Carl McColman

Soul Friend and Storyteller. Lay Cistercian, Centering Prayer Presenter, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Speaker, Teacher, Retreat Leader.

Questions and Answers on Interspiritual Mysticism


My good friend and colleague Jana Rentzel of Closer Than Breath invited me to answer a few questions about interspiritual mysticism — which is the topic of my forthcoming talk at Closer Than Breath’s Christian Mysticism Summit. I’ll be speaking at this online summit on Thursday, June 22, as part of a week-long event with either other amazing speakers, including Valerie Brown, Carmen...

Mysticism, Faith, and “Knowing” God’s Will


A reader of this blog, named Peter, asked me a couple of questions recently. He had been at church where he heard a priest speak about a controversial issue with a kind of rhetoric that implied “this is what God wants for the church.” So Peter writes: So I put 2 questions to him. 1. Does he know there is a God and 2. Does he also know God’s plans. If yes, then I requested his...

Online Event: Christian Mysticism Summit (Begins June 18, 2023; I speak on June 22)


Here’s a treat, friends. My wonderful associates Keith and Jana of Closer Than Breath have put together a free, week-long online Christian Mysticism Summit that will run the week of June 18-22, 2023! Click here to register for this free online event. They have a wonderful roster of speakers lined up, including Valerie Brown, Lerita Coleman Brown, Justin Coutts, Carmen Acevedo Butcher, David...

Centering Prayer and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius • In-Person Retreat in Atlanta, June 9-11, 2023


Two of the most popular Christian spiritual practices in our time are Centering Prayer, inspired by the writings of Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating, and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In some ways these are very different practices, as Centering Prayer emphasizes deep silence and stillness as a way of consenting to God’s action in our hearts.  The Spiritual Exercises, of...

Rest in Peace, Fr. Matt Torpey


Father Matt Torpey, OCSO died this morning. I don’t know how old he was, but I’m sure he was well into his 90s (I’ll post more info here on this blog once the monks post an obituary on their website). This picture of me (yes, that’s really me) and Matt was taken in 2005, I believe, at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit’s annual Christmas party for employees and volunteers. I was a new employee (I...

Nicodemus, Peace, and the Dark Night


N. B. This is a Gospel reflection I shared during a communion service at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Decatur, Georgia, on the evening of April 17, 2023. The Gospel reading comes from John 3:1-8, the story of Nicodemus’s night-time visit to Jesus. Nicodemus is a smart man. In today’s Gospel he is described as a “Pharisee” but also a “Ruler of the Jews.” We learn later in the Gospel that...

English Mystics and the Contemplative Imagination • In-Person Retreat in Maryland, June 25-July 1, 2023


Meet me at the beautiful Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriotsville, Maryland (between Baltimore and Washington DC) the last week of June for an in-person retreat on the English Mystics and the Contemplative Imagination! Click here to learn more about this retreat and/or to register. Julian of Norwich proclaimed that “All shall be well.” The Cloud of Unknowing reminded us that love is the key to...

Online Retreat: The Mystical Path to a Joyful Life (June 1-7, 2023)


During the first week of June I am giving a retreat based on my book Eternal Heart for the Sisters of Saint Francis in Rochester, Minnesota. Although this is a cloistered retreat and not open to the public in person, we are offering an option to participate in the retreat via Zoom. You can sign up for the entire seven day retreat, or you have the option to attend just the first half, or the...



Last year, my friend and colleague Alice Camille and I spent an evening on Zoom geeking out on one of our favorite topics: The Spirituality of Star Trek (seriously!). People seemed to enjoy our exploration of the spirituality of the future enough that they asked for an encore. We decided another fun (and unusual, perhaps) place to look for God is in the wild and crazy world of popular music —...

Modern Mystics: The Latest from Bernard McGinn


I make the following statement in my forthcoming New Big Book of Christian Mysticism: Some writers and scholars, who might humbly deny identifying themselves as mystics, nevertheless have contributed much to our understanding of mystical theology, philosophy, and spirituality. In our time, scholars like Bernard McGinn, Louise Nelstrop, Barbara Holmes, Mark McIntosh, Grace Jantzen, Andrew Louth...

Lessons From a Feral Cat, Part II: Little Mama’s Final Legacy


Little Mama, one of Fran’s and my adopted feral cats, died yesterday, and we are devastated. We made the heartbreaking decision for her to be euthanized after several weeks of an illness that led to her refusing to eat and rapidly losing weight and even losing the use of one of her back legs. She was only about 9 years old — far too young for a cat, especially a pampered house cat, to die...

Want to Learn More About Julian of Norwich? Start Here


Next month — May 2023 — marks the 650th anniversary of the visionary “showings” of the great 14th century English mystic, Julian of Norwich! To make the occasion, for the patrons of this blog I’m currently leading a course on the contemplative study of Julian of Norwich. Twice a month I publish PDF documents in which I offer my commentary on her writings, curate my favorite...

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