Invite Carl McColman to Your Community

An artful retreat leader, Carl guided us beautifully on a journey into the depths of our souls by way of storytelling, contemplative prayer and silence. Novices and experts alike walked away fully enriched and whole by resting in God and basking in the communal love Carl brought to this gathering.

— Bryna Bozart & Linda Flynn, Charlotte Spirituality Center, Charlotte, NC


Carl McColman

Carl McColman loves to share his passion for Christian prayer, contemplative living, interfaith dialogue, and other dimensions of spiritual wisdom with groups and communities of all sizes and shapes: young or old, clergy or lay, religious or secular, ecumenical or interspiritual. He enjoys connecting with local or regional gatherings of churches or other faith communities, and is comfortable working in seminary or other academic settings as well as experiential or retreat circles.

Carl brings enthusiasm, a down-to-earth teaching style, and an appealing balance of playfulness and reverence to his presentations. He particularly enjoys opportunities to engage in dialogue with those who attend his presentations. His goal is to create a meaningful and safe space where each person present can tend to the nurture of his or her own soul. Whenever possible, Carl incorporates prayer and attentive silence into his presentations as a way of anchoring the words he speaks in an authentic and practical spirituality.

Listening to Carl was like being present while a grand-slam home run was taking place: articulate, warm, intelligent — an excellent presenter of some rather challenging concepts.

— Ruth Hopkinson, Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists, Williamsburg, VA

Here is a partial list of topics Carl enjoys sharing with communities like yours:

  • “Be Still and Know God” — An Introduction to Contemplative Prayer
  • Lectio Divina — Praying with the Bible
  • Seven Dimensions of Daily Prayer (Intercession/Petition, Confession, Adoration/Thanksgiving, Lectio, Daily Office, Meditation, Contemplation)
  • Writing and Journal Keeping as a Spiritual Practice 
  • Ancient Wisdom for Today’s Christians: How the Saints and Mystics Can Show Us the Way to God
  • Introduction to Monastic Spirituality
    • Benedictine
    • Cistercian
    • Neomonastic
  • Fostering a Personal “Rule of Life”
  • Contemplative Practice and Interfaith Dialogue
  • The Spiritual Wisdom of One or More Specific Figures:
    • The Desert Fathers and Mothers
    • The Celtic Saints (Ireland/Scotland)
    • Saint Benedict
    • Hildegard of Bingen
    • Julian of Norwich
    • The Cloud of Unknowing
    • Evelyn Underhill
    • C. S. Lewis
    • Pope Francis
  • Many other possibilities — if you don’t see the topic  you’re interested in, please ask.
Teaching Adult Education, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA

Teaching Adult Education, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA

Where appropriate, Carl is honored to offer homilies to faith communities, sharing how contemplative spirituality relates both to the scriptural lessons of the day — and to the challenges of everyday life. In the metro Atlanta area, Carl is available for events as brief as one hour. He is also willing to travel and present to communities anywhere in the world.

Carl is an excellent communicator, respectful and deeply versed in contemplative spirituality. His knowledge of the subject is backed up by his willingness to share his personal journey lived in the context of his relationship with the Cistercian monks of Holy Spirit Abbey. It was an honour to have Carl with us in Dublin.

— Father Jim Caffrey, Parishes of St. Brigid, Killester and
Our Lady of Mercy, Artane, Dublin, Ireland

Carl is an authentic and captivating retreat leader and author. The joy and love of God emanates through him, his writing and his teaching as he brings to life some of the deepest secrets of the Christian spiritual tradition.

— The Reverend Deedra Rich, Christian Spiritual Formation Program,
Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA

“Carl, thanks for a great weekend. All the evaluations were through the roof. You really connected with the group.”

— Brother Joseph Guyon, CO,
The Oratory, Rock Hill, SC

Carl McColman used a wonderful mixture of silence, prayer, humor, and teaching as he led our retreat.  He created a meaningful time for those who are new to the contemplative life as well as those with previous experience.

— The Reverend Katrina Paxson, Associate Pastor for Discipleship,
St. Paul United Methodist Church, Louisville, KY

Carl was well received by his audience here in Portland, OR. He demonstrated a broad depth of knowledge of his subject matter which he presents with high energy, scholarship, and good humor in an accessible format. He is attentive and personable with a willingness to spend time in one on one and group conversation in addition to his formal presentations. I heartily recommend him.

— The Reverend Charles Cooper, Institute for Progressive Spirituality, Portland, OR

I have known Carl McColman for many years, as a friend, as a Lay Cistercian, as a frequent lecturer on our retreats in the retreat house, and in his capacity as a worker in our Abbey Store.  I can attest to his fine character and his solid Catholic orthodoxy.  He has a broad working knowledge of our faith and other religious traditions and has a wonderful way with people.  I always enjoyed the many times I assisted him when he led retreats here at the monastery.  He is an excellent and well informed teacher and has a gift for making people feel very much at home.  I have never failed to be impressed with his generosity when it came to offering his time, his insights, his advice.

— Father James Behrens, OCSO, Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, GA

If you would like Carl to visit your community, please contact him using this form. Thank you.

Speaking about contemplation at the Wild Goose Festival.

Speaking about contemplation at the Wild Goose Festival.