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Desert Spirituality: Wisdom from the Ammas and Abbas

Desert Spirituality: Wisdom from the Ammas and Abbas

January 16 – February 24, 2017
Rev. Dr. Brenda K. Buckwell, Obl. OSB, Instructor
2 CEU’s $300.00

Have you noticed we live in a new age of continuous change? The old saying “we’ve always done it that way” does not hold true in an age of disorientation when folks’ fears guide thinking, doing, reacting, and relationships. The trouble I see with “always doing it that way” is that we only look back to recent history – we like things to stay the same with how we have experienced our past. This six week continuing education course brings wisdom from the ancient past into contemporary culture.

You are invited to join me in looking back to look forward by experiencing the wisdom of our ancient ancestors in faith, the Desert Mothers and Fathers. These every day, ordinary folks desired more than their contemporary society provided. They fled away from the temptations, the toils, and the terrors of urban living to search for an authentic experience of sole reliance upon God in the desert. Through this class participants will explore:

  • Stability of heart in God while in the midst of the life’s storms
  • The wisdom of wasting time with God
  • Spiritual Disciplines of Silence and Solitude
  • Spiritual Disciplines of Connecting and Community
  • Attributes of endurance and celebrations of joy

By participating in this class, participants will receive three daily devotionals every week. During these six weeks a New Year’s rhythm of prayer and praxis will guide participants into the discovery of desert wisdom for our contemporary age. 

In our contemporary age of disorientation, chaos and distrust; you will not want to miss this important and timely adventure with the Desert Ammas and Abbas as we explore two books:

Forman, Mary. Praying with the Desert Mothers, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, Minnesota, 2005. ISBN #10:0-8146-1522-8

Paintner, Christine Valters. Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings, Skylight Paths Publishing: Woodstock, Vermont. 2012. ISBN # 978-1-59473-373-4

If you would like to start your New Year off with a “Desert Banquet” of daily devotionals, an optional book for this class is:

Keller, David. Desert Banquet: A Year of Wisdom from the Desert Mothers and Fathers, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, Minnesota, 2011. ISBN # 978-8146-3387-8

Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell, Obl. OSB

As founder of Living Streams Flowing Water online and onsite Spiritual Formation ministry (, I am one who seeks earnestly to experience God’s presence. My great desire is to companion others as we share God’s prayer and deepen awareness of God in the midst of personal life and within community. As an ordained elder within the United Methodist tradition, I have additionally trained as a spiritual director and supervisor of spiritual directors at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. ( and have received the United Methodist Certification in Spiritual Formation. I am a spiritual director for lay and clergy persons, a national retreat leader, co-founder of The National Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders: Hearts on Fire ( Further, I have my ICF (International Coaching Federation) certification for spiritual coaching (

I have a deep passion for spiritual formation within the church. With my online teaching certification, I have taught spiritual direction and supervision of spiritual directors as a guest instructor at United Theological Seminary (UTS). I am adjunct in spiritual formation and prayer at Ashland Seminary ( )

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, I graduated with a BA from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, Master’s of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology and received my Doctorate in Theology and Leadership from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. I am an Oblate in the Benedictine Methodist Monastery, St. Brigid of Kildare. (

In addition to spiritual direction two of my favorite spiritual disciplines are swimming and ballroom dancing. The delight of my life is my grandchildren for whom I strive to be Amma.