Art and Prayer

Sketching as Prayer Retreat September 24-27

Tuesday, September 24 – Friday, September 27, 2024

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Seeing heaven here on earth and recognizing God’s presence, whether in the wildness of a burning bush or in the shifting colors of autumn trees, requires slowing down, stepping aside from our busyness, and becoming receptive to what we haven’t yet perceived. Sketching can be a pathway to seeing, to noticing the ways God is speaking through creation, and to becoming aware of his presence in the world around us. In the process we are drawn into prayer, either with words or in silent communion with God, and into worship of the Master Artist.

In this retreat we will open our sketchbooks, eyes, and hearts to God’s presence in his creation.  We will cover some basics of sketching techniques to capture the essence of a subject, whether person, animal, or landscape. Each morning and afternoon we will have time on our own to sketch, rest, or explore the beautiful building and peaceful grounds of Holy Cross Monastery. Throughout the retreat we will look with eyes of faith into the world to see God’s touch all around us, as we enter into prayer through the pages of our sketchbook journals.

Artistic experience is not necessary; you can sketch with any kind of simple art supplies or you can “sketch” with words.

This retreat will be held at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY. The monastery looks out over the Hudson River with trails winding down through field and woods to a quiet river beach (covered with perfect skipping stones). All meals are included from Tuesday supper through Friday lunch. For more information about lodging and meals, see Holy Cross Monastery Lodging and Meals.

Contact me at with any questions.

To register, please contact the Holy Cross Monastery Guesthouse Office by phone (845-384-6660, ext. 3002) or email (

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