Introductory Day to Centering Prayer in the Capuchin Friars Monastery in Bratislava on United in Prayer Saturday 2024


by Teresie Viera Hašanová, CO Czechia-Slovakia

I think there was no better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Contemplative Outreach community and honour Fr. Thomas Keating´s birthday (March 7) than to introduce the method of Centering Prayer to more than 60 newcomers, exactly on United in Prayer Saturday 2024.

Most of them joined 127 participants on our Czech-Slovak Zoom hour, to pray and to watch the video “A Life Surrendered to Love.” I must say they were really lucky to have such a great experience of being a part of the whole Contemplative Outreach community on their very first day. Why? Well, because some of the first Capuchin Friars, who were introduced to Centering Prayer just before Covid restrictions in February 2020, were not afraid to be instructed in this prayer by a laywoman.

It took a whole year to “infect” some of their brother Capuchins, who wanted to learn about Centering Prayer as well. One of them was Brother Pavol, who had already known about Thomas Keating’s books. He is, without any doubt, a leading figure in spreading the knowledge and wisdom of Thomas Keating in Slovakia. Confirming this idea is his translation of the book, The Better Part, into Slovak. My privilege was to participate as a proof reader.

We started at 10am and finished well after 4pm and it was still not the end of my day. After 6pm there was another group coming to the monastery, this time more than 20 people who had already had some experience with Centering Prayer. There were questions, answers, experiences and sharing from their spiritual life. The discussion went on and on until my friend Magda realized that we had missed the train. Fortunately there was another one, but two hours later. We left Bratislava at 11pm (just the right time to join CO Alberta on Zoom) accompanied by an elderly lady who had come to the Introduction from the other end of Slovakia. She had heard Brother Pavol talking on the radio about Centering Prayer just a few days ago and had decided to come from Košice — a five hour journey by train!!!

That I call “the power of Centering Prayer.” Don’t you think so, Father Thomas? You must be really pleased. Didn’t you say, “After my demise, Centering Prayer will grow?” Well, in Slovakia it certainly does. I was just astonished.