Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction, or perhaps better said spiritual accompaniment, is a process of engaging with another person to explore one's relationship with the Sacred, with the Divine, with the Transcendent, with God. It can be an important aid in understanding the work of the Spirit in our lives and in our overall growth toward wholeness.

In general, the meetings occur monthly and is considered an ongoing process in the work of being turned by and our turning to God. There are many approaches to spiritual direction, and as Benedictines we would approach spiritual direction as we do all aspects of our life: in the context of the essential wisdom of the Rule of St. Benedict. Anchored in the ancient practice of what Lectio Divina, or holy reading, we expand this to include Lectio of Life, that is, seeing all that happens with and to us and around us as capable of revealing God’s presence and involvement in our lives. Anchored in the stability of an ongoing relationship, and attentive to our growth in seeing the presence of Christ in all around us, the work aims to help us come to a deeper knowledge of ourselves and others and God. This contributes to our ongoing transformation and growth in the Spirit. We welcome anyone who would like to explore the process of spiritual direction and see if it is something that might enrich their lives.

Although we do see some individuals for no charge, we do ask for a donation since this is one of the primary ways in which the monks support themselves at Incarnation Monastery.

Father Bede Healey

Father Bede is both a monk and a practicing clinical psychologist. He is now offering his counseling services to the public. Learn more about his offering.

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, Vice-Prior and Spiritual Director. 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.

As an ongoing member for many years of a colloquium exploring generative monastic communities, Bede joins a group of similar scholar-practitioner monastics yearly to explore this area, bringing his unique relational psychoanalytic perspective.  Occasional publications are offered.

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 Andrew Colnaghi

Father Andrew is a monk and priest, and the former Prior.  He grew up in a small town, Bellusco, in Northern Italy near Milan. At the age of 27 he decided to enter the Camaldolese life at the Motherhouse in Camaldoli, Italy. He studied theology at San Anselmo in Rome and was ordained a priest in 1979. Andrew journeyed to the United States in 1980 and was one of the founding members of Incarnation Monastery.  In 1986 he was elected Prior of Incarnation and also Co-Prior of the Order of the Holy Cross, a community of Episcopal monks with whom the newly founded Incarnation community lived and prayed. Besides overseeing the monastery, organizing the purchase and move to a separate monastery, and then some years later the purchase of additional property for the growing community ad its ministries, Andrew has been very active in the promotion and guiding of lay oblates.  He remains the Oblate Chaplain. For over 25 years he ministered to the Italian Catholic Federation of California, providing ministerial services and spiritual direction.

Father Andrew also provides spiritual direction at the monastery.

Currently on sabbatical following many years of generous service to the community, Andrew is spending an extended period at Ecce Homo Center for Biblical Formation in Jerusalem.

A marvelous cook and powerful preacher, beloved by those to whom he has ministered to over these many years, the community looks forward to his return at year’s end.

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.