The Practice of Contemplative Presence: Accepting the Embrace of God

Van Ness

Rebecca Van Ness, M.A.

We all struggle with allowing God to draw close, and also with being present to those in our lives. The ancient Christian practice of spiritual direction offers insights and practical helps in cultivating contemplative presence. Any Christian can use these insights, grounded in a theology of relationship with God, to become more aware of how God speaks through our human experience.

Becky Van Ness is an adjunct faculty at Saint John’s University where she serves as the Director of the Spiritual Direction Program and is an oblate of Saint Benedict’s monastery. Van Ness earned a Master of Arts degree in Christian Spirituality and the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and directed retreats at Creighton University. She promotes and participates in Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which operates under the aegis of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Rome.

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Dates & Locations

Thursday, October 17, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. - The Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 17th St. N, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Friday, November 8, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Emmaus Hall 31802 County Road 159 Collegeville, MN 56321

Friday, December 13, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Emmaus Hall 31802 County Road 159 Collegeville, MN 56321

Friday, February 7, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - The Community of the Blessed Sacrament, 11300 N 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

CANCELED! - Friday, March 27, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Naples Women's Club, 570 Park Street, Naples, FL 34102

CANCELED! - Thursday, April 16, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. - Church of Saint Mary, 421 Hawthorne Street, Alexandria, MN 56308 

Theology Day is a chance for people in our communities who are seeking a deeper understanding of their faith and its place in their everyday lives to learn from and interact with the theologians of Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary. It offers a chance for these scholars to gain insights and grow in their faith, as well.

A typical Theology Day consists of registration and refreshments, followed by a period of conversation/presentation/lecture. The conversation then continues as participants are given a chance to continue their discussions with one another. Morning presentations at Emmaus Hall are followed by a complimentary lunch for all participants, and most evening sessions include refreshments.

There is no fee for Theology Day, but registration is required. Free-will offerings and gifts to support the mission of the School of Theology and Seminary are gratefully accepted.

For more information, contact our Development Office at 320-363-3560 or [email protected].