Spiritual Growth For Adults

Looking for our Sunday School program?

Christian education, the nurturing of the spiritual life of every person, takes many forms at SMM.  Through weekly study and discussion groups, more formal lectures, and quiet days of guided reflection and prayer, we seek to help people grow in the knowledge and love of God.

 Collegium Magdalenae

This study group, meeting on Tuesday evenings at various times throughout the year, offers a place to learn, explore, and ask questions about living a Christian life.  As a discussion-based place of learning, there’s no question you can’t ask here!  Each course unit covers a different topic, and typically meets once a week for several weeks.

Recent course offerings have been:

  • “Lord, Teach us to Pray” (2014)
  • “Lord, Teach us to Live”
  • “Carmelite Saints and Mystics”
  • “Finding God in All Things”
  • “Living the Discerning Life”
  • “Psalms High and Low”
  • “Marvellous in Our Eyes: Exploring Visio Divina
  • “The Wisdom of Thomas Merton”
  • “Windows into Mystery: Exploring the Creed through Icons”
  • “Lord, Teach us to Pray” (2016)
  • “Welcome to Christianity”
  • “Engaging Questions: An Introduction to Christian Apologetics”

Wednesday Morning Discussion Group

After the 10.00 am Wednesday Mass, congregants gather downstairs for refreshments. After a brief time to catch up and enjoy cookies, tea or coffee, the group engages in study led by the clergy. Selections for study are chosen by the group and include both contemporary writers and Bible study.

Quiet Days

On Saturdays periodically throughout the year, we offer quiet days of guided prayer and reflection on themes suitable to the season.

A quiet day typically begins with Mass at 10.00 am, followed by a light (continental) breakfast. We take time over breakfast to introduce ourselves to one another and receive an orientation for the day. For the rest of the day we refrain from conversation, keeping a contemplative silence. We listen to a few brief talks/meditations, each followed by a time for silent prayer, when you are free to pray in the church, sit in the park, go for a walk, and enjoy some quiet. At mid-day we come together for a silent meal, when we listen to a reading on the topic of the day. We close the day at 3.00 pm.

Recent quiet days have been:

  • “A Meditation on the Art of Waiting”
  • “A Quiet Day for Corpus Christi”
  • “Forming and Living a Reasonable Rule of Life”
  • “Advent: Prelude to Incarnation”
  • “A Quiet Day in Eastertide”
  • “Have a Little Faith!”
  • “The Four Last Things”

Our next Quiet Day will be Saturday, May 20, from 10am to 3pm.

“Behold Thy Mother: Understanding Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima in Today’s World”

In honour of Our Lady’s month of May, and of the 100th anniversary of her appearance at Fatima, Portugal, we will spend a day meditating on three important apparitions of our Lady — Guadalupe (1531), Lourdes (1858) and Fatima (1917) — and how these events speak to us of God’s desire to heal a broken world.  For more information, see:

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Saturday Workshops

From time to time we offer Saturday afternoon workshops on different aspects of Christian spirituality and life.

Recent workshops have been:

  • “Seeing the Word with New Eyes: An Introduction to Visio Divina“, led by the Rev’d Anne Crosthwait of Contemplative Fire Canada
  • “Death, Dying, and Funerals: A Conversation”
  • “I perceive in my majesty”: The History of Mystery and Morality Plays
  • “There every man may see his own face”: Mystery and Morality Plays in the 20th Century
  • “Medieval Mystery Plays: The Medium and the Message” (York Cycle and N-town Cycle)
  • “Medieval Mystery Plays: The Wakefield Master”
  • “A Visit to the Labyrinth”, led by Jo Ann Stevenson of the Labyrinth Community Network
  • “Getting Creative about Creation”
  • “Signs, Wonders, and Miracles: The Gift of Spiritual Discernment”

Lectures

From time to time we also offer lectures on various subjects in Christian theology, history, spirituality and culture.

Our most recent lecture series was in Feb 2015, “St Teresa of Avila: Mystic and Prophet”, with guest speaker the Rev’d Canon Allan Budzin. Each evening began with a Gregorian Evensong, sung by members of the St Mary Magdalene Ritual Choir.

Centering Prayer Group

Centering Prayer is a way of opening ourselves to the Divine, whom we know by faith dwells within us.  In Centering Prayer, we rest in God and in his abiding love for us.  We do this in a way that is beyond thoughts, words, images, feelings, and sensations.  We let go of the interior noise and empty ourselves to be filled, healed, and transformed by God for the world.

Join us every Thursday from 6.00–7.00 pm to learn about and practice this form of Christian meditation. From 6.00 to 6.30 pm we gather for prayer, and from 6.30 to 7.00 pm we view and discuss one of the videos in the series “Opening to the Presence of God” by Fr Thomas Keating.

Praying the Rosary

The Rosary is an ancient and well-known form of meditation on the mysteries of our redemption - the life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord – which we pray in the company of Our Lady, who strengthens our faith with her own.  Join us after the 11:00 Solemn Mass on Sundays (i.e. around 12.45 p.m.), when a small group gathers before the statue of Our Lady to practice this venerable devotion.  Even if you’ve never prayed the Rosary before, our Rosary Prayer Group will help lead you through the recitation of the prayer (with rosaries provided!).

The Chant Club

The interest in learning about Gregorian Chant inspired the Ritual Choir to create a more informal venue for learning about and practising chant.  The Chant Club meets on scheduled Sunday afternoons after the Solemn Mass (usually at 1:15pm).

Following a wonderfully successful Holy Week featuring what I think was the Chant Club’s finest showing to date on Maundy Thursday, we’ll get things started again this coming Sunday and for the next 5 weeks…

We’ll focus on music for the Ascension on 25 May and for the Marian Festival on Saturday, 27 May.

Hope to see you there!

- Rob

For more information about any of these events and programs, please contact us (below).  We always welcome suggestions and feedback with respect to all aspects of Adult Christian Education at SMM!  What do you feel you need to learn, in order to grow as a Christian?