Fall 2019


Judith Valente.  HOW TO LIVE: What the Rule of St. Benedict
Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community.

Hampton Roads Publishing Co., 2018.


In this accessible guide to the good life, journalist and poet Valente illustrates how St. Benedict’s sixth-century monastic manual for healthy communal living can address contemporary conundrums, such as the echo chamber of social media, information overload, and the challenges of “Workaholism and Over-Achieverism.” In 22 short chapters, Valente highlights key selections from the Rule of St. Benedict, analyzing how ancient directives on topics such as paying attention, living fully, silence, humility, prayer, forgiveness, trust, and leadership can strengthen relationships and communities. . . .These astute reflections on the rule’s tools for nurturing community provide valuable guidance for those seeking balance in a conflict-ridden world.


Sep. 5

Wk. 1

Ch. 1 & 2: Living Consciously and Listening with the Heart

Administrative announcements.


Judith McDermott, coordinator and host

Sep. 12

Wk. 2

Ch. 3 & 4: Running With the Light – Using Death as Our Compass t.b.a.

Thomas Heck, host

Sep. 19

Wk. 3

Ch. 5 & 6: Learning the Craft of Good Works and Silence as the Power Tool. t.b.a.

Anna Grotenhuis, host

Sep. 26

Wk. 4


Ch. 7 & 8: Discovering the Power of Patience, Humility, and Gratitude


Judith McDermott, host

Oct. 3


Ch. 9 & 10: Fostering Well-being through Building Trust and Community t.b.a.

Anne Heck, host

Oct. 10

Wk. 6

Ch. 11 & 12: Finding Balance: the Urge to Over-achieve and the Need to Forgive t.b.a.

Judith McDermott, host

Oct. 17

Wk. 7

Ch. 13 & 14: Exploring Healing and ‘Homeness’  – Simplicity and Abundance t.b.a.

Martha Siegel, host

Oct. 24

Wk. 8

Ch. 15 & 16: Applying the Dynamics of Self-honesty and Group Consensus t.b.a.

Judith McDermott, host

Oct. 31

Wk. 9

Ch. 17 & 18: Extending Our Mission as Leaders in the Care of Souls and the Guardianship of the Planet



Anna Grotenhuis, host

Nov. 7

Wk. 10

Ch. 19-22: Living Into the Blessing and Meaning of Right Now, Wherever We Are Rev. Jim Clarke, retreat leader, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Anne Heck, host


The registration fee ($100) includes a copy of the book and admission to all ten Thursday morning sessions. Single-day sessions are $10 each. Send your check and contact information (phone, e-mail, address) to:
Judith McDermott, 3731-2 Greggory Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

For more information about Word and Life: our purpose and history; directions to the venue, and previous and current audio recordings, please visit our website, www.wordandlife.us.

When arrangements can be made, we provide digital audio recordings of these presentations for the convenience of those who missed them. Click the “play” button above to hear any specific presentation.  You may listen through your Web-connected computer any time using headphones or speakers.