Writing your own poetry, even if you've never tried it before, can be a great way of deepening your own spiritual life. At St Mary of the Angels Parish in Bayswater, central London, a group called 'Creativity to Contemplation' has been attracting participants from as far away as Somerset. The sessions are facilitated by performance poet and bard Sarah de Nordwall, whose unique brand of Stand Up Poetry is featured in the current edition of Good News Magazine and Catholic Life.
Sarah is parishioner of St Mary's. Besides writing and performing, she is a Catholic Voice and has appeared on BBC 1 The Big Questions, Radio 4 Woman's Hour and Premier Radio on various occasions. She has been BBC Worldwide's unofficial Performance Poet in Residence and has performed her works in the House of Lords, the House of Commons and many friendly venues from Transylvania to Philadelphia. Recently she attended the Pontifical Council of the Laity, Women's section as a bard and presented her CD "Lipstick is a Spiritual Experience" to Pope Francis.
One of the participants who made a long journey to the sessions, having seen Sarah's Poetry shows said: "I came to this workshop with a burden I've been carrying for years. I've been to healing Masses and retreats. They were all essential and no doubt part of the process. But tonight I went home without that burden. Something happened here - the combination of teaching, fellowship and the creative process that got to the heart of the matter. I can't thank you enough."
So poetry can be part not only of catechesis and evangelisation but also the evangelisation of the heart. The workshops are also enjoyable and informative. They can be booked for your own parish and retreat centre or even for your own sitting room. The new series at St Mary of the Angels began yesterday.
"The workshops are a brilliant way into the internal spiritual conversion we all need." Kathleen Griffin, Catholic Voices, author and broadcaster.
"The evenings are inspiring - Deep and Catholic, with a big and small c." Fr Hugh MacKenzie, presently studying for a PHD in the history of the philosophy of science.
Other participants said they left the evenings feeling energised and with a sense of hope and fresh possibility. This is because engaging in a creative process, in the context of faithful Catholic teaching, creates a space for God to work in our hearts in a new way. Enjoy listening to teaching, poetry and stories related to the theme and then get a chance to write (or draw or journal) using a line or an image from one of the poems that has struck you. There is then time to share in pairs. You will surprise yourself and be blessed by the insights of others. The significance of what you create and also reflect on as a group, will carry you forwards.
All sessions take place in The Back Room of the Parish House, St Mary of the Angels, Moorhouse Road, Bayswater, W2 5DJ at 6.30 for 7pm (bring a packed supper if you wish) Workshop begins PROMPTLY at 7pm and ends at 9pm They cost £10 per person or three workshops for £25 booked in advance To book call Sarah on 07849 641 899 or email:
MONDAY 20 APRIL 7pm -9pm Ascent from the Dead - We rise from sin - Teachings of the Risen One - We enter reality
MONDAY 27 APRIL - Ascension from Earth to Heaven - We live from Heaven
MONDAY 25 May the day after Pentecost Pentecost - The Covenant in Tongues of Fire We are Anointed
MONDAY 1 June the day after Trinity Sunday Mystery of the Triune God - The Hearth of Divine Love We Dwell in Love
MONDAY 8 June the day after Corpus Christi Source and Summit - A Passion for the All-Consuming We Stand in the Fire
MONDAY 15 June the Monday after the Feasts of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts Sacred and Immaculate Hearts - Refuge and Triumph We Dwell in Peace
MONDAY 22 June the week of the Feast of St John the Baptist Announcing the Messiah - the Dawning of the Messianic Age We Become the Kingdom
MONDAY 29 June the week of Sts Peter and Paul and the Proto Roman Martyrs Saints and Martyrs - an Eternal Communion We enter the Song