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Judith Valente, an award-winning PBS religion journalist and celebrated poet, will be part of the Spiritual Teacher series hosted by St. Catharine College professor Matt Branstetter on March 31 at 4:30 p.m. in Pettus Auditorium.
Valente and Bro. Paul Quenon visited the college in November to discuss their book, “The Art of Pausing.”
“It grew out of a series of poetic and meditative exchanges Brother Paul and I began in 2008,” Valente said. “It’s an interesting story. I went to the Abbey as a PBS -TV correspondent to report a story on the 40th death anniversary of Thomas Merton. Brother Paul was interviewed for that TV segment. He has published five collections of poems and he told me he writes a three line poem each day as part of his meditative practice. He and I began exchanging a short poem each day for the next three years.”
Valente said her March 31 discussion will be about “Contemplation in the Age of Twitter.” She said she will be focusing on her latest book, “Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith.”
“Atchison Blue” focuses on Valente’s time spent at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Kansas. During that time, she wrote, she took lessons from the Benedictine sisters “in the healing nature of silence, the habits of mindful living, and the freeing realization that failure is just as much a part of the spiritual journey as success.”
The event is free and open to the public.
Valente is a Midwest correspondent for “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,” a national religion news show on PBS-TV. She’s also a senior correspondent and producer at WGLT Radio, the National Public Radio affiliate in Central Illinois.