Monday 13th September, 2021
Paula Pryce, The Monk's Cell (Oxford University Press, 2018), 30.
Image: Ben Berwers, the Netherlands, berwers.org
This quote is from Paula Pryce, The Monk's Cell: Ritual and Knowledge in American Contemplative Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2018), 30. Paula is an anthropologist and Research Associate at the University of British Columbia, as well as a long-term Centering Prayer practitioner. This is a particular spiritual discipline of silence, as taught by the Trappist monk, Thomas Keating (1923-2018) and Contemplative Outreach (see here). Centering Prayer practice is rooted in and derived from the anonymous, 14th century English text, The Cloud of Unknowing. Paula's book, The Monk's Cell, is adapted from her PhD thesis and explores the impact of a long-term practice of Centering Prayer on the lives of both semi-cloistered monks and a dispersed network of non-monastic Christian contemplatives across the USA and beyond (see here). In it, Pryce details how Centering Prayer practitioners in both settings combine social action and intentional living with study and intensive contemplative practice. She shows how their efforts impact upon their ways of knowing, sensing and experiencing the world. For a much more accessible two-part Holy Week blog post an absence and presence written by Paula for the Contemplative Society website this year, see here.