In the centuries prior to the printing press, the stone monasteries of Europe often included what was known as a scriptorium: a multi-windowed, light-filled room designed solely for the focused reading and meticulous hand-copying of manuscripts, some illuminated with intricate designs of gold leaf and precious lapis lazuli. The holy reading practiced in the scriptorium had its roots in an ancient Christian tradition known as praying the Scriptures. During this retreat among the beautiful stone walls and light-filled spaces of Laity Lodge, we will consciously step back into another time, one in which the hours of the day were marked off by communal prayer rather than digital alarms and reading was meant to feed our souls instead of bombarding us with the latest news.
Paula Huston, a longtime oblate of a contemplative Benedictine hermitage in Big Sur, is the author of two novels and seven books on the spiritual life. She lives with her husband Mike on four acres on the Central Coast of California. Fr. David Denny spent thirty years in a Carmelite monastery before moving to his own hermitage in Colorado. He is the co-founder, with Tessa Bielecki, of The Desert Foundation, which fosters dialogue between practitioners of the Abrahamic faiths.