Byline: Kelly Womer Daily Herald Correspondent
Their days dawned with yoga, prayer and silence. They ended with music, meditation and more silence. In between, 65 men and women learned how to experience prayer with the mind, body and soul during a five-day conference at the Cenacle Retreat House and Spirituality Center in Warrenville.
The center's 42 acres of shady woodlands, bridge-covered brooks and wildlife created the perfect setting for participants to find rest, relaxation and inspiration.
"Spirituality is really growing as society is becoming so fragmented and uprooted," said Brother Wayne Teasdale, a monk who helped facilitate the retreat. "There is a deep desire for spirituality in some sense."
The conference, "A Holistic Experience of the Sacred," focused on contemplative prayer as a pathway to deepen all areas of one's life.
"Some people think of contemplative prayer as being self-centered or out of touch with the world," said Sister Joyce Kemp of the Cenacle. "But it actually hones us to be better servants within the world. We're not withdrawing or running away from problems and sitting in bliss."
Teasdale, who has collaborated on projects and studied with the Dalai Lama, spoke each morning about holistic approaches to prayer. "Contemplative prayer is a mystical tradition and deeper than faith," said Teasdale, a Chicago resident. "It's more experiential."