About Carl

Photo by Matt Jones

Photo by Matt Jones

Carl McColman is a contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader and spiritual companion.

Formed by the teachings of the saints and mystics and ancient practices like lectio divina and silent prayer, his message is simple and timeless: God calls each of us to a joyful, creative life of love, prayer, and service, and the wisdom of the past shows us the way to a truly contemplative present.

Carl is a life-professed Lay Cistercian — a layperson under formal spiritual guidance at a Trappist monastery. He first learned the practice of contemplation with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, and received training as a spiritual director from the Institute for Pastoral Studies.

His newest book, Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality, will be published in November 2015. Previous works include Answering the Contemplative Call and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. His writing appears in The Huffington Post, Patheos, and Contemplative Journal, as well as on his own blog/website, www.silence.today.

Carl frequently speaks about the spiritual life at retreat centers, churches, and academic institutions. His ministry is centered on helping individuals and communities reclaim the heritage of Christian contemplative spirituality — by celebrating the lives and teachings of the Christian mystics, the practice of silent prayer, and the revival of ancient practices like lectio divina, the liturgy of the hours, and spiritual accompaniment. While rooted in the Catholic faith, his work is broadly ecumenical and respectful of other religious traditions.

Carl loves to interact with wisdom seekers of all faiths. He finds that his faith in Christ is nurtured by a positive engagement with the contemplative teachings of the world’s great wisdom traditions. His interfaith work has included the study of Buddhist meditation, co-leading an interfaith contemplative group in Atlanta for several years, and authoring several books about neopagan (nature-based) spirituality.

Carl is an instructor with Emory University’s certificate program in creative writing, and regularly teaches the craft of nonfiction, as well as writing and journaling as a spiritual practice.

He lives near Atlanta with his wife and several well-pampered cats.

To learn more about Carl, visit these links:

An Accident and its Aftermath

Carl’s Books

Upcoming Events

Contact Carl

Booking Information

Giving a talk on Celtic Spirituality at the Hill of Tara in Ireland.

Giving a talk on Celtic Spirituality at the Hill of Tara in Ireland.


Author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.