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Aquinas @ Orvieto Retreat: A 5-Day Course with Matthew Fox - Orvieto, Italy


A 5-Day Retreat with Matthew Fox, Claudia Picardi, Meschi Chavez, and Gianluigi Gugliermetto
Featuring a Special Visit by Rupert Sheldrake


Study the spiritual teachings of one of the greatest minds of Western civilization--Thomas Aquinas-- with a preeminent scholar of Christian spirituality, Matthew Fox, and a special visit by British scientist Rupert Sheldrake, who joins us one night to dialog with Fox on "Aquinas' Wisdom for Our Times."

San Ludovico Monastery

San Ludovico Monastery

It all takes place in the beautiful and historic Istituto San Lodovico monastery in the amazing Italian town of Orvieto, famous for its views and art, where Aquinas himself taught and preached….

Orvieto is located two hours from where Aquinas was born in Roccasecca--where his family locked him in their diminished castle dungeon for daring to join the upstart Dominican Order as a young man--and where he died at Fossanova Abbey.  It is also 90 minutes from Rome or Assisi!

Early Bird Registration Closes October 31, 2019

For Information, email Dennis Edwards at or call 510-835-0655. If you are interested in staying in the convent, please let Dennis know to add your name to the list.

Thomas Aquinas, by Fra Angelico

Thomas Aquinas, by Fra Angelico


Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a mystic and prophet and one of the greatest geniuses in Western history. Though he died at only 49 years of age and in his final year was struck dumb by a stroke that precipitated a breakdown and mystical experience, his 44 books bespeak a profound effort to bring nondualism alive. Courageous and controversial in his day, he brought science (from Aristotle) into the Christian West which was a dangerous enterprise that got him condemned shortly after he died. Later he was canonized a saint and declared a “Doctor of the Church.” His books include commentaries on many Biblical works as well as many by Aristotle, and together his writings including his best known Summa Theologica reveal an amazing mind and mystical heart. He directly influenced Dante (whose primary teacher studied with Aquinas) and the Beguine mystic Mechtild of Magdeburg as well as Meister Eckhart who, like Aquinas, was a Dominican and was 17 years old when Aquinas died.

Does he speak to us today in our quest for a working prophetic and mystical spirituality? We shall explore that question together.

Experience joy and wonder in the monastery garden at Orvieto

Experience joy and wonder in the monastery garden at Orvieto

Following are a few of Aquinas’ rich teachings that are even more real for us today than for the people of Aquinas’ day:

  • “Joy is the human’s noblest act.”

  • “The experience of God must not be restricted to the few or to the old.”

  • “Sheer Joy is God’s and this demands companionship.” (Thus the title of Matthew Fox’s book)

  • “Every creature participates in some way in the likeness of the Divine essence. All creatures are images of God, who is the first agent….In all creatures there is a footprint of the Trinity.”

  • “Revelation comes in two volumes: Nature and the Bible.”

  • “Every truth without exception—and whoever may utter it—is from the Holy Spirit….The old pagan virtues were from God….Revelation has been made to many pagans.” (Powerful for a time of Interfaith, Deep Ecumenism and science like our times, isn’t it?)

Encounter one of the greatest minds (and souls) of the West: Ahead of his time, Aquinas wove the best science of his time (Aristotle) into Christian theology.


Matthew Fox sitting in Meister Eckhart’s choir stall in Predigerkirsche in Erfurt, Germany.

Matthew Fox sitting in Meister Eckhart’s choir stall in Predigerkirsche in Erfurt, Germany.

Matthew Fox has brought alive Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas for millions of people today.  About his first work on Hildegard, Dr. Mary Ford Grabowsky writes: “If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.”  Sister Joan Chittister in her Foreword to Fox’s latest book on Hildegard writes: “This is a truly marvelous, useful, profound, and creative book.”   About his most recent work on Eckhart, Jungian analyst and author Steve Herrmann writes: “Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed.  No one paints as broad a portrait of the master as Fox does in this book.” 


Fox, who was a Dominican friar for thirty-three years until he was expelled by the Vatican for teaching creation spirituality, the divine feminine, liberation theology, and original blessing in preference to original sin recognizes himself as a brother to Aquinas who was a Dominican for thirty years and was condemned by three bishops shortly after he died at the age of forty nine. 

In his book Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, Fox set out to find a way for today’s spiritual seekers to understand Aquinas whose works, set in a scholastic mode of learning, often prove difficult for contemporary minds to cipher. 

Fox chose to interview Aquinas and thus descholasticize himHe poses contemporary questions to Aquinas and every answer Aquinas offers is drawn straight from his writings.  A genuine conversation takes place.

Fox places Aquinas squarely within the lineage of Hildegard, Francis, Eckhart, and other champions of Creation Spirituality tradition and brings into the dialogs many of Aquinas’ works that had never before been translated into English, German, French or even Italian.  This includes his very first and most mystical work, his Commentary on Pseudo Denis’ “Divine Names” and many of his Biblical commentaries such as those on the Psalms, Isaiah,  Job, John’s Gospel and more. 

