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Oblate Retreat

March 6 @ 3:30 pm - March 8 @ 1:00 pm

Faith in the Body

All that we experience of God in this life is mediated through physicality. Matter is the matrix of grace. This retreat offers an invitation to further welcome and nurture the love of God which has made a home in our flesh and blood on this living earth. Through simple experiments in breath, movement, stillness and singing, and incorporating reflections on Scripture, the Rule of Benedict and the gleanings of contemporary neuroscience, we will open ourselves to formation and transformation in the Body of Christ.

Facilitator – Ellen Oak

I am a musician—conductor, mezzo-soprano, pianist and composer—and liturgist based in the Boston area. I have served as director of music, formed liturgical leaders, shepherded chapel life, and taught worship, music, and the arts at Episcopal Divinity School, Andover Newton Theological School, and Saint John’s Seminary. I founded and directed the KAIROS Vocal Ensemble, the Boston Womens Rainbow Chorus, and Three Rivers Chorus. I have worked as director of music and worship minister in a wide variety of churches; released five CDs of my compositions and performances; and sung professionally as a cantor and recitalist, and with A Joyful Noise, the Labyrinth Choir, and Cappella Clausura.

I currently serve as interim minister of music at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Natick MA. I’m also doing research for a book on the role of cantor; preparing a new curriculum to teach the “livingness” of liturgy; and developing a chamber music series with accompanying study materials exploring several women mystics.

I perform concerts, teach workshops, and lead retreats on a freelance basis.

Song of Our Lives
A Musical Workshop on the Psalms led by Ellen Oak
March 5, 2020; 1:00-8:00 pm

In addition to the oblate retreat, March 6-8, 2020, Ellen Oak will lead a workshop on the psalms on Thursday, March 5, 2020. To encourage you to come to the retreat and the workshop, we are offering a special price of $25 (a savings of $50) for the Thursday workshop, if you attend both the workshop and the retreat. Lodging is available Thursday night for an additional fee. If you only wish to attend the workshop click here to learn more.

This workshop will introduce psalm singing as a spiritual practice. It is designed for those serving as musicians in parishes, as well as for individuals who desire the fullness of life in their prayer. The workshop will explore the diverse and deep gifts of the psalms for “singing the song of our lives” in all times and seasons, investigating a variety of musical styles and liturgical forms. It will include “hands on” practical training in singing and spirituality, as well as contextual teaching, and time for reflection. The workshop will conclude with an evening concert that weaves together pieces sung by Ellen Oak, pieces participants will sing together and readings of Scripture and poetry. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and soft, flexible shoes.


  • $135, full oblate retreat registration (March 6-8, 2020)

Partial oblate retreat registration

  • $70, Friday only (March 6, 2020)
    $100, Saturday only (March 7, 2020)
    $70, Sunday only (March 8, 2020)

Song of Our Lives workshop (if you are also registered for the March 6-8, 2020 oblate retreat)

  • $25, Thursday, March 5, 2020, 1:00-8:00 pm

Lodging at the monastery

Lodging at the monastery for the oblate retreat and workshop is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • $56, single room Thursday night only
  • $65, shared room Thursday night only ($32.50 per person for a total of $65)
  • $67, single room Friday night only
  • $82, shared room Friday night only ($41 per person for a total of $82)
  • $67, single room Saturday night only
  • $82, shared room Saturday night only ($41 per person for a total of $82)
  • $134, single room Friday and Saturday
  • $174, shared room Friday and Saturday ($87 per person for a total of $174)


Register for the retreat by February 21, 2020 and housing at the monastery by February 14, 2020.

Registration closed.

If you need to cancel your reservation for the oblate retreat or lodging, there is a $50 non refundable fee.

This retreat is open to oblates, oblate candidates and the public.


March 6 @ 3:30 pm
March 8 @ 1:00 pm
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Holy Wisdom Monastery*
4200 County Road M
Middleton, WI 53562 United States


Alison McKee
608-836-1631 x267

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Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road M
Middleton WI 53562
608-836-1631, x100
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