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The Scribe April 2012 Vol. 1, Issue 4
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Praying with Imagination: Igniting an Artful Response
The Art of The Saint John's Bible - 3 Volume Set
Photo by retreat participant Rosemary Washington, 2010.

Barbara Sutton, Associate Dean for Formation and Outreach
School of Theology•Seminary, Saint John’s University

When I think of retreats, I think of two types. The first is a spiritual retreat, where we step back from the hustle and bustle of life and spend time in quiet, prayerful reflection. The second is a professional retreat, where we learn new skills, hone them through practice, and share them with others. For several years now, we have been offering retreats based on the arts of The Saint John’s Bible, and the beauty of them has been the seamless joining of those two types of retreats. We take time to pray with Scripture and the illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible, renewing our love and awe for God. Then we translate that spiritual excitement into expressive art. Finally, we learn how to share the experience with others. It’s a beautiful retreat experience.

This week-long experience combines the atmosphere of a retreat with the opportunity to be formed in the rhythm and practice of visio divina and to delve into the arts of bookmaking---book binding, calligraphy, stamp-making, printing and painting. Some people come for personal reasons—time to visit the original folios in the Hill Museum, praying with the illuminations and exploring spiritual issues. Most often participants come to explore and pray with The Saint John’s Bible and to develop the practice of visio divina. Throughout the week participants are equipped with a toolbox that can be used for developing their individual practice of visio divina, leading a small faith community, or even integrating the practice and arts into catechetical programs, parish retreats or liturgical celebrations.

A couple of questions often emerge as people explore attending this retreat. Do I have to have a theological degree to be a part of this retreat? Do I have to be an artist? The answer to both is no….and yet it is ok to have a theological degree or to be an artist. All participants need is a willingness to enter into a creative process, expand their spiritual practices and explore the promptings of the spirit within. The retreat is facilitated by Barbara Sutton, Taylor Morgan, and Linda McCray. They bring together expertise in spiritual guidance, scripture scholarship, and artistic instruction. They are available to the group at large and for individual consultation.

To register, visit the information page.

A Typical Day
7:00 am:Breakfast
8:00 am:Visio Divina with an illumination of The Saint John’s Bible
9:15 am:An Artful Response
10:30 am:Exploring the literal sense of the Gospel of Luke
12:00 noonLunch
1:30 pm:The Arts of The Saint John’s Bible
3:30 pm:Free Time
6:00 pm:Dinner
7:30 pm:Formation in the rhythm and practice of visio divina
See the Bible
Print Exhibitions

Ave Maria University
Ave Maria, FL
March 22 - May 7, 2012

River Falls Public Library
River Falls, WI
March 24 - April 22, 2012

Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS
April 1 - April 30, 2012

Touring Exhibitions

New Mexico History Museum
Santa Fe, NM
October 21, 2011 - December 30, 2012