Whole new dimensions of Aquinas come through that appear fresh, new and very relevant to today’s spiritual search.  Fox discovers for example many Buddhist dimensions to Aquinas’ teachings on contemplation as well as a very rich development of prophetic spirituality including his Environmental teachings[1]

Come and interact with one of the greatest minds (and souls) of Western culture.  Aquinas insisted on taking the best (and very controversial) scientist of his day, Aristotle, who was being translated in Islamic centers in Baghdad, into the heart of Christian theology and paid a heavy price for doing so. 


[1] See Matthew Fox, “Thomas Aquinas: Mystic and Prophet of the Environment,” in Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets: Essays on Creation Spirituality and Everyday Life, 105-114. Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake address Aquinas’ teachings on angels in The Physics of Angels, pp. 77-136.


British scientist Rupert Sheldrake writes in his Foreword to Sheer Joy: Aquinas “was what we would now call a holistic thinker, but he went much further than most modern holists in recognizing the all-pervasive influence of the spiritual realm….Until now, Aquinas’s insights have bene hidden behind a fog of scholastic and neoschoalstic commentary and interpretation.  This book changes all that.  Matthew Fox allows Aquinas to speak for himself, and at the same time the dialogue enables the relevance of what he says to come across with great clarity.  After more than seven centuries, we can meet Aquinas again and hear what he has to say to us.” 

The Wall and vista of Orvieto

The Wall and vista of Orvieto

Father Bede Griffiths writes in the Afterword: “Sheer Joy is a work of major importance not only for the church and the Dominican order but also for the wider world, which is looking for a philosophy that can act as a guide in the moral, social, and political problems of the world today…..The teaching of Aquinas comes through with a fullness and an insight that has never been represented in English before, and that moreover is shown to have a vital message for the world today.”

National Catholic Reporter writes: “The sheer joy of the shared commitment of Aquinas and Fox to creation spirituality is contagious and pervades almost every page of this big volume  Fox is doing us a great service by presenting us the best of Aquinas and doing brother Thomas a service by making him live again” 


Stroll the picturesque streets of Orvieto

Stroll the picturesque streets of Orvieto

  • Encounter Aquinas, one of the greatest human minds ever, in his own words discoursing on wisdom and spirituality

  • Learn how to apply Aquinas’ teachings to your daily life and sacred action through the teaching of Matthew Fox

  • Share and deepen your spiritual journey

  • Meet Rupert Sheldrake, one of the most forward thinking scientists of our day, as he and Fox dialog one evening on “The Wisdom of Aquinas for Today.”

  • Delight in the beauty and history of Orvieto

You can also visit Assisi or the town where Aquinas lived and where he died if you care to make those trips before or after the course.


Mornings begin with body prayer led by Meschi Chavez and then move into Fox teaching from Aquinas’ texts.

Afternoons will offer a choice of two Art as Meditation practices.

  • “Integrating Aquinas’ wisdom into Movement” with Meschi Chavez

  • “Painting, Color, Word in Response to Aquinas” with Claudia Picardi

An optional Integration Seminar of small group sharing will follow, led by Gianluigi Gugliermetto



Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian and author of 36 books on Spirituality and Culture that have been translated into 74 languages. A Dominican for 34 years, he is now an Episcopal priest. Among his books are three on Hildegard of Bingen, three on Meister Eckhart and a major work on Thomas Aquinas.

Claudia Picardi is vice president of the Creation Spirituality Organization in Italy and leads workshops on re-activating the imagination through fairy tales, myths and sacred texts. She holds a master’s in Transpersonal Psychology and a Doctorate in Computer Science.

Meshi Chavez.jpg

Meshi Chavez is a choreographer and movement teacher based in Portland, OR and a student of Natsu Nakajima and Denise Fujiwara in the dance form called Butoh. A co-founder of Momentum Conscious Movement, his spirituality is greatly influenced by his 20 years of working with Native Spiritual leaders and ceremonies.


Gianluigi Gugliermetto holds a doctorate in theology from the Claremont School of Theology, and is an Episcopal priest presiding over a parish in Los Angeles. He has translated many of Matthew Fox’s books into Italian.

Special Guest Instructor

Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. He is the author of more than 85 scientific papers and 9 books, including  Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, The Science DelusionScience and Spiritual Practices, and Ways to Go Beyond And Why They Work.


Register by October 31, 2019 for early bird price of $995.

$1100 Before December 31, 2019

$1200 Before MARCH 31, 2020

$1400 AFTER MARCH 31, 202


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to May 19

Retreat: Naming the Unnameable: Accessing the Sacred - Rowe, MA

Join Matthew Fox as he leads a weekend retreat titled “Naming the Unnameable: Accessing the Sacred,” based on his new book, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God, Including the Unnameable God.

