Who we are

The Camaldolese Benedictine monks came to the United States in 1958, with the founding of New Camaldoli Hermitage in the Santa Lucia mountains of Big Sur, California. Twenty years later, in 1979, two monks planted the seeds of an urban community in Berkeley, California. In 2015 we have received another Benedictine community into the Camaldolese family. The Monastery of the Risen Christ is located  in the rolling hills just north of outside San Luis Obispo on Highway 1.

Incarnation Monastery is located in the urban context of Berkeley, in the Bay Area, offering a welcoming space for all people who wish to join us in our daily rhythm of contemplative life and prayer.

Our mission is to provide a peaceful and prayerful atmosphere for oblates, friends and guests who are looking for a community dedicated to the ever-new monastic and spiritual life, which is also in tune with the best aspirations of today’s human consciousness: ecumenical, interfaith, and intercultural dialogue, multiracial and multi-gender diversity, concern for justice and peace, solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters, and a growing care for the ecological environment.

We offer liturgy, prayer, Eucharist, meditation, hospitality, retreats, and spiritual direction.

Father Bede Healey, Prior

Bede is the Prior of Incarnation Monastery and came here in 2016. Prior to that he was at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur for over 20 years. In his time there be served as formation director, oblate chaplain, council member, cellarer, and vice-prior. Before transferring to the Camaldolese he was a monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey in Kansas for 15 years where he held positions in formation and administration and was an associate professor of psychology at Benedictine College.

Besides attending to the administrative responsibilities and addressing the needs of the monastic community here, Bede provides spiritual direction and offers retreats focused on monastic and contemplative issues, as well as the intersection of spirituality and psychology. He taught at the School of Applied Theology and is an adjunct faculty at the Jesuit School of Theology where he’s teaching a course on psychoanalytic theory and contemplative spirituality.

Bede is also a licensed clinical psychologist and offers psychological consultation and treatment.  Bede earned his doctorate in 1990 at the Gordon F Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University in New York. He trained and worked at the Menninger Clinic, where he was a Staff Psychologist, the Director of the Division of Religion and Psychiatry, and held the Ishak Ramsey Professorship at the Karl Menninger School of Mental Health Sciences.

As an ongoing member of a colloquium exploring generative monastic communities, he joins a group of similar scholar-practitioners yearly to explore this area, with occasional publications offered.

In these capacities, he has written and presented widely on psychological and spiritual issues, including sexuality, trauma, ministerial self-care, and promoting psycho-spiritual growth throughout the lifespan.  He has consulted with and provided treatment for religious professionals and focuses on working with religious issues in therapy.  He has provided psychological assessments for religious and ministerial candidates and consulted with religious communities and dioceses of various denominations.

He has a keen interest in the relationship between spirituality and psychology, especially psychoanalytic relational theory, as well as in exploring the contemplative dimension in everyday life.

Bede enjoys cooking, gardening, a wide variety of music, and is a voracious reader. He is also the go-to guy for anything to do with computers.  Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he brings a “down home” presence and sharp sense of humor to his interactions with others, and is known for his ready smile.

Father Arthur Poulin

Father Arthur Poulin is a Camaldolese monk, priest, and artist living at Incarnation Monastery, Berkeley, California. A native of California, Father Arthur began his journey in the religious life with the Franciscans.  After a number of years of fruitful service, he discerned a call to a more contemplative way of life and joined the Camaldolese in 1993. Father Arthur spent his early years with the Camaldolese at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, CA. Over 20 years ago he transferred to our urban monastery in Berkeley, where he served for many years as guest master.  Besides his theological training, he holds a degree in fine arts from Loyola University in Chicago. Father Arthur gives retreats and presentations on the spirituality of creativity and the creative process.

When you come to visit or stay at Incarnation, many of the works of art you see around the guesthouse are works completed by Father Arthur. His paintings have been extensively acquired by people living in his native California as well as throughout the United States and internationally. His paintings echo the Impressionists, yet he has developed his own original style. These landscape paintings reflect the stunning beauty, harmony, and unity of creation: deep values that need to be celebrated and shared today.

Father Arthur states of his experience of painting: “I begin every painting by covering the canvas with 20 to 25 layers of black gesso, building texture and preparing the ground for the sacred image. This is where the contemplative process and the experience of painting begins for me. I next apply layer after layer of small brushstrokes of paint, starting with darker shades of color, including their opposite colors. In time (2 to 3 months,) the mysterious gift of a work of light and beauty gradually emerges. Even though these landscapes are based on places I have seen and visited, I interpret them through paint so that new vision can be seen and experienced.”

Father Arthur’s works are widely published as cards and can be seen on covers of books, magazines, journals, and CDs.  His cards are now available at over 70 Art Museum gift stores around the country.

Father Arthur now exhibits exclusively at his monastery in Berkeley. Father Arthur is happy to meet with people who wish to see those paintings that are still available or to commission a new one.

The art critic Sr. Wendy Beckett has written the following to Father Arthur regarding his work: “it is intense and strong, with the pure clear inner radiance that is a silent witness to your vocation.”

Brother Ivan Nicoletto

Originally from Padua, Italy, Brother Ivan is a Benedictine Camaldolese monk. He joined the Holy Hermitage of Camaldoli, Italy in 1984. Upon completion of his initial monastic formation, he took a master’s degree in philosophy and theology, and was involved in the initial formation of those entering monastic life. He also served on the General Council of the Camaldolese Congregation.

He has been living at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley since November 2011, taking coursework at the California Institute of Integral Studies, in San Francisco, as well as a course in Spiritual Direction offered at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. An avid walker, he has explored all the ups and downs of both the Berkeley Hills as well as San Francisco. He says he is most alive when he is near the ocean.

He has written a number of books that bring together his main interests: spirituality, arts, evolution, cosmology, and ecology. His most recent book is: Journey of Faith, Journey of the Universe. The Lectionary and the New Cosmology, Liturgical Press 2015.

Ivan serves as the guest master and offers spiritual direction and retreats.

Meet Br. Ivan

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