Editor’s Note: HDS students have the option to take J-term courses, which are usually 2-credit courses held over winter break. In this post, MDiv student, Jessica Young Chang, shares her experience taking Kerry Maloney’s Comparative Monasticisms J-term course virtually this past January.
Post by Jessica Young Chang MDiv’22
Candlelight is flickering against the unadorned white walls. The echo of monks chanting in Latin invites a reverent silence into the room. The table is set with a humble bowl of lentils, rice, roasted squash, bread, and a mug of tea. My notebook is poised nearby in case the abbess reads or utters a morsel of wisdom I want to remember.
And in the other room, I can hear my husband laughing at whatever he’s watching on Netflix.
The retreat week for this year’s Comparative Monasticisms class looked a bit different. A J-term class offered by HDS Chaplain and Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Kerry Maloney, this class provides students with a background of the contemplative life as defined and practiced in the Christian and Buddhist traditions. Typically, students convene with Kerry and co-teacher David Woessner for a week and retreat at centers in the Massachusetts area. Alas, the pandemic made it impossible for us to gather and travel safely, so we retreated in our homes, are less the band of wandering mendicants and more the community of desert siblings in our individual cells.Continue reading