May 17-19, 2019 (Fri-Sun) Rowe, MA

Rowe Retreat Center
22 Kings Hwy, Rowe, MA 01367

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to Jan 19

Retreat: Honoring Mother Earth; Honoring One Another - St. Simons Island, GA

Join Matthew Fox and 700 other participants at beautiful St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast. The event is held at Epworth by The Sea retreat center.
Register for the wait list HERE


Fri- 6:30pm-9:30pm –  lectures with 20 minute break - Recovering a Sense of the Sacred and Applying It To Honoring/Loving Self, Earth and Others

Sat – 8:30am-11:45am – lectures with 20 minute break - Learning to Grieve Again and Create Anew

Sat – 7:00pm – Questions and Conversation with speakers

Sun – 9:00am-11:30am – lectures with 20 minute break - Honoring Community & Communities: Celebrating Cultural Diversity and Religious Diversity

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to Jan 22

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat: Creation Spirituality - Nassau, Bahamas

Join Matthew Fox for a powerful and motivational 3-day yoga retreat exploring the teachings of Creation Spirituality, including an opportunity to learn of his latest initiative, the Order of the Sacred Earth.

The planet is going through changes that affect all people, regardless of religion, background, or culture. Mother Nature sends us messages every day and it is up to spiritually-minded individuals to answer the call. Learn about the evolution of the human species and how we can progress to protect our planet from destructive human behavior. Join in on the conversation on how we can combat the more primitive part of human nature and learn to act from compassion for all beings and the earth.

Offered as 2 satsangs and 2 workshops (subject to change)


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4:00 PM16:00

Highly Recommended: Transforming Fear Into Voices for Change - Ukiah, CA

Matthew Fox recommends this powerful retreat, offered by Earth Art Heart and sponsored by Creation Spirituality Communities:

Integrate the wisdom of the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality into your life through mixed media,  presentation, conversation, contemplation, body prayer, and art as meditation.


Registration, $150

 Early Bird Registration: $125 (until February 2.)

    Your Registration Includes: 

  • The entire Wisdom Retreat experience plus three lunches and three dinners.  Please let us know about any food restrictions when you register. 
  • A limited number of partial work scholarships may be available, but you must register by February 2. 
  • Scholarships are available for North Bay Fire Survivors.


  • Housing is not included in your registration. However, some rooms in the homes of community may be available. If you need housing accommodations, please let us know by February 2.

 To register, email


 or call 925-785-1631





Creation Spirituality Communities is a network of individuals and communities that are grounded in the sacredness of all creation and seek to live in spiritual communion with our living Earth. CSC  offers events, programs, online conversations, and other support for the broader Creation Spirituality community so that we might continue to evolve spirituality and as a movement.


People from many spiritual traditions, cultures, races, sexual identities, and ages find deep truth in Creation Spirituality.. It .integrates the wisdom of indigenous, Eastern, and Western spirituality with the revelations of modern science to

  • awaken mysticism
  • revitalize our culture
  • promote social and ecological justice. 


                                                          Learn more about CSC.

Creation Spirituality Communities | 877-422-1156 |

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to Mar 19

Retreat: East Meets West: Cosmic Christ as Eco Christ, Buddha Nature, Deep Ecology - Bangor, PA

Matthew Fox leads us in exploring Buddhist writers like Thich Nhat Hanh and Christian writers from Thomas Merton to Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen and Mary Oliver and the work of Rabbi David Seiderman on Jewish ecology to awaken the sense of the Sacred Earth for us all.  Practices will include circle dancing and journal/poetry writing and sharing, grieving, chanting, a mini-pilgrimage of the Stations of the Cosmic Christ and more.  Awakening creativity is key.

March 17-19, 2017 (Friday evening through Sunday lunch)
Kirkridge Retreat Center, 2495 Fox Gap Road • Bangor, PA • 18013

A Weekend Retreat: Practices will include circle dancing and journal/poetry writing and sharing, grieving, chanting, a mini-pilgrimage of the Stations of the Cosmic Xst and more. Awakening creativity is key.

Einstein says humanity needs a "cosmic religion" grounded in conscience; Thomas Berry says "ecology is functional cosmology." Therefore, a recovery of the archetype of the Cosmic Christ from the Christian mystical tradition and the Buddha Nature from Buddhism and the Image of God from Judaism are important movements at this time of human and planetary history. As Berry says, "eventually only a sense of the sacred will save us," and these archetypes provide exactly that. We will explore Buddhist writers like Thich Nhat Hanh and Christian writers from Thomas Merton to Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen and Mary Oliver and the work of Rabbi David Seiderman on Jewish ecology to awaken the sense of the Sacred Earth for us all. 

Register HERE.


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to Jun 12

Retreat - Eco-Spirituality: Living as Spirit-Based Agents of Change - SANTA BARBARA, CA

Matthew Fox leads a weekend retreat: "Eco-Spirituality: Living as Spirit-Based Agents of Change"

June 10-12, 2016 (Friday evening through Sunday lunch

La Casa de Maria, 800 El Bosque Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

More information here:


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