Monday, August 31:
Arrive between 2-4 pm and settle
in. Light supper. Evening Circle:
Orientation, introductions, getting
acquainted. Night prayer.
A Desert Day
Tuesday, September 1:
Meditation and late morning session:
“What is desert spirituality?
How does it relate to your life in
the city or suburb?” Quiet
afternoon. (Read Thomas Merton’s
Wisdom of the Desert?) Late
afternoon session: DVD entitled “Three
Faiths, One God” and discussion
on the encounter between Jews, Christians,
and Muslims. Evening session: Sharing
insights from Merton. Night prayer.
Christian Art in Santa
Wednesday, September 2:
Quiet morning. Mass with Fr. Dave
at Casa. Quick and early lunch. Drive
to Santa Fe to visit santera (saint-painter)
Arlene Cisneros-Sena at her studio-home.
Drive to Santa Fe plaza for options:
visit Cathedral, Georgia O’Keeffe
Museum, shopping, etc. Dinner at
restaurant of your choice in Santa
Fe or Abiquiu, or drive back to Casa.
Dar al Islam
Thursday, September 3:
Quiet morning. Meditation and lunch
at noon. Drive to Dar al Islam for
tour and talk by Muslim leader Walter
de Clerk. Options: Hike La Plaza
Blanca (“The White Place”)
or return to Casa. Evening: Sufi
music, stories, and prayer in traditional
yurt with the Zevk Ensemble.
The Crypto-Jewish Experience
Friday, September 4:
Quiet morning. 1 pm: Netanel Miles-Yepes
describes how his Crypto-Jewish experience
led to his Sufi-Hasidic life in relationship
to the desert. Evening: Final Circle.
Saturday, September 5:
Departures after breakfast. Or stay
for quiet desert day, visiting, or
further exploration. Visit Monastery
of Christ in the Desert north of
Abiquiu for Vespers or Compline?
Sunday, September 6:
Departures after breakfast. Visit
Monastery of Christ in the Desert
or Santa Fe Cathedral for Mass?
We will send you these readings
when you register for the pilgrimage-retreat:
Janet Liebman. “Crypto-Jewish
Descent,” from Hidden Heritage:
The Legacy of the Crypto-Jews.
Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University
of California Press, 2002: pp. 1-19.
This introduction to Liebman’s
book briefly introduces the background
of Sephardic families whose ancestors
came to the Americas as Catholic
Christians, but who secretly preserved
Jewish customs in spite of threats
from the Inquisition.
Lings, Martin. “The
Desert,” from Muhammad:
His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.
Inner Traditions, 2006: pp. 23-26.
Lings retells the tale of Muhammad’s
childhood in the desert with his
bedouin foster parents.
Murata and Chittick.
“The Hadith of Gabriel,”
from The Vision of Islam.
St. Paul: Paragon House, 1994: pp.
xxv-xxvii. This beautiful account
of an encounter between Muhammad
and the angel Gabriel outlines the
five pillars of Islam.
Steele, Thomas, SJ;
“Holy Art, Holy Artist,”
from Santos and Saints.
Santa Fe: Ancient City, 1994: pp.
1-15. Steele describes the earthy,
intimate spirituality that gives
birth to New Mexican images of saints.
We also recommend the
following books and web site to help
you prepare for Sand and Sky:
Abbey, Edward. Desert
Solitaire. Simon & Schuster
Touchstone, 1990. This contemporary
classic is cantankerous and irreverent,
not unlike the iconoclastic Desert
Fathers and Mothers.
Lane, Belden. The
Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring
Desert and Mountain Spirituality.
Oxford University Press, 2007. Lane
follows three threads: the desert
of grief prompted by his mother’s
final illness, the solace he derived
from ventures into the wilderness,
and a history of desert imagery in
Maria Rosa. The Ornament of the
World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians
Created a Culture of Tolerance in
Medieval Spain. Boston: Little,
Brown, and Co., 2002. Menocal narrates
the drama of the 8th-century arrival
of Muslims on the Iberian peninsula,
the flourishing of Muslim and Jewish
communities there while northern
Europe remained “dark,”
the development of a rich Christian-Jewish-Muslim
culture, and the “triumph”
of Christianity that spurred the
expulsion of Jews and Muslims.
Merton, Thomas. Wisdom
of the Desert. Boston: Shambhala,
2004. After a lucid introduction
to desert monasticism, Merton offers
translations of many venerable Sayings
from the Desert Fathers.
Abrahamic Path: http://www.abrahampath.org.
This site describes the development
of a contemporary walking path following
Abraham’s sojourn from Haran
When I entered the mosque,
I felt like I was in a different
land: not New Mexico, but perhaps
Morocco, Egypt, or even war-torn
Iraq. I did not feel like a stranger
but comfortable and at home. Walter
stood before us discussing his
role in the desert, how he traveled
the world and explored numerous
religions, and the pain and joy
of his haj [pilgrimage to Mecca].
He was the first Muslim I’d
ever met. My mind was opened and
changed listening to him speak
so intelligently, honestly, and
passionately about his faith and
beliefs. Our contemporary news
doesn’t convey this quite
- B.G., Danbury CT
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