrating its first 30 years. As you may
know, it took root during a 14 day intensive
retreat in 1983 led by Fr. Thomas Keating at the
Lama Foundation in San Cristobal, NM. Twelve
people attended. Each of them played an essential
role in taking the first steps to bring Centering
Prayer to a wider community.
In this newsletter, we look back at our own
beginnings in Arizona. When one follows the
promptings of the Holy Spirit, things don't turn
out just as we imagine, do they? Sometimes
obscure, always surprising and often amazing, our
own history uniquely reflects each of us and our
workshops in our respective
meeting monthly to plan activities. Many of us
attended 10 day Intensive Retreats in Snowmass,
CO near St. Benedict's Monastery where we were
exposed to Fr. Keating's Spiritual Journey tape
series. National coordinator meetings and special
"institutes" were offered by the national office to
expand our understanding of the Christian
contemplative heritage and the spiritual journey.
There was wisdom in offering many opportunities
to learn and deepen the prayer, as this practice is
not easy to establish and sustain out in the modern
How did you come to Centering Prayer? One of
my greatest life’s blessings was to "stumble on"
Fr. Thomas Keating introducing Centering Prayer
as a path to greater intimacy with God. He had
come to the Franciscan Renewal Center in 1991 to
lead a weekend retreat. Within a few months of
his talk a team of national faculty members
followed up with a weeklong workshop to train
presenters in the method and background of
Centering Prayer (June 1992.) They were sowing
the seeds and responding to grass-roots interest
here and there throughout the nation.
By 1998 we offered our first intensive retreat
based on the Snowmass model at Santa Rita
Abbey, the Trappistine Monastery in Sonoita, AZ.
This began a rich history of intensive and postintensive retreats at Santa
Rita, as well as a lovely
Inside this Issue
relationship with the
Trappistine community. What Our Hearts
We also held our first are Searching For
Contemplative Service Centering Prayer
workshop there in the late Small Groups
1990's. Bonnie Shimizu, Contact People
personal assistant to Fr.
T h o m a s , c a m e f r o m Intensive Retreats
Snowmass to train new Remembering
André R. Boulanger
The seeds fell on fertile and ready soil here in
Phoenix. Several of us decided to begin the work
of presenting and supporting Centering Prayer and
Lectio Divina. A small group gathered to pray
together and organize a local structure for
introducing the prayer. We met in private homes.
Community formed. Gloria Nelson and I stepped
forward as the first Contemplative Outreach cocoordinators. We began offering introductory
In 1999 our coordinating
(or "core") group invited
national faculty member
Susan Komis to Phoenix
to help structure us and
clarify our vision.
were all volunteers with
differing skills and
constraints who needed to
-Entering the Mind of Christ
-Exploring The Method of
Centering: Prayer as an 11th
Step Meditation Practice
Exploring The Invitation of
Jesus to: Prayer in Secret”
Introductory Workshops 8
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
learn to come to consensus. We sponsored Fr.
Keating for a 2 day workshop at Sts. Simon and June
in November of that year to an audience of around
400 people. Local prayer groups were taking root and
we created a series of Facilitator Support Days, giving
information on prayerful leadership, structure and use
of resources. Our early coordinators included Ken
Christopher, Kathleen Bischoff, Mary Leonard and
John Corcoran (co-coordinators), Denice Caldwell
and Jeannie Lashinske (co-coordinators), and
coordinating duties among those who regularly
continued to meet. Bill Bailey perpetuated the
Prayer, Soup and Bread Tuesdays in his own home.
Silent Saturdays were beginning at St. Barnabas on
the Desert in Paradise Valley. In the spring of 2008
we found space at Central United Methodist
Church, where the "core" group continues to meet
once a month and most of our special events are
held. Our 2 or 3 annual intensive retreats continue
to take place at Santa Rita Abbey retreat center.
Every March we participate in the Annual United in
Prayer Days spearheaded by the national office, and
Between spring of 2002 and fall of 2006 we had
each November we bring in a special speaker for a
our own local retreat facility - the
day of learning and inspiration. Our
convent behind St. Agnes Church on
guests have included Fr. Jim Clark, Fr.
