Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that has its roots in the ancient Christian mystical tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. This prayer method prepares us to dwell in a contemplative state, which means resting in God “24/7.” This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer. Rather, it adds depth of meaning to all prayer and facilitates the movement from more active kinds of prayer into a receptive prayer of resting in God. Centering Prayer emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God and as a movement beyond conversation with God to communion with God.
This workshop will focus on the history behind bringing the teaching of earlier times to an updated form, an overview of the prayer guidelines and the fruits of the Centering Prayer practice.
Presenters JoAnne McElroy and Deborah Marqui(bios below) suggest participants read Open Heart Open Mind by Father Thomas Keating (a Trappist monk and one of the authors of Centering Prayer) before the workshop. This is not a requirement before attending the workshop.
Information about JoAnne and Deborah
JoAnne McElroy, MA is a spiritual director who enters the personal encounter of spiritual direction with earnest care and deep listening. Her intention is to create a sacred space for people to experience their own spiritual unfolding and to be a loving witness to that journey. Joanne holds a Master of Arts in Spirituality from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University along with a postgraduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction.
She came to spiritual direction through the questions that rose within and her desire to listen more deeply to God’s actions through nature and in the stories of her life. Her life experiences as mother, grandmother, teacher and leader allow her to walk with those seeking to make connections in their lives. JoAnne’s experience in nature brought her to a sense of stillness that inspires her connection to Holy Mystery. She is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer throughContemplative Outreach Chicago since 2017 and is a member of the Circle of Service for Contemplative Outreach Chicago.
Deborah Marqui is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in St. Charles, Illinois. Professionally, her mission is to help others integrate body, mind, and spirit into health and wholeness. A passionate gardener and cancer survivor, Deborah owns and operates, along with her husband Buzz, Healing Gardens at Stone Hill Farm, a two acre expanse of woodland and perennial gardens that are open to the public on set dates to help others connect with God through the restorative power of Nature. A two-time cancer survivor, Deborah attributes her healing to the restorative power of nature and the simple prayer practice of Centering Prayer. Deborah leads nature retreats and hosts Silent Saturday Mornings. She is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer through Contemplative Outreach Chicago since 2010 and is a member of the Circle of Service for Contemplative Outreach Chicago.
In 2019, Deborah published an intimate, and soul-baring memoir, From the Fire Into the Garden: A Healing Journey that takes you from the 'fire' and suffering of cancer, both non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer, into the creation of Healing Gardens, the author's 'earth school' that gave birth to an inspirational healing space open to all. Her memoir includes a Guide for Reflection for personal or group use.