Sacred Earth Series

This spring, Holy Wisdom Monastery is excited to offer several experiences that focus on our sacred Earth. We are delighted to welcome Justice Green, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation on May 14, 2022 for a day retreat and John Philip Newell, renowned international author and spiritual guide, inspiring speaker and evolutionary thinker, on May 20, 2022 for an evening presentation.  In addition, we offer in-person and virtual Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul book study groups.

Sacred Land Retreat

  • May 14; 8:00 am – 4:30 pm


Earth & Soul, an Evening with John Philip Newell

  • May 20, 4:30 – 8:30 pm


Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul Book Study

  • Study guide and resources for those who wish to read the book on their own or with a group


Sponsor the
Sacred Earth Series

Consider partnering with the sisters, as an event sponsor, to help underwrite this Sacred Earth Series. We offer two levels of sponsorship:

  • Presenting Sponsor | $1,000
  • Friend of the Sacred Sponsor | $500

*Respectively, 4 or 2 complimentary dinner tickets are included with each sponsorship level.

A Special Thank You

We would like to thank our event sponsors for supporting these unique spiritual and environmental experiences at the monastery.

Presenting Sponsors:

  • Jane Ayer
  • Living Compass
Become a Sponsor

Sacred Land Retreat

May 14, 2022 | 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Holy Wisdom Monastery occupies the ancestral homeland of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Join us on Saturday, May 14th to hear Justice Green, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, speak about the land where Holy Wisdom stands and the history of the indigenous people there. He will also talk about plants on the prairie and their traditional uses. There will be time for guided reflection and a tour of the land by Friends of Wisdom Prairie. This is a blended retreat, offered both onsite and virtually for those who are unable to attend in person.

The retreat is jointly sponsored by Friends of Wisdom Prairie and Oblates. All members of Holy Wisdom Monastery communities are invited to attend.

In-person registration closed. Virtual registration open until May 10.

Our speaker

Justice Green is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. He is a member of The Thundercloud Singers, a group that participates in ceremonies and gatherings.


  • $60/person (in-person)
  • $30/person (virtual)

Breakfast, lunch and afternoon refreshments are included in the registration cost for in-person participants.

There is an option to include dinner as well for an additional $17.50/person.


The registration deadline is May 1, 2022 for the in-person retreat. The registration deadline is May 10, 2022 for the virtual retreat.

There is a 50% refund for cancellations until the May 1, 2022 deadline, no refunds after the deadline.

Earth & Soul, an Evening with John Philip Newell

May 20, 2022 | 4:30-8:30 pm

Holy Wisdom Monastery is excited to offer Earth & Soul, an Evening with John Philip Newell. Together we’ll explore the beauty of earth-based spirituality and how it can help us see the divine in all of creation while we deepen our spiritual connection with God.

John Philip Newell will speak about the Sacredness of Earth and Soul and dialogue with Sister Mary Ellen Gevelinger, OP, who will ask questions that will connect with the communities of Holy Wisdom Monastery. John Philip will lead us in a spiritual practice, to allow us to move from head to heart and give us a time to reflect. He will then move back into dialogue and conversation around spiritual exile. John Philip allows time for comments and questions of what is stirring within.

Our speakers

John Philip Newell is a world renowned international Celtic spirituality teacher and founder of the School of Earth and Soul. He calls the modern world to reawaken to the sacredness of the Earth and every human being. He is an inspiring speaker, spiritual guide, evolutionary thinker and the author of 15 books, including his latest, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul.

Mary Ellen Gevelinger, OP is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa and a lifelong educator in secondary and higher education. She has recently served as Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa and is President Emerita of Edgewood College. In her spare time, Mary Ellen enjoys local gardens and parks and loves to walk with her favorite Sheltie, Liam, when they are together.


$50/person in person
$25/student or virtual attendee


Registration closed.

There is a 50% refund for cancellations until the May 6, 2022 deadline, no refunds after the deadline.

Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul Book Study

In anticipation of Earth & Soul, an Evening with John Philip Newell on May 20, 2022, Holy Wisdom is inviting all to participate in a Community Read Book Study of his latest book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What Our Souls Know and Healing the World (HarperOne, 2021). In his book, the Scottish born author summarizes ancient Gaelic and contemporary writers who invite us to a reawakening of the sacredness of all creation.

Since 2019 Holy Wisdom members have been studying Evolutionary Consciousness, especially through the writings of Ilia Delio. That study culminated in a virtual presentation by Ilia in March, 2021. Now we are invited to integrate this work with John’s challenge to consider the sacredness of all creation, which has been graced with the dignity of divine birth.

There are several ways to participate in a study of Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, and all follow a guide with reflection questions.

In-person sessions at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Three in-person sessions will be held at Holy Wisdom Monastery, facilitated by Mary Ellen Gevelinger, OP and held from 1:00-2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, April 6 and 20, and May 4. Registration is required.

In addition, please consider joining us for midday prayer and/or lunch with the community on these days. Contact Brooke Miller, 608-836-1631, x100, to reserve your lunch.

Online sessions via Zoom

Three online sessions will be held via Zoom from 6:30-8:00 pm on Thursday evenings, April 7, 21, and May 5, co-facilitated by Carole Kretschman and Pam Shellberg. Registration is required, so that you can be sent a Zoom link for the gatherings.


Register by March 30, 2022.
Registration closed.

Our facilitators

Mary Ellen Gevelinger – is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa and lifelong educator in secondary and higher education. She has recently served as Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa and is President Emerita of Edgewood College, Madison, WI.

Carole Kretschman is retired, a Benedictine Oblate and spiritual guide. She strives to live her life contemplatively and is challenged by busy-ness.

Pam Shellberg – is the Director of Spiritual Nourishment at Holy Wisdom Monastery. She is a lifelong learner and educator, biblical scholar, lover of poetry, and student of all things related to the contemplative life.

Reading schedule

The reading schedule for in-person and Zoom sessions is as follows:

  • Session 1:  Chapters 1-3  Pelagius, St. Brigid, Eriugena
  • Session 2:  Chapters 4-6  Carmina Gadelica, Alexander John Scott, John Muir
  • Session 3:   Chapters 7-9  Teilhard de Chardin, George MacLeod, Kenneth White

Form your own group

Gather together with a group of friends, determining your own meeting place and schedule. Use the guide to shape your conversations.

Read individually

Read the book on your own and use the guide to guide your reading, thinking, and reflecting.

Guide with reflection questions

As you read Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul, please click below to access the study guide with reflection questions. This guide will be used for the in-person and virtual sessions offered by the Monastery or can be used by individuals or small groups you may form on your own.