Compared to the cacophony of the world, silence keeps catching us off guard – inviting wonder at being so loved by God.

“Are you a silent order?” is one of the questions we get asked most frequently as monks, and it’s a difficult one to answer. We don’t take a vow of silence and we do talk quite a lot. But silence is a central part of our monastic life. Guests sometimes ask us, “Is being silent some sort of penance?” No, we love silence.

In fact, we believe that silence is the greatest gift we have to offer those who come on retreat in our guesthouses. As a culture, we are simply saturated with noise, whether it’s literal – radio, TV, podcasts, and car horns – or figurative, in the barrage of information that comes at us through the Internet, our email and smart phones, or even in our own inner voices. How can we possibly hear God through all that noise?

The monastic tradition bears witness to the quietness of God’s voice. It is only when we listen deeply that we can hear another voice speaking, the voice of God. God’s voice is heard not in “earthquake, wind or fire,” but in stillness, in “sheer silence,” as the First Book of Kings has it. So the sixteenth-century Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross famously said, “God’s first language is silence. Everything else is a poor translation.”

Where do you weave silence into the fabric of your daily life? When silence comes, do you rush to fill it? If God seems distant or uncommunicative these days, maybe you’re simply not listening enough. God doesn’t shout.

The great mystery is that God in Christ dwells in the very depths of our souls. When we practice the presence of God, becoming inwardly quiet and listening with deep attention, then we too may hear in the sheer silence the creative Word that gives us life. We’d love to share the silence we so love with you. Come for a visit. What might you hear?

Types of Retreats

We offer three different types of retreats at the Monastery Guesthouse and at Emery House. Please click to explore these retreats.

Program Retreats at the Monastery

    Program Retreats at Emery House

    5 thoughts on “Visit

    1. I just found your website! Cannot wait to learn more. Thank you for offering words – they will be my compass.

    2. Is there a reason that SSJE is not Roman Catholic?
      The order appears to have many similarities to Roman Catholic monastic orders, but there must be some reason why a Brother of SSJE rejects Roman Catholic monasticism .
      Thank you for your response

    3. I stumbled onto your website and it has made all the difference. Listening to an reading the setmons has answered many, many questions I had

    4. I am delighted to find your website! We are very like-minded, and I look forward to reading more articles reflecting on our natural place being part of Creation. The Creator, God, shares so much wisdom and goodness through what He has made! Thank you for your beautiful words of truth.

    5. Dear Brothers of SSJE:

      I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the Lenten series: “5 Marks of Love” . I am going through a very challenging time right now–but your daily sermons really lifted me up. It helped me realize how blessed I truly am despite my circumstances.

      After Easter, I continued listening to your audio sermons and have now included them in my daily devotional practice.

      Thanks for blessing my life with your service.


      Deborah Tyson

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