New summer series on silence designed to refresh, uplift the spirit

Published on

Ecumenical series 'Wellsprings of Silence' starts July 24

New summer series on silence designed to refresh, uplift the spirit

By Lay Centre staff

ROME — A new series of reflections, starting July 24, will offer a moment each week to renew one’s spirit with the gift of silence.

“Wellsprings of Silence” was inspired by the perceived need for a spiritual reprieve from the uncertainties, challenges and loss brought on by the coronavirus earlier this year. Intense periods of lockdown around the world have also been characterized by a flurry of virtual meetings and events. Our first impulse may have been to fill our hours each day with the ongoing and never-ending supply of online activity, but these virtual connections may not have satisfied our real needs. Many others, on the other hand, have found themselves living in isolation and loneliness.

For the next five weeks, “Wellsprings of Silence” will help us to take a pause and to reflect on the value of silence, as well as where and how to create a space for silence in our life, and on how it can lead us to greater meaning in difficult times. The series is designed for participants to read on their own time and at their own pace. The reflections will be sent out by email to those who sign up at

Lay Centre friends from around the world have agreed to contribute to this ecumenical series:

Father John Keating, O.Carm., is active in retreat and conference ministry. He has served as a lecturer at the Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Dublin and recently completed 12 years on the General Council of the Carmelite Order as the general councillor for Europe. He currently lives in Ireland. In the 1990s, he spent a year in silence and solitude on the shores of Lough Derg in Ireland.

Rev. Dr. Karen Petersen Finch is a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church and an ecumenist in the Reformed tradition. She is associate professor of theology at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, and a fellow of the Lonergan Institute at Boston College. Inspired by Bernard Lonergan’s theological method, she creates local dialogues between Roman Catholic parishes and Presbyterian churches, and then communicates about the dialogues to spur development of new models for local ecumenism. Her book, “Local Christian Unity: A Primer for Neighborhood Dialogue,” will be published in 2021.

Grace Pratt Morris-Chapman is a British Methodist Mission Partner, originally from Ghana, but currently serving in Rome, with her husband, Daniel, who is the minister at Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church. They are expecting their fourth child later this year. Food, reading, music and travelling are among her favourite things.

Rev. Olivia Maxfield-Coote and Rev. Sebastian Harries are married and both priests in the Church of England. She is vicar to a team of churches in Essex, and he is chaplain to St. Gabriel’s College, a Church of England high school, in London, as well as assistant priest at a parish in Kennington. They live in Essex and enjoy walking in Epping Forest. They met while training for ministry at Westcott House in Cambridge. Sebastian was a resident at The Lay Centre in 2015-2016.

Dr. Donna Orsuto is the co-founder of The Lay Centre and a professor of spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She gives lectures and retreats worldwide and has authored two books and numerous journal articles.

Register to join us for “Wellsprings of Silence” at:

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Related articles

Keep in touch!

Subscribe to our newsletter and you will be informed about our news and events

I read the privacy policy and I authorize The Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas to process my personal data according to the information provided pursuant to art. 13 and 14 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council