The Virginia Waters Retreat Centre was delighted to hold an eight-week wisdom book study focusing on Cynthia Bourgeault’s book “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity.” A group of 15 gathered for eight consecutive weeks, and we were honored that Associate Susan Cummings could share her own experiences and expertise of Mary Magdalene which she has been cultivating through study and travel in the past several years. Having someone who had already begun a journey of transformation with Mary Magdalene was particularly meaningful for the group.
Cynthia’s book provided a rich soil for the learning, reflecting and sharing that emerged as we journeyed together. Our contemplative process was grounded in Parker Palmer’s Circle of Trust Touchstones, which nourished a deep trust, respect and love within the group. Whether through silence, poetry, film, chant or discussion at our teatime, the sharing and support in this group was indeed sacred. Although our journeys and experiences were unique, there was a deep-felt sense of oneness, connection and unity that extended well beyond the group. This was a universe story moment!
Although we met weekly, it was certainly evident that the days between our gatherings held their own treasures and growth. One participant was gifted with a poem that flowed from her early one morning as she awoke. Graciously, she typed, printed and shared the poem with our group, and with permission we share it with you:
We come together as strangers, we read, explore and experience richness as we become friends, then we leave as One to share our bounty.
Thank you, Mary, for the Truth of your experience forged the way for our new path to be realized, together and individually, as we embrace our True nature with love and empowerment.
We are Seekers of the Truth and sowers of the seeds of Truth for this, and coming generations.
We live, learn, love and teach with aplomb as the Riches guide us everlasting; never forgetting again, who we Truly are.
~ Kerri Best
After our official book study ended, many were able to come together again to celebrate the Feast of Mary Magdalene on July 22. This time, we shared our stories of transformation and our profound gratitude for our deepening relationship with Mary Magdalene. It was a joyous celebration on a glorious summer evening with food, laughter and love shared around the feast table. To quote from Cynthia’s book “To experience abundance is essentially to see from oneness” (p. 105). This was a new ritual experience for many of us, and one that we hope will continue to be honored in years to come.