Important update on Institute programming

Dear Portsmouth Institute members, friends, and supporters:

Despite our most optimistic hopes, it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to alter American life in the weeks and months ahead. We continue to pray for your health and wellbeing. We also know that we have a personal responsibility to protect you, our faculty and staff, our monks, and the communities in which we all live. To that end, we have made the decision to cancel this year’s in-person summer conference, “Incline the Ear of Thy Heart: Rediscovering the Virtues and Practices of the Christian Life,” scheduled for June 19-21. Instead, we will explore our conference theme in digital format over the weeks and months ahead. Our aim is to offer in new and creative ways the Portsmouth Institute’s signature Benedictine experience of Catholic thought, contemplation, and hospitality that you have come to expect. 

I know this raises many questions. We have tried to answer a couple here:

Will there be opportunities to continue growing in the Catholic intellectual and contemplative life? 

While we will not be gathering in person this year, we will be releasing digital content that will help us grow in the very virtues and practices we planned to explore together at Portsmouth Abbey this June.

Through Portsmouth Abbey and Saint Louis Abbey, we continue to offer live-streamed and recorded liturgies, including the Mass and the Divine Office. In the coming days, we will be offering a virtual spiritual retreat led by summer conference speaker Fr. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. who will share Benedictine wisdom for living in quarantine (sign up for the virtual retreat here). Stay tuned over email and on our website for more ways to stay connected.

How can I continue to support the Portsmouth Institute? 

While we may not be hosting the summer conference in-person, we will continue offering the Portsmouth Institute’s unique Benedictine approach to the Catholic intellectual and contemplative life through digital channels. Now, more than ever, your support is crucial to helping us advance our mission. Become a member of the Portsmouth Institute, make a monthly donation online, or call me at 401.643.1255 to give, join, or inquire into how you can support our work.

I’ve had many conversations with friends and supporters over the past several weeks. Throughout these conversations, it’s become apparent just how fortuitous, timely, and important our conference theme is this year. Growing in ‘friendship with God’ by living out the virtues and practices of the Christian life has become an immediate reality, especially with many of us having entered into a sort of semi-monastic life, as Bishop Barron recently recognized

I will continue to share opportunities for you to support and stay connected to the Institute. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any thoughts and ideas for how the Portsmouth Institute can serve you in these times. You can reach me at

In Christ and St. Benedict,

Christopher Fisher
Executive Director