24th Street and Oak Street - which we
Carl Arico, Fr. John Auther, SJ, Rev.
called The Cornerstone Center. Those
Charlie Wehrley, C.Ss.R., Fr. William
were "salad days!" An outpouring of Contemplative Service Sheehan OMI, Fr. Martin Laird OSA
volunteers helped clean and appoint
(twice), Fr. William Meninger OCSO ,
is God in us
the retreat center with bedding,
and Fr. Michael Fish OSB.
cookware, fresh paint and fresh
flowers. We shared the facility with serving God in others. During these years, prayer communities
the World Community for Christian
have rooted and grown in Prescott
Meditation, an organization founded
(where Robert Johnson is the
by John Main OSB and later headed
coordinator), Sedona and Flagstaff (led
by Lawrence Freeman OSB.
by Rusty Swavely), and Tucson. At the
created Silent Saturdays, Tuesday Evening Prayer,
Franciscan Renewal Center and St. Barnabas on the
Soup and Bread, residential retreats, days of
Desert contemplative communities are thriving.
enrichment and more. Fr. Jim Clark, Fr. William
We are now able to run our own workshops for
Sheehan OMI, Sr. Electa Havener OCD and others
Presenter Formation (thanks to Rusty Swavely) and
brought wisdom and insight. Fr. Keating returned
we have created original programs such as our Mid
in 2005 with Fr. Carl Arico, Marie Howard and
Week Mini Silent Retreat. Due to the extensive and
Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler to celebrate Contemplative
rock-solid skills of Sr. Rachel Torrez, our
Outreach's 20th year.
After each spoke at
introductory workshops and new small groups have
Cornerstone, Fr. Thomas led a prayer session and
multiplied. She supports the presenters, ensures
stimulating workshop at Trinity Episcopal
that there is good follow-up, and serves as our
Cathedral to a full capacity public audience. We
event liaison to Central United Methodist Church.
ended the weekend with an intimate fundraising
Jeannie Lashinske has for many years been our
dinner, relaxing with wine, good food and even
gentle efficient treasurer. Kathleen Hibbets happily
maintains our mailing and email lists. Dave and
Tina M. anchor our connection to the recovery
During the Cornerstone era there was another gift
community and serve us with energy and
to our evolving community. Some of our local
generosity. Mary and Phil Leonard spearhead our
leadership, including Dave D. became involved in a
intensive retreats each year, cultivating new
national program to make Centering Prayer
leadership and laundering sheets and towels.
accessible to those in 12 Step programs. Working
Patrick Waugh is our faithful liaison to St. Barnabas
closely with Fr. Keating (who regards the 12 Steps
on the Desert. Anne Jacobson connects us to the
as a monumental spiritual gift to the world) a
Prescott community. So many others have given
special training was created so that the prayer could
generously of their talents and time, inspired by this
be offered as an 11th Step option to those in
recovery. This initiative has thrived and been
Our "leaderless leadership" structure is rare in
Contemplative Outreach Ltd. but it has held strong
After that, a challenging period of homelessness
for 8 years. Within the coordinating group, the
ensued, during which we began sharing
members quietly take on responsibilities. A
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
different person volunteers to chair each monthly
meeting. When a need arises, there is a response.
Even the core members are often amazed at how
things come together. You are warmly invited to
attend one of our meetings - from 7-9 pm on the 4th
Tuesday of the month at Central UMC. All are
The programs, philosophy and organization of
Contemplative Outreach Ltd. are what have kept
this movement healthy and faithful to the prayer of
listening. As part of a living network, I invite you
to reflect on all the ways you have personally
benefited from it. Let us acknowledge what makes
up the genius of Contemplative Outreach. It surely
• the wisdom to simplify a powerful prayer practice
for modern, busy people
• the practice of listening to the larger community
and developing programs only in response to
• the discernment to offer many supportive
structures to sustain and deepen the prayer and
develop servant leadership
• a model of minimal hierarchy and
decentralization of leadership
• a commitment to the integrity of the practice, to
keep it faithful and pure
Contemplative Outreach is now a strong, deeply
rooted Holy tree with branches all over the world.
What a blessing and privilege here in Arizona to be
part of this living structure, nourished by the living
waters of Jesus Christ and flowing with the Holy
Spirit in its veins. Thank you. Amen. Hallelujah.
What Our Hearts are Searching For
Personal Reflections on Living with Centering Prayer
During this jubilee year honoring 30 years of Contemplative Outreach Ltd., we were invited to reflect
on how this contemplative path has affected our lives.
Here is a sampling of responses to the four questions recommended for reflection.
Take a few minutes and seek your own responses. You will be rewarded!
How has Centering Prayer deepened your
awareness of the love of God?
How has this awareness been
manifested in your daily life?
Centering Prayer has deepened my awareness of
the love of God from the inside out. The love of
God through Centering Prayer is the Grand
Paradox. The prayer has broken me open and
poured me out while at the same time being the
glue that holds me together. I know that I am
known and loved by God, but it's a knowing that
comes from the heart and not from the senses, or
emotions or head. JL
I try to manifest the love of God in my daily life by
striving to be as present and engaged to all those
that cross my path. I try to honor and acknowledge
how the presence/love of God pours out from all
people, creation, etc. at every moment, while at the
same time being gentle-loving to myself and others
when we stumble into forgetfulness and selfabsorption, only to try again in the next moment.
