Aristotle argues that humans work in order to “do leisure.” Two important implications can be drawn: first, leisure should be the centerpiece around which life revolves; and second, leisure is an activity. Unfortunately, this dictum has been turned on its head by our age's obsessive emphasis on work and productivity. Life now tends to revolve around work with spare time geared toward passive entertainment.
In the Western tradition, however, the activity of leisure is something very precise. Philosopher Joseph Pieper demonstrates how, for the ancient Greeks, leisure as "the ultimate fulfillment, the absolutely meaningful activity, the most perfect expression of being alive, the deepest satisfaction, and the fullest achievement of human existence must needs happen in an instance of beholding." Leisure should thus be an act of contemplation, a beholding of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Our retreats seek to facilitate such leisure in a monastic environment with a regular rhythm of prayer, guided readings, and plenty of time for reflection.
Retreats are offered throughout the year for adults and young people (middle-school, high-school, and college-age). Raning in duration from one to seven days, they can be hosted in a number of locations (e.g. Colorado mountains, a monastery near you, local churches, etc). We are flexible and glad to adapt content and locale to a given group's interests. See below for a list of themes we've presented in the past. A typical retreat day is saturated with a routine of prayer and includes lectures, readings, discussions, solitude, et al (see sample schedule below).
If you are interested in organizing a retreat with Eighth Day Institute, please contact Erin Doom for more information at 316.573.8413 or by email here.
See a SAMPLE SCHEDULE (forthcoming) for a two day monastery retreat; or see flyer for 2012 Lentent Retreat (forthcoming) on "Sacred Time & Christian Prayer."
Click here to see a SAMPLE SYLLABUS (forthcoming) for a five day retreat on agrarianism.
- God Spies: Awakening to the Presence of God
- Thought Spies: John Cassian and the Seven Deadly Sins
- Flanenery O'Connor: Prophetic Novelist and Incarnational Artist
- The Art of the Commonplace: Wendell Berry and Agrarianism
- Mere Asceticism: The History and Spirituality of the Desert Fathers
- Hours of Prayer: The Psalter as the Church's Prayerbook
- Fasting and Feasting: A Journey through the Liturgical Year
"The summer retreat on being 'God Spies' was the most meaningful time of my high-school years. The traditional language of morning and evening prayers helped remind me that our faith in Christ is not a new thing. We come from a long history of men and women who have spent their lives pursuing God." -A high-school senior
"The retreat on monasticism at the Benedictine Monastery was a great learning experience. I used to think of monks as creepy, super religious guys who wear robes and hoods. After praying and working with them, I have a much better understanding of their way of life. Brother Joe was really cool!" -A high-school freshman