The following courses will be taught by Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert, who for the past 16 years has taught in the Pastoral Theology department of Wycliffe College (one of the participating colleges in the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto).
These courses are non-credit, for personal enrichment, and require no registration with the university – only registration through the Sisterhood’s website and a commitment to do the homework and participate in the classes. All classes will be limited to 30 students. A waiting list will be started for those unable to register.
WINTER TERM: CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
Our longing for God is rooted deep within each of us, and life in our contemporary secular society has created a spiritual restlessness not only for those with no Christian background, but for church-going Christians as well. How do we live mindfully, aware and conscious of all that is around us, yet serene and confident in the knowledge that we are deeply loved by God?
Both Part One and Part Two will explore the nature of prayer, and introduce some specific forms of prayer that may be helpful for the participants. A strong commitment to practicing the forms of prayer at home is essential.
PART 1: ROOTED IN GOD
Tuesday evenings, 7 – 9 pm, January 5, 12, 19, 26; February 2, 9
Required Reading: Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God (various editions)
David Steindl-Rast, The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life (Franciscan Media, 2016
Henri Nouwen, Behold the Beauty of the Lord (Ave Maria Press, 2007)
- Why Pray
- Images of God
- Lectio Divina and the Contemplative Life
- Visio Divina and the Beauty of God
- Audio Divina and the Voice of God
- Movio Divina and the Life of the Imagination
Homework for each class will involve the reading of three short books as well as practicing the prayer at home. As we move into some of the related expressions of lectio divina, homework will involve looking at some works of art, listening to some music, and watching a movie or two.
PART 2: GROWING IN GOD
Tuesday evenings, 7 – 9 pm, March 2, 9, 26, 23; April 6, 13
Reading: Joan Chittister, In God’s Holy Light (Franciscan Media, 2015)
Anon, The Way of a Pilgrim
Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God (Crossroads, 2020)
- The Desert Tradition
- The Jesus Prayer and the Pilgrimage Tradition
- Praying with the Labyrinth in Colour
- Centering Prayer
- Expressing Contemplation in Colour
- The Contemplative Life
Homework for each class will involve the reading of three short books as well as practicing the prayer at home. As we move into some of the “colour” expressions of our prayer, students will need some paper and one or more of the following: pencil crayons, markers, oil acrylics.