Centering Prayer, the quiet prayer, the listening
prayer, the prayer of surrender. This is the prayer
of communion, the prayer of knowledge of the
Love of God. By simply being in the presence of
God I am aware of his Love. Centering Prayer is
the prayer of being in God's presence. I cannot find
words that describe God's love, but these are the
words that describe how Centering Prayer has
helped to deepen my awareness of this Love. GN
The awareness of God's Love for me is helping in
my relationship with others. I am more able to see
His Love in other people. I am more at peace with
the "stuff" that comes up in daily life and I am more
able to "Let go and let God" be in charge. I am
more at peace with who I am and my limitations. I
am more able to respond to others with more love
and compassion. GN
Without silent, "centering" prayer, I am nothing.
When I had a rare illness in 1998, Mary Leonard
reached out to me and pulled me into
Contemplative Outreach, though I had been
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
practicing contemplative prayer since I was quite
young. As I recall that year, I can only be grateful
for being saved from an incredible turmoil of
suddenly ending my career when we needed the
income for the last two college-bound children,
health care lunacy, and a rebalancing of everything.
I healed, the daughters completed college degrees,
and life has been good! KH
How did Contemplative Outreach Ltd help you
or serve you? How was Contemplative Outreach
an instrument to help you on your journey?
Contemplative Outreach is the sole reason I found
what my heart was searching for in Centering
Prayer. Contemplative Outreach continues to feed
me through the newsletter, books, programs, DVD's
etc. that enrich and support my centering prayer
practice while also providing me with a community
in my area to connect and grow with. JL
Contemplative Outreach Ltd helped with training,
materials, and programs for spiritual growth.
Without the guidance I would not have been able to
share this contemplative path with others. The
sharing with others was very instrumental in the
growth of my own spiritual journey. GN
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix gave me a job!
I have been keeping the database since 1999. I
have assisted in leading a few retreats. Over the
years I have attended many enriching talks and
other events. KH
How is Contemplative Outreach Ltd. important
to the world today?
Contemplative Outreach continues to be so
important to the world by not only teaching the
is a community of individuals
and Centering Prayer groups
committed to living
the contemplative dimension
of the Gospel in everyday life.
Contemplative Outreach is important in the
continuing growth of the prayer and living a life of
love and peace. It seems that our world today,
more than any other time, is in the need of
Centering Prayer and the contemplative way of
I am so very, very thankful that God allowed me to
be part of Contemplative Outreach and the sharing
of Centering Prayer. It is such a blessing to watch
it grow and see how excited people are about this
form of prayer and way of life. People "want" to
share it with others.
They "want" others to
experience the blessings they are receiving. God
bless us all. GN
"May I have this dance?"
Asked the mysterious presence.
"Oh, sir, I do not know the steps;
I am young, with slight awareness."
The strange attraction took her hand,
Leading her gradually into a practice
That grew from a polka of prayers,
Into community squares, along with
Footing through chores and challenges,
Whirling in tangos with others,
Jitter-bugging with mentors, to
Cheek-to-cheek centering in silence.
The Lord of the dance smiles,
Twirling her into yet deeper peace.
Kathleen Shannon Hibbets June 2014
Centering Prayer Small Groups
method of Centering Prayer and all of the support
resources, but by also being a means to wrap the
world in the prayer and love of God. JL
Theological Principle #1
The intent of Contemplative Outreach is to foster the process
of transformation in Christ in one another through the practice
of Centering Prayer. Most people find the small Centering
Prayer Group a great support for their practice. Please see the
website www.contemplativeoutreach-phoenix.org for
locations, meeting dates and times, and contact people for
each small group.
The following may be contacted for information about
Contemplative Outreach programs and meetings in their area.
• Rick & Kathy Kramer-Howe....Phoenix 602.955.6057
• Robert Johnson.........................Prescott 928.717.2441
• Phil and Mary Leonard.............Phoenix 480.966.7558
• Rusty Swavely..........................Sedona 928.300.2949
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
Intensive Retreats - Silent Retreats - 2015
Santa Rita Abbey, Sonoita, AZ
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix offers 8 day,
silent intensive retreats to those who are interested
in renewing and deepening their relationship with
God through Centering Prayer. The retreats take
place in Sonoita, AZ at the Trappistine Monastery,*
with a lovely setting on high desert terrain. There
are seven single rooms; one room can accommodate
two retreatants, if two people want to share. Each
room has its own bath. The retreat food is
*Check out the Santa Rita Abbey webpage:
January 9th – 17th
The retreat is open to all who have a 6 month
Centering Prayer practice. We will have 3 one hour
prayer sessions daily and listen to 2 Fr. Thomas
Keating Spiritual Journey DVD’S. Plus we will
share in Lectio Divina.
