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Online Advent Retreat: Walking by Starlight

An online retreat for Advent

with Fr John Udris and Avril Baigent

What qualities did the wise men exhibit as they travelled to Bethlehem? What inspired and sustained them on their pilgrim way? Attentiveness, Wonder, Courage and Trust are all distinguishing features of their remarkable journey. During this retreat we shall be exploring these key characteristics of our Advent adventure. With the help of wise men and women from our Catholic tradition we shall ponder these important dimensions of our discipleship. Join us in this exploration of the wisdom that continues to guide our steps towards the Christ-child, as we travel again to Bethlehem.

With plenty of time for prayer and contemplation, join Fr John Udris and Avril Baigent as we seize the opportunity to switch off from all the pressures on us and just ‘be’.

Thursdays through December: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 7.30-8.30pm

Watch our trailer:


Register here!


You can watch live on Thursday evenings, or catch up here at any time afterwards.  Videos will be posted a day or so later each week.


Week 1: Attentiveness

In this session, Fr John prays the Prayer of Abandonment of St Charles de Foucauld – find out more about this prayer and St Charles de Foucauld here.
He also quotes Mary Oliver’s poem, Instructions for Living a Life, and Fr Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem Inversnaid which you can find here.  

Week 2: Wonder


G K Chesterton is our guide to wonder as we discuss slowing down, grief, astonishment and dancing in the rain.  Fr John shared the prayer “Slow me down” which was often prayed by Cardinal Richard Cushing.  You can find the words and a short reflection here.  In the course of our session, Fr John quoted a lot from Chesterton’s unpublished notebooks, but he also shared two of Chesterton’s poems: The Wise Menand A Second Childhood.

Week 3: Trust

This week’s session on trust features a starry cast of women, including St Therese, St Teresa of Avila, Queen Esther and Julian of Norwich. We spoke about audacity and risk taking in faith, and how trust can trigger miracles. Fr John ended by encouraging us to pray the prayer of St Faustina: Jesus, I trust you.

Week 4: Courage

In this week we discover Etty Hillesum, who found God’s grace in a Nazi internment camp, biblical heroine Judith, who rallied a besieged town to trust in God, and Ruth, whose trust in God leads not only to a new life for her, but to being woven into the ancestry of the Messiah.

Fr John recommended Etty’s diaries, An Interrupted Life, and Chesterton’s book on St Francis.

We trailed an exciting new venture for Lent – an online week of accompanied prayer.  Find out more here: We also shared a workshop on leading prayer at meetings to open us to the Holy Spirit and transform our conversations: