The Composury
of Doug and
Norvene Vest

Doug and Norvene often work together as husband and wife, having co-led numerous workshops and twelve pilgrimage groups to Europe, as well as working out many thoughts collaboratively.

Both are authors and spiritual directors, interested particularly in lifelong growth in the spirt. They are lay affilitates or oblates of Benedictine monasteries and are deeply committed to Benedictine values.

The Vests embrace inclusivity, bridge building, and peace-making in their teaching and learning.

Doug pondering at Subiaco, ItalyDoug pondering at Subiaco, ItalyDouglas is a poet, priest, and research physicist.

His passion is the Mystery of God, and he finds the poetic genre a way to express Mystery in an “approachable” and earthy way. He describes himself as a generalist, curious about life in all its myriad forms, expressed in the range of graduate degrees he holds in Formative Spirituality, Divinity, Physics, and Engineering. As priest, Doug has served as pastoral minister in two program sized parishes (9 years); administrative priest for one corporation sized parish (6 years); and diocesan chaplain to clergy and seminarians (8  yrs). Since 1982 he has focused on spiritual formation as spiritual director, retreat leader, consultant to congregations; and author/poet. See our books/media page for his books.

Norvene’s primary focus is on deepening our relationship with God, drawing both on ancient Christian practices and adapting them in light of contemporary demands.

Norvene meditating at Troy, TurkeyNorvene meditating at Troy, TurkeyDr. Vest is particularly interested in a progressive Christian third way between conservative orthodoxy and secular disbelief. She bases this interest not only in discernment, but also in her range of scholarship, in mythology/depth psychology, theology and political theory. She is an Episcopal laywoman and a respected teacher and guide.

Norvene is intentionally reflective in this liminal or threshold time, about herself and the world, as she explores ways to live creatively with chaos and uncertainty, grounded in spiritual practice and community. She is a feminist theologian, emphasizing embodied, relational theology and images of the divine feminine. Dr. Vest is author of six books on Benedictine spirituality for the common life, as well as editor/contributor to two books on contemporary issues in spiritual direction. Her theology is spelled out in Re-visioning Theology, drawing on imagination, feminist values, and the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur. Her most recent book, in collaboration with the Rev. Liz Forney, is on lifelong spiritual growth, called What is Your Practice.  (See our books and media page).

Mingled Pleasure

Hot and humid night!
not our choice for sleeping,
so there we were, up early – 
no Saturday sleep-in – 
sitting on a bench outside with coffee;
and the two of us just happened to be facing east.

The sunrise was spectacular!
making early rising most worthwhile.
Talking about it later, 
we couldn’t decide which to rate tops:
enjoyment of the sunrise,
or experiencing the two of us
watching the spectacle together.