Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path

Live from a place of calm and love in these turbulent times

November 2023 – June 2024 on Zoom

Does your heart long for a deeper connection to God within a community of like-hearted souls?

Program runs November 2023 – June 2024

Early Bird Deadline: September 18, 2023
Regular Deadline: October 15, 2023


To learn about upcoming offerings, join our mailing list.

Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path is an eight-month program that invites you to ground yourself in a place of calm and love, embracing diverse spiritual expressions. With the support of community, retreats, monthly gatherings, small group time and spiritual direction, we explore our hearts’ longings. The program begins and ends with 24-hour retreats and meets monthly on Saturday mornings in between.

Free Info Sessions

Join us on Zoom to discern about the rightness of this program for you. Talk with the Directors and recent grads. Dates to be announced.

Heart Longings Timeline

Opening Retreat: Nov. 3-4, 2023: (Fri 5-9 ET and Sat 10-5 ET)
Dec. 2, 2023: (10am-1pm ET)
Jan. 6, 2024: (10am-1pm ET)
Feb. 3, 2024: (10am-1pm ET)
Mar. 9, 2024: (10am-1pm ET)
Apr. 6, 2024: (10am-1pm ET)
May 4, 2024: (10am-1pm ET)
Closing Retreat: May 31-June 1, 2024: (Fri 5-9 ET and Sat 10-5 ET)

Sample Topics

Staying Grounded in the Storm: Contemplative Living
For Everything There Is a Season: Waiting, Listening, and Acting
Building the Beloved Community
Listening and Seeing: Music and Art as Contemplation
Walking as Prayer: Body and Nature
Sacred Activism: Contemplative Grounding for Social Change
Earth Awareness
Staying Faithful to the Journey: Gifts and Challenges

A Certificate of Completion is awarded upon completion of all program requirements.


The opening and closing retreats as well as the monthly gatherings all meet on Zoom.

“I am so glad that I took the brave steps to join Heart Longings during a real time of uncertainty for me. It has been one of the better decisions I have made for my well-being. I had no idea how much I needed such a diverse group in which to experience and explore the world during such a crucial time. It gave me a new sense of purpose while creating new friendships and restoring my faith and hope in others…”

-Glen Vinson, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Howard University (Bowie, Maryland)


Margaret Benefiel

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AY Bryant

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Trish Stefanik

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“As I reflect on my time in the program, I can see three distinct gifts I received: the gift of vulnerability, the gift of showing up for myself, and the gift of community. I received the gift of vulnerability every time my small group met. During our time together, I would often be prompted by God to share things I either rarely talked about or never talked about at all. The women in my group always made space for each of us to be seen, heard, loved, and we were always encouraged to look for God in everything….”

– Tara Pray, Freelance Writer and Social Work Professional

““What is love? It is a walk in a drizzle. You walk and walk and only after a while do you realize that you have become soaked to the core (attributed to Pope John Paul II).” Looking back at my walk with Heart Longings, I can see how contemplative stillness quietly uncovered itself as an element of my core. I can feel how these people will always be part of my community. I’m grateful for the climate. I keep walking.”

– Aleksandra Lewandowska, Inspirational Speaker (Warsaw, Poland)

“As a course name, Heart Longings perfectly evoked the sense of excitement and possibility I brought to the class. The phrase also conjured in my mind a heart-led journey toward something long-awaited, hoped for, yet never quite obtainable. Those were the images that stirred in my heart and mind when, in 2022, I encountered Shalem’s Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path.”

– Janet G. Hudson, Professional Coach


  • Early bird (through 9/18/2023): $1,260
  • Regular price (after 9/18/2023): $1,460

Need-based tuition assistance is available. For more information, contact Chris, chris@shalem.org.


The application process for this program is now closed. Check back for future dates.


Christine (Chris) Jeffrey is the Registrar for Heart Longings: An Invitation to the Contemplative Path and can be contacted at chris@shalem.org.


Our mission is to nurture contemplative living and leadership.


In 2025, Shalem will be a dynamic and inclusive community, empowered by the Spirit, where seekers engage in transformation of themselves, their communities, and the world through spiritual growth, deep connection, and courageous action.