The Contemplative Spirituality of Toni Morrison

A webinar with Linda-Susan Beard, Associate Professor of English, Bryn Mawr College
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lectio divina is an ancient Christian monastic practice associated with more than 1500 years of Benedictine prayer and preparation for prayer. It moves “reading” beyond the search for knowledge to an attentive and interactive appreciation for what rests beneath the text and in our own souls. Though usually used in working with sacred texts, lectio easily adapts itself to a wide variety of meditative approaches to texts–from poems, novels, or cultural critiques to the soul-chilling daily headlines of the local newspaper. This is a method of “reading” that also teaches us how to listen, with the whole self, to what a word or phrase speaks directly to or intimates about our lived experience. I use this technique in my classes on African and African American literatures, especially in a course aptly named “Toni Morrison and the Art of Narrative Conjure.”