Unknowing for Spiritual Companions – From Anonymous to Brother Lawrence, and Beyond – with Carmen Acevedo Butcher

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This 4-part series will provide a powerful overview of the relevance of mysticism for spiritual directors and companions,
from the anonymous author of the Cloud of Unknowing, to Brother Lawrence speaking about “ordinary mysticism”, and much more.






From Anonymous

to Brother Lawrence,

and Beyond


Carmen Acevedo Butcher


April 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2023
9AM – 11AM PST 
Noon- 2:00PM EST 


8 hours (total)


Webinar will be recorded.

“The universes which are amenable to the intellect can never satisfy the instincts of the heart.”

― Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing

Join us for a deep dive into the writings and teachings of two great Mystics, facilitated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher – an internationally acclaimed teacher, poet, and translator of their works.

We will engage with these texts for the meaning beyond the words. We will sink in experientially, through practices like singing and contemplating, so we can experience the deep love that underlies their writings.

We will wrap their teachings around us as warm blankets, and find deep calm and equanimity. These writers lived with plagues, wars, and trials similar to what we are experiencing today. They are highly relatable spiritual companions, as they have walked these paths as we do. How did these spiritual writers grapple with the crises of their times? We will nourish our souls with a deep sense of hope.



The Cloud of Unknowing (Middle English: The Cloude of Unknowyng) is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The text is a primer on contemplative prayer in the late Middle Ages. The text points to knowing God irrespective of particular attributes by being bold enough to surrender into “unknowing”, which is the only way to truly know God.

Brother Lawrence

Born Nicolas Herman, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, OCD (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691) served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. Christians honor him for the intimacy with which he connects to God, as recorded in his classic work, compiled after his death, The Practice of the Presence of God.

“I have abandoned all particular forms of devotion, all prayer techniques. My only prayer practice is attention. I carry on a habitual, silent, and secret conversation with God that fills me with overwhelming joy.”

― Brother Lawrence



The webinar series will run 4 consecutive Wednesdays: April 5, 12, 19, 26  9 AM Seattle/Los Angeles, 11 AM Chicago, Noon PM New York, 5 PM London; Thursdays: April 6, 13, 20, 27, 2023: 1 AM Hong Kong, 4 AM Sydney, Australia.

Find your own local time here.

But if that timing doesn’t work, you can enjoy the webinar any time you like.

Each session is recorded so you can watch at your convenience.


Carmen Acevedo Butcher

Carmen Acevedo Butcher is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author, educator, and poet. An award-winning translator, she has made accessible works of Early Modern French, German, Latin, Middle English, and Old English, by writers including the seventeenth-century friar Brother Lawrence, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, the Cloud’s Anonymous, Julian of Norwich, and tenth-century Benedictine monk Ælfric of Eynsham.

Carmen’s translation of Cloud of Unknowing (Shambhala Pocket Library, 2018) won an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association in 2010. Her tenth book, Practice of the Presence, is a revolutionary translation of the wisdom of Brother Lawrence, out now from Broadleaf Books.

The practice of the presence is a form of micro-prayer done on the fly. A mini-conversation with God. A brief “lifting up of the heart.” Done anywhere, anytime, the practice is perfect for anyone. We can’t fail at it. It’s shorter than a tweet. It takes less time than sending a text. Brother Lawrence says: “In the middle of your tasks you can comfort yourself with Love as often as you can.” The presence is for all people everywhere: “Everyone is capable of these familiar conversations with God.” - Carmen Acevedo Butcher

Practice of the Presence

by Carmen Acevedo Butcher

out now in hardcover

*book is not required for course participation

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