Also available is the
opportunity to participate daily in Lauds, Liturgy
(Communion Service) and Vespers with the
Trappistine Sisters. There will be talking at the
January 30th–February 7th
Must have attended an intensive
retreat. This retreat consists of 4 one hour prayer
sessions daily. There is time for individual quiet
time: writing, sketching, walking, etc. We also share
in the sisters’ prayers of: Lauds, Liturgy, Vespers
and Compline. This is a totally silent retreat.
Beginning September 1, 2014:
Write, call or email Jeannie Lashinske at:
5728 E. Orange Blossom Ln
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Email: [email protected]
The retreat fee is $500.00.
available. If you have a need, please talk to Jeannie
Lashinske when you register.
The shared room will be $425.00 each.
A non-refundable $100.00 registration fee reserves
your room. We expect that the remaining $400.00
will be paid in full by December 15th to Jeannie
Lashinske. Please make out checks to
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix.
Questions? Ask Jeannie or email Mary Leonard:
Please Note Retreat Cancella/on: Last year for various reasons we had several cancella4ons at the last minute. It was too late for the wai4ng list people to respond. We need 6 retreatants. If this situa4on should arise again, we have made the following arrangements with the Sisters. Our organized retreat will be cancelled on the Monday before the retreat begins. The retreat house will be open for you to make your own self-‐guided retreat. The sisters will provide food for you to prepare on your own. The cost will be $35.00 per night. You can stay for the 8 nights, if you wish, or for a shorter period. This is a cau4on; it is unlikely that last year’s diﬃculty will happen again. 5
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
Remembering André R. Boulanger
A few months ago, Contemplative Outreach of
Phoenix received a bequest of $5000 from the
estate of André Boulanger. For many years André
regularly prayed with the Wednesday morning
group at St. Theresa's Convent in Phoenix. He
received a "spiritual uplift" from the community
prayer and sharing. After he retired in 2004, he
volunteered 3 mornings a week at an HIV/AIDS
Clinic and Research Center and wrote to express
his goodbye's to the Wednesday group.
continued to pray for 30 minutes and do half an
hour of lectio divina every day. Through the
years, he donated anonymously to Contemplative
Outreach of Phoenix when he could.
André died on February 14, 2013. He was born on
June 23, 1935 in Manchester, New Hampshire and
first came to Arizona in 1965 where he remained
for the rest of his life. We remember him with
gratitude and love, and believe that this quiet,
generous, kind man is safe in the heart of Jesus.
Thank you, André, for blessing our community so
Upcoming Event in 2015
"Entering the Mind of Christ:
Learning to Live a More Contemplative Way of Life"
with James Finley PhD
Saturday, March 14, 2015 one day conference
St. Barnabas on the Desert
6715 N. Mockingbird Lane, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
Registration for this event will be available November 2014.
For more details please visit www.saintbarnabas.org.
Exploring “The Method of Centering Prayer”
As an 11th Step Meditation Practice
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014
7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
First Congregational United Church of Christ
1407 N. 2nd St, Phoenix 85004
Seating is limited-Refreshments provided
First Come First Serve – Register now to reserve your place
Voluntary Contributions Accepted
Registration is simple
Send an email to [email protected]
Call/text to 602.999.2736
Give your first name and last initial and say you will be there
Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
EXPLORING THE INVITATION OF JESUS TO:
“PRAYER IN SECRET” Matthew 6:6
NOVEMBER 15, 2014
9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Central United Methodist Church
1875 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix 85004
Seating is limited-Lunch provided
Parking in church lot AND North Corner of Phoenix Museum lot
Father Bill Sheehan OMI has been involved
with Contemplative Outreach from its
He has led Centering Prayer
workshops for over two decades throughout
the USA and abroad, and is a beloved retreat
director. He has a rich background as a
Pastor, Novice Director of Formation,
Provincial, and Director of the Oblate House
of Theology for the Missionary Oblates of
Mary Immaculate (OMI). Father Sheehan will
address the questions of “how do we access
our inner room, and what begins to happen
when we enter our inner room.” You do not
want to miss this rich day.
Suggested Donation $ 35.00. Make check to Contemplative Outreach of Phoenix
Register at www.contemplativeoutreach-phoenix.org or mail registration to:
Sister Rachel Torrez 8141 N. 16th Street #5 Phoenix, AZ 85020. Call
602.944.2728, or email [email protected] for information regarding
Phone _________________________________check for vegetarian lunch-Important___________
Centering Prayer Introductory Workshops
Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church
6502 East Cave Creek Road,
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
9 am to 1 pm
St Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church
6715 N. Mockingbird Lane,
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
9:30 am to 3 pm
To register contact Caroline Nagle at
[email protected] or 480.488.3283.
You can also contact Sr. M. Rachel Torrez
at [email protected], or online at
To register contact Liza Bell at 602.527.6161
or [email protected]
When you want to pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Contemplative Outreach, LTD.
2622 E. Del Rio Dr
Tempe, AZ 85282-4136
*Return Receipt Requested*