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Sacred Conversations

Donegal, Ireland
August 25-30, 2024

Listening for Whispers of the Holy Wild

Have you ever walked into a particular place -- a forest or spot along a shore or a whole region and suddenly, unexpectedly felt as if you were home? A homecoming that often brings irrational tears, a remembering without words or logic. Maybe it's the place you were born.  Or the place where your ancestors lived. Often, it is even more mysterious than that. You feel as if you recognize an unknown place, or that the place somehow recognizes you. This knowing-and-feeling-known is a phenomenon of interconnected belonging.  


"There is a mysterious union that happens when we enter into relationship with the wild and practice sacred conversation." Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred


Have you felt this?  A bidding, a return of some kind, an alluring invitation to come closer, to listen, to enter into conversation.  This is how the call of the sacred wild feels. When a place calls you quietly and persistently like this, I call it terra cognita: known territory.  A territory of soul, connected to a particular land and sea. 


This experiential offering is one of saying yes to that deep irrational even mythic call of the sacred wild to return to soul in Ireland.  To listen with an open heart to the whispers of an alive and ancient world where we already and always belong.

If you find yourself seeking a more wild spirituality, consider joining a cohort of like-hearted friends at Ards Friary on the northwest coast of Ireland. Accompanied by two hundred acres of thick forest peopled by native oak and rowan, craggy stoned beaches and vibrant azul Atlantic waters, this is one of those life-changing experiences where you can feel your old stories restructure to make room for a new way of being human in deep relationship with a sacred and living Earth.


The Venue

ARDS Friary Retreat Center
Letterkenny Donegal Ireland

Traditionally a Capuchin monastery and retreat center, Ards Friary is transitioning to become a Center for Contemplative Ecology. Brother Philip, the "Guardian of Ards Friary," is one of the kindest, brightest most humble humans you could ever know. His vision for the retreat center aligns beautifully with the mission of the Center for Wild Spirituality:


Our vision at Ards is one of a world that is naturally beautiful, bountiful, just and life-giving, where we are able to remember we are all interconnected and learn to live as brothers and sisters with all of creation.’


Fee includes lodging at the retreat center.  Private single rooms with one double bed and shared dorm-style bathrooms.  Delicious daily meals that accommodate vegetarian restrictions as needed.  What is not included is your transportation to the retreat center.   


Flow of the Retreat

You can expect a slow, reverent and contemplative flow with lots of time for rest, deep conversations with like-hearted companions, wandering about the enchanted forest or swimming in the invigorating sea. The focus is to listen to the sacred voices echoing between you and the rest of the living and sacred Earth. This is the way of reWilding.

The Guides: The experience will be guided by people who have devoted their lives to the journey of learning and teaching pathways into deeper connection with the divine incarnate world.  Victoria Loorz will hold the container for the week, providing invitations for wandering and a context for the flow of the week. Her sister, Valerie Serrels, will offer rituals and ceremonies to honor emerging meaning for our time together.   


ReWilding the Land. Seán Ó Gaoithín, head gardener at Ireland's largest national park and author of books about the native trees of Ireland, is leading the effort to rewild the land surrounding the retreat center.  He will invite us to embodied reverence while planting native species on the Ards land.  

ReWilding the Soul.  Dr Craig Chalquist, eco-therapist and depth psychologist specializing in how the land impacts our psyche, will offer stories and invitations to invite intimacy as we engage in sacred storytelling with the trees, waters, and beings this enchanted place.

ReWilding the Spirit.  Diarmund O'Murchu, Irish theologian and social psychologist, will tie the ribbons of our experience into an emerging spirituality of sacred conversation, which is a spirituality of incarnation in deep inter-relationship.

O, kindly, generous Irish land,
So leal and fair and loving!
No wonder the wandering Celt should think
And dream of you in his roving.
The alien home may have gems and gold,
Shadows may never have gloomed it;
But the heart will sigh for the absent land
Where the love-light first illumed it

stanza from"The Exile's Return, or Morning on the Irish Coast" by John Locke

Join a Clan
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  • Guided four full day and two half day retreat.  Begins with dinner on Sunday and ends after breakfast on Friday.

  • Lodging and delicious meals at Ards Retreat Centre. (single rooms with one double bed and dorm-style bathrooms) 

Not included: travel expenses

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Sacred Conversations

 Ard's Friary

Donegal, Ireland

August 25-30, 2024

$2150 USD 



Participant Reflections

"...The retreat became a transformative space where I delved into my innermost longings and underwent a significant personal metamorphosis. I wholeheartedly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime trip to anyone seeking to step out of their norm and immerse themselves in sacred listening. Don’t miss the call to jump into your homecoming!”

Alex Balfour, Organization and Personal Coach

New York City

2023 Pilgrim

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