Finding wisdom and joy in times of uncertainty

Stefan at Simone Weil grave

The situation we’re living in the world today has strong similarities to the one lived by three mystics who wrote in times of crisis – Etty Hillesum, Edith Stein and Simone Weil. Stefan Reynolds looks at how their wisdom can be relevant to what we’re going through today, time of lockdowns, lack of travel. This will be part of the upcoming online retreat A Spirituality for Living through a Time of Crisis, running from 22nd to 25th June.

by Stefan Reynolds


“Lockdown, lack of travel, health fears, loss of old forms and replacement by new forms of communication, living life locally but with a global awareness.

Introducing our three guides for the retreat; Edith, Etty and Simone. Similarities and differences between their time and ours. Etty Hillesum: “Everywhere things are both very good and very bad at the same time.

Etty Hillesum writes, Edith Stein writes,

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.”


“The only Essential is that one finds, first of all a quiet corner in which one can communicate with God as though there were nothing else, and that must be done daily.” 

“There is a state of resting in God, an absolute break from all mental activity, when one forms no plans, makes no decisions and for the first time really ceases to act, when one simply hands over the future to God’s will.” Edith Stein’s Essay on ’Ways to Interior Silence.’Simone Weil writes, “Everything changes as soon as, by virtue of a positive act of concentration, we empty our soul so as to allow the conceptions of eternal Wisdom to enter into it.” Important themes are rest, inwardness, connection with God, daily practice, concentration, creating space, receptivity.

A Spirituality for Living through a Time of Crisis

This retreat will learn from three mystics, saints and writers who lived during the Second World War. They were contemporaries, all Jewish and came to similar practice of meditation and mindfulness as a response to a time of crisis. We will look at their lives and the advice they give for challenging situations. All of them – in more dramatic ways than today – found that their opportunities were increasingly limited, and yet found meaning in the constraints they had to live under. It is a retreat for those looking for a wisdom and joy that can sustain us through times of change and uncertainty. Led by Dr. Stefan Reynolds.

  • Related Posts
Scroll to Top