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Works of Love: Contemplating the Burden and Bliss of our Calling

  • St John's Abbey Guesthouse 2380 Water Tower Road Saint Joseph, MN, 56374 United States (map)

Most of us are familiar with the tension between burning for the work we do and burning out from overcommitment.  This is a pressing issue for those who care deeply about their work, be it leaders, pastors, doctors, nurses, therapists, or even accountants.  We become so attached to our work that it overwhelms us: what used to give us joy now simply exhausts us.

In this Sunday to Tuesday Cloisterseminar, we will learn from the wise counsel of leaders and spiritual thinkers: From St. Benedict's Rule, we will read about proper attachment to work and to the contemplative life; We will also read from the Danish Theologian Kierkegaard's famous Works of Love, and learn how we can burn for the work we love to do without burning ourselves out.  

Interwoven with these seminar times will be opportunities for participants to explore, contemplate, and evaluate their own personal commitments and work expectations. All this will be set within the Benedictine rhythm of life at St. John’s Abbey. There will be time for reflection, for learning, for meditation, and for long walks in the beautiful Fall woods of the Abbey.


Drs. Almut Furchert & Chuck Huff. A professor of psychology at St Olaf College, MN and Benedictine oblate Chuck will introduce us to Benedictine spirituality and how it is relevant in understanding ourselves and our calling. His wife Almut is a German-trained scholar and practitioner bridging the fields of psychology, philosophy, religion and therapy. As a Kierkegaard scholar, she will help us understand some of Kierkegaard's most challenging and in the same time uplifting texts and how to translate them into our personal situations. Almut and Chuck are expereinced in leading times of reflection, readings and contemplative practices. 

Retreat Place

Our cloister seminar takes place at the beautiful, modern and calming guesthouse  at St. John's Abbey, overlooking a picturesque lake and forest. It starts on Sunday afternoon with a warm welcome before dinner and ends on Tuesday after lunch around 2 pm.

As always you do not need to be home in any denomination or religion in order to participate. Chuck will introduce you to the Benediction prayer as a contemplative practice and you can choose how much you wish to participate in the monastic rhythm.


Requested offering is 290$ per person (460$ per couple) incl. private room and bath, all meals, guided practices and materials; and our Sunday evening reception. 

Since this is a small group setting we encourage you to make reservations as soon as you know you want to attend but latest by Sep 22th, 2016.  

Earlier Event: September 2
Tracing the Sacred in our Labor
Later Event: October 20
On Virtues and the Good Life