Over the past two summers, Lauren Winner—assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School, and the author of numerous books—has facilitated writing workshops at the Collegeville Institute. She returned this summer to lead the workshop Deepening Words: Writing and the Spiritual Life—A Week with Lauren Winner.
Unlike many of our writing workshops, the participants in this group spent the mornings and early afternoons writing independently. At 3:00pm every day, the group convened to workshop one another’s prose, discuss sterling examples of spiritual writing, and explore writing exercises designed to improve craft. Lauren commented that the time spent together workshopping everyone’s writing is valuable, but the time spent actually writing is perhaps even more valuable for the participants each year, since it is difficult for most of them to find time to write on a regular basis. The week at the Collegeville Institute provides time and space to do just that.
Topics for the final reading ranged from disillusionment with living “radically,” life in the wake of divorce, experiencing the sacred in nature, protest as prayer, and pre-teen dance party as foretaste of heaven. After the final reading, the group shared ideas about how to keep the practice of spiritual writing alive in their lives.
The group enjoyed a sense of community, and gained insights from each other as they read and responded to each other’s writing. We wish them all the best as they return home, and continue working to bring together the disciplines of writing and Christian spirituality.