I’m personally thrilled to be doing this week’s show — which took a few of us up to one of my favorite places in the world, St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota. St. John’s is one of the largest Benedictine communities in the world and has always been a remarkable place. Its wide orbit has touched many lives and many leading institutions, globally.

In the 1960s, as St. John’s was founding HMML, it also helped found Minnesota Public Radio (our parent company) as well as an ecumenical institute that formed my imagination in the early years of what became this radio program. I came to think of St. John’s as a spiritual center of gravity and a kind of secret center of the world. It is certainly one of those “thin places” the ancient Celts spoke about — a place where, again and again and with astounding creativity, the temporal and eternal seem to touch.

If you’d like to read about the ways in which the Benedictines of St. John’s inspired and shaped Speaking of Faith, we’ve excerpted some of my writing about it in a PDF file for you.

Share Your Reflection



"Spiritual center of gravity"....thanks for sharing it. I was educated by Benedictine Sisters of Chicago and understand your attraction to St. John's as a "kind of secret center of the world," but I had never heard of HMML. There are other Benedictine touchpoints if you keep looking.

That was a really good read, Thank you, and quite an insight into the background and perspective that comes with each program I listen to. You have really immersed your self into the diversity and origins of many traditions through the people you have met, studied and exchanged ideas with. I love that we all get to share a weekly episode of your journey.
As the child of a UK diplomat, I like you, have always been an observer, I have eaten the street food and basked in the sounds, songs, and faith, and festivals of many diverse cultures and nations on my travels. The resounding impression of this now long journey, is that all faiths are rich, meaningful, and when devoutly held, as pure and valuable as any other in their own way, on the alter of the God who comes to unite all of us.
In our modern drive to unify and create peace we too often want to assist or even drive others to holding a new point of view in our own need to feel unity and a commonness of understanding.. ours ! Whereas, I believe we will only find unity and peace when we accept with an open mind and compassion, the validity and huge diversity of traditions and evolutionary history that exist in each strand of faith.
Humanity in all of its forms, exists precariously balanced on many fine strands of faith.
I pray for and believe our 44th leader knows this truth.