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Aquinas @ Orvieto 2020



Aquinas @ Orvieto

5-Day Course with Matthew Fox


Deepen your own spiritual journey as mystic and prophet

A 5-Day Retreat, July 5-10, 2020 with Matthew Fox, Claudia Picardi, Meschi Chavez, and Gianluigi Guglielmetti – Featuring a Special Visit by Rupert Sheldrake.

Study the spiritual teachings of one of the greatest minds of Western civilization–Thomas Aquinas– with a preeminent scholar of Christian spirituality, Matthew Fox, in the amazing Italian town of Orvieto, famous for its views and art, where Aquinas himself taught and preached. Orvieto is located two hours from where Aquinas was born in Roccasecca, and where he died at Fossanova Abbey. And 90 minutes from Rome or Assisi!

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a mystic and prophet and one of the greatest geniuses in Western history. Though he died at only 49 years of age his many books bespeak a profound effort to bring nondualism alive. Courageous and controversial in his day, he brought science (from Aristotle) into the Christian West–a dangerous enterprise that got him condemned shortly after he died. Only later was he canonized a saint and declared a “Doctor of the Church.” His writings reveal an amazing mind and mystical heart and Matthew Fox translates numerous books never before translated thus revealing depths to his spirituality that have not been exposed before. Without Aquinas there would have been no Dante, no Mechtild of Magdeburg, no Meister Eckhart, no Thomas Berry.

Does he speak to us today in our quest for a working prophetic and mystical spirituality? We shall explore that question together.

Following are a few of Aquinas’ rich teachings that are even more real for us today than for the people of Aquinas’ day:

~”Joy is the human’s noblest act.”
~“the experience of God must not be restricted to the few or to the old.”
~“Sheer Joy is God’s and this demands companionship.” (Thus the title of Matthew Fox’s book, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality)
~“Every creature participates in some way in the likeness of the Divine essence. All creatures are images of God, who is the first agent.”
~“Every truth without exception—and whoever may utter it—is from the Holy Spirit….The old pagan virtues were from God….Revelation has been made to many pagans.” (Powerful for a time of Interfaith, Deep Ecumensim and science like our times, isn’t it?)

Scientist Rupert Sheldrake will join us one night to dialog with Fox on “Aquinas’ Wisdom for Our Times.” He writes:

“Aquinas was what we would now call a holistic thinker, but he went much further than most modern holists in recognizing the all-pervasive influence of the spiritual realm.”

In this course, you will:

~Encounter Aquinas, one of the greatest human minds ever, in his own words discoursing on wisdom and spirituality
~Learn how to apply Aquinas’ teachings to your daily life and sacred action through the teaching of Matthew Fox
~Deepen your spiritual journey while sharing with others
~ Delight in the beauty and history of Orvieto

Register @

Register by October 31, 2019 for early bird price of $995.
$1100 Before December 31, 2019
$1200 Before MARCH 31, 2020
$1400 AFTER MARCH 31, 2020

Body Prayer with Meshi Chavez followed by Fox teaching from Sheer Joy.
Afternoons: Art as Meditation (choose one of two options). Followed by optional small group sharing.

LOCATION: Istituto San Lodovico monastery

You may also choose to visit Assisi or nearby towns where Aquinas lived.


Meschi Chavez~body prayer and art as meditation: Putting Aquinas’ Teachings into Movement
Claudia Picardi~art as meditation: Painting, Color, Word in Response to Aquinas
Gianluigi Gugliermetto~Integrating in small groups (optional)
Meshi Chavez is a choreographer and movement teacher based in Portland, OR and a student of Natsu Nakajima and Denise Fujiwara in the dance form called Butoh. A co-founder of Momentum Conscious Movement, his spirituality is greatly influenced by his 20 years of working with Native Spiritual leaders and ceremonies.
Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian and author of 36 books on Spirituality and Culture that have been translated into 74 languages. A Dominican for 34 years, he is now an Episcopal priest. Among his books are three on Hildegard of Bingen, three on Meister Eckhart and a major work on Thomas Aquinas. See
Gianluigi Gugliermetto holds a doctorate in theology from the Claremont School of Theology, and is an Episcopal priest presiding over a parish in Los Angeles. He has translated many of Matthew Fox’s books into Italian.
Claudia Picardi is vice president of the Creation Spirituality Organization in Italy and leads workshops on re-activating the imagination through fairy tales, myths and sacred texts. She holds a master’s in Transpersonal Psychology and a Doctorate in Computer Science.

Rupert Sheldrake
is a biologist best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. He is the author of more than 85 scientific papers and 9 books, including  Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, The Science DelusionScience and Spiritual Practices, and Ways to Go Beyond And Why They Work.

For more information and to register go to

Contact: Dennis @ 510.835.0655, or email

Father Bede Griffiths comments on Matthew Fox’s book on Aquinas: Sheer Joy is a work of major importance not only for the church and the Dominican order but also for the wider world, which is looking for a philosophy that can act as a guide in the moral, social, and political problems of the world today.”



Orvieto is a small town in the Italian region of Umbria, and it is one of the jewels of Central Italy. It has a rich history: its name comes from Latin urbs vetus, “old town”, which means that it was already considered old at the times of the Roman Empire. It is nowadays renowned especially for the splendid palaces and churches, dating from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when it belonged to the papal territory and hosted several popes – Nicholas IV even chose it over Rome as the seat of the Curia. Orvieto boasts an impressive scenery: the historical city center is in fact built on a cliff of volcanic tuff, with the modern town spreading at its feet.

Orvieto is also in the almost exact center of Italy. Assisi, Rome and Florence are all at a 2h ride distance by train.

Thomas Aquinas spent in Orvieto four years, from 1961 to 1965, before being sent to Rome. Here he preached mainly in the church of Saint Dominic, where his teaching altar can still be seen.

The retreat will take place in a convent, Istituto San Lodovico, whose oldest building dates back to the middle ages. Occupied by different religious orders from the XIV to the XIX century, since 1834 it is managed by the Sisters of the Company of Mary, Our Lady, who run it as a retreat center and B&B. It is possible to sleep at the monastery, see the accommodation section for more details.

How to get there
The closest international airport is Rome Fiumicino. Frequent trains connect Rome Airport to the main station of Roma Termini (30 min), and then Roma Termini to Orvieto (1h 15min).
Click here for website of Trenitalia, the major Italian railway company.
Click here for portal for all major European train companies.

Orvieto’s train station, Orvieto Scalo, is located at the feet of the town’s cliff. A cable car departs from the square in front of the station to reach the historical city center. Depending on where you have to go, though, you may want to take a bus or a taxi.


Istituto San Lodovico offers to the retreat participants a discounted rate of 33,5$ (30 EUR) per night, with accommodation in single or double (twin) room, with private bathroom, including a simple breakfast. In a few weeks it will be possible to book this accommodation through our website.

Istituto San Lodovico
Piazza Ranieri, 5 – 05018 Orvieto (TR))

The monastery rests on the opposite side of the historical town with respect to the cable car. It’s a 15 minutes walk (the historical town is rather small) from the cable car station. By bus from the train station you have two options:
– Cable car + Circular C bus (from the Cable Car station to Piazza Repubblica)
– Circular B bus (from the train station to Piazza Ranieri)
Click here for more information/registration.

July 5, 2020 5:00 PM
July 10, 2020 5:00 PM
Istituto San Lodovico
Piazza Ranieri, 5
Orvieto Italy
Map via Google