New Norcia Benedictine Community

2016 Programme


To download the Benedictine Institutes 2016 programme click here



The great 20th century theologian, Karl Rahner sj, once said that “the Christian of the 21st century will be a mystic or not a Christian at all”. This provocative pronouncement is not so unimaginable if one understands the abundance of opportunities given to us to experience the deep presence of God in our everyday life.
Mysticism involves our personal encounter with the living God and when we open our eyes and ears to the myriad of moments that God comes to us throughout a single day the smile of a stranger, the touch of someone who cares, the joy felt in serving another, the sense of awe and wonder in liturgical and private prayer – all these little things that make life whole – this is when we experience a deep awareness of
the mysterious presence of God in the ordinary events of our lives.
Much of what we are offering in this year’s programme for the New Norcia Institute for Benedictine Studies touches on the desire for, and experience of mystery in our lives today. May you find here something to lift
your hearts and minds in hope that God is indeed infused in every facet of your life.


CH/DS33000 - CH/DS9300P

Medieval Monastic Wisdom

Unit Description:

This unit explores the development of the monastic movement in the Medieval Church from 500 - 1500, with an emphasis on the examination of primary sources. The unit will present both an historical study and insights into the spirituality emanating from both male and female monastics during these centuries of Christian monasticism. It offers a method into the study of these texts in the light of present day formation for ministry and mission. The unit will be run as one - week intensive from 17 - 25 July at The Pilgrim Theological College, Parkville, Victoria. For Bookings and Enquires contact Sr Carmel Posa sgs or Sr Jill O’Brien sgs

Phone: 08 96548371


12 –14 May Praying with Mary, Mother of God – Jill O’Brien sgs

Mary’s role in our life of faith is celebrated throughout the liturgical year and in devotional practices. This retreat will focus on these two aspects of prayer in order to deepen our understanding of Mary’s place in the
Christian tradition.
Cost: $260

30 Jun – 2 July The Rule of Benedict - A Guide for Christian Living – Margaret Malone sgs and Abbot John Herbert osb

The retreat will explore some of the many ways in which the Rule of Benedict is a guide for Christian living in our contemporary world. The practices of prayer, love and forgiveness within the community, so central to the Rule, help us in our relationships with one another and with the God we seek.
Cost: $260

11 – 13 August Contemplation with Thomas Merton – Carmel Posa sgs

The Cistercian monk, Thomas Merton gave us unique understanding of contemplation in a world of action. His understanding crosses denominational boundaries and unites us all in our deepest desire for communion with God, each other and our world. This little retreat, to be held at Mt St Benedict, Pennant Hills, NSW, will give participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in silence and Merton’s way of
Cost: $300

8 – 10 Sept Conversations with the Wisdom of Benedictine Women – Carmel Posa sgs

Throughout the ages there have been many Benedictine women who have shared the wisdom they have acquired in their search for God. This retreat will reflect on this wisdom using the writings and lives of
St Scholastica, the sister of St Benedict; St Leoba, German missionary Benedictine of the 7/8th century; Heloise of the Paraclete, acclaimed abbess of the 12 th century; Dorothy Day, Benedictine Oblate and peace activist of the 20th century and Joan Chittester, Benedictine of our time, feminist and interfaith advocate.
Cost: $260

17 – 19 Nov The Coming of the Lord – Jill O’Brien sgs

Advent is a time of gathering anticipation for the birth of the Saviour in our history, in our hearts and in our future. Come and spend some time in conversation and prayer exploring the significance of this joyous time for our lives and our world.

Cost: $260 For Bookings and Enquires contact Sr Carmel Posa sgs or Sr Jill O’Brien sgs

Phone: 08 96548371


24 –26 March Footwashing : Awaiting Discovery – Jill O’Brien sgs

For most Christians washing each other’s feet is simply a curiosity of the liturgy. Many have never seen it done, much less done it. However it is a well founded action, one that that goes back to the practice of Jesus and is one of the signs used by John the evangelist in his preaching of the Gospel. During this
weekend we will ask what are doing and what does it mean when we wash each other’s feet. We will discuss who might do it, what is needed and how to get started. We will consider times other than Holy Thursday when we might do footwashing. The text book for this reading week end will be
Washing Feet: Imitating the Example of Jesus in the Liturgy Today, by Thomas O’Loughlin
available at
or through the Institute for ~$20
Cost: $300

2 – 4 June Helps for Good Living – Margaret Malone sgs

At various stages of our lives we all need some practical advice and help for living a Gospel - centred life.
How can we be encouraged and helped in our search for God and in our living with one another? Benedict’s 72 tools for “Good Living” in chapter 4 of his little Rule for Beginners, presents ancient wisdom which
can help us live the Gospel in our contemporary world.
The text for this weekend is; Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living:Reflection on the Fourth Chapter of Benedict’s Rule by Michael Casey, available at or through the Institute for ~$25
Cost: $300

18 – 24 June Listening to Medieval Monastic Wisdom – Carmel Posa sgs

The spiritual writers of the Middle Ages offer us a deep and lasting wisdom to help guide and direct our desire for God and thereby enriching our daily lives. This is a chance to spend a week immersed in the wisdom of Medieval monasticism.
Participants will join in with the Undergraduate and Graduate Students of Pilgrim
Theological College from the University of Divinity, Melbourne, in exploring writings which include, The Life of St Benedict, Celtic Wisdom, Bernard of Clairvaux, Gertrude of Helfta, Hildegard of Bingen, Aelred of Rievaulx and Heloise of the Paraclete. There will be a Reader/photocopies for the week –Cost ~$30
The reading week will be held at Pilgrim Theological College, Parkville, Victoria.
Cost: $800

4 – 6 Aug Discernment Matters – Carmel Posa sgs

In monastic spirituality, discernment is considered a “way of life”, not a method for making decisions. It is about discerning the movements of the Spirit within our own hearts in our journey towards loving God and our neighbour. This weekend will explore the nature of this ancient monastic wisdom and how it can help us deepen our own humanity in the world today. The text for this weekend is:Discernment matters: Listening the Ear of the Heart , by Margaret Funk, available at or through the Institute for ~$25

Cost: $300

27 - 29 Oct Women writers of Helfta: Mystics from the 13th Century –Kym Harris

We know of five women who wrote within the walls of On this weekend we will be exploring the mystic women writers from the famous Helfta monastery in Germany – Gertrude and Mechtilde, and Mechtilde of Madgeburg. Their new and unique ways of writing about their intimate experience of the living God continue to inspire people of today in their spiritual search for God The text for this weekend will be in the form of a series of text which will be provided. ~$10

Cost: $300

For Bookings and Enquires contact Sr Carmel Posa sgs or Sr Jill O’Brien sgs
Phone: 08 96548371

Annual Institute Day  TBA  Cost: $60

For Bookings and Enquires contact Sr Carmel Posa sgs or Sr Jill O’Brien sgs
Phone: 08 96548371
There will be a website link for payment for this event.