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Benedictine monk for Bere Island festival

By Ann Marie Foley - 27 August, 2015

Bere Fr-Laurence-Freeman

The renowned Benedictine monk and meditation expert, Fr Laurence Freeman, is leading a music and silence festival on Bere Island in Cork over the next four days.

“There is an urgent need today to recover the experience of the spiritual. Music opens that door for many, and meditation is the way in that it changes how we see the world,” Fr Freeman explained.

Local and international musicians have been invited to perform, listen and reflect, with a mix of musical concerts and workshops and optional periods of silent meditation.

According to organisers, the festival provides an opportunity for members of the public and musicians, to share their experiences, learn how to meditate and discover how meditation can enhance their creative lives.

This is the second year the festival has been held and Fr Laurence was also involved last year.

His connections with Bere Island go back much further as his mother Anne Sullivan was born on the island and she moved to London before Fr Laurence was born in 1951.

Bere-Island-for-me-is-a-place-to-deepen-2He returns frequently to Bere Island where there is a meditation group, and he meditates with children in the local national school.

He also leads meditation retreats for medical practitioners and works with the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin.

He has had a very varied life before becoming a monk and priest.

He worked in banking, at the UN in New York and in journalism before replacing his briefcase with a breviary.

Today, Fr Laurence is a Benedictine monk of the Monastery of Christ our Saviour, Turvey, England, a monastery of the Congregation of Monte Oliveto.

Initially in the monastery his spiritual teacher was John Main. He helped Fr Main to establish the first Christian Meditation Centre in London.

At the invitation of the Archbishop of Montreal, in 1977, he accompanied Fr Main to establish a Benedictine community of monks and laypeople dedicated to the practice and teaching of Christian meditation.

Fr Laurence studied theology at the Universite de Montreal and at McGill University. He made his solemn monastic profession in 1979 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1980.

After the death of John Main in 1982, he continued the work of teaching meditation that had already begun to develop a global community.

In 1991, Fr Laurence returned to England to establish the International Centre of the newly formed World Community for Christian Meditation, of which he is director.

It is now present in more than a hundred countries as a ‘monastery without walls, and he travels and teaches widely for it.

Laurence Freeman has conducted dialogues and global peace initiatives such as the historic Way of Peace with the Dalai Lama.

He is active in the inter-religious dialogue. He leads the teaching of meditation to children and students as part of the recovery of the contemplative wisdom tradition in the Church and in society at large.

Fr Laurence has been teaching an MBA course on Meditation and Leadership, at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, Washington DC, since 2013.

In the same year he started to lead the course on Health & Meditation: Healing From the Centre, at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

He is the author of many books and articles including Light Within, Selfless Self, Web of Silence, Common Ground, A Short Span of Days, Your Daily Practice, Jesus: The Teacher Within, First Sight: The Experience of Faith and Beauty’s Field: Seeing the World.

He writes a quarterly spiritual letter for the World Community and publishes Daily Wisdom, a popular daily email of one of his photographs with a short text He is also the editor of John Main’s works.

The Cork festival which begins today (Thursday 27 August) and concludes Sunday (30 August) will include music and dance workshops, morning and evening music and meditation, talks and discussions, guided walks, evening dances and concerts, and local fresh food and drink.

For further info contact: [email protected] or 086 162 1803

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