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The Path of the Mystic

Here for the Sake of Love

An In-Person Contemplative Retreat
Fran Grace
in collaboration with
Nancy S. Wiens, M.Div., Ph.D. 

Thursday, May 29, 2025 – Sunday, June 1, 2025

Strive to become the true human being:
one who knows love, one who knows pain.
Be full, be humble, be utterly silent,
be the bowl of wine passed from hand to hand.
~ Al-Ansâri, Sufi mystic

This 4-day retreat at the St. Columba’s Retreat House is in the quiet, coastal town of Inverness, California, north of San Francisco.  Fran Grace will offer a space for inner listening to the mystics of diverse traditions.  What is the path of the mystic—that innermost longing of the heart for the One—and how do we live it in this world?  Those who have read her book, The Power of Love, will recognize this phase of the journey as “Part 4: Surrendering to Love.”

Fran will share directly from her own experience of “sitting at the feet of” several mystics.  She says,

“In the first part of the journey, we look for and find a path or a teacher that is true for us and, over many years, we are slowly purified and transformed into a ‘true human being.’  We come to accept that we are not perfect and that the purification is on-going, yet we are drawn more and more to the door of devotional love.  Will we walk through that door?  Having become the fullness of our self, will we ‘lose’ our self?  To be ‘here for the sake of Love’ and not for our own sake?  What would it look like – for each one of us it is unique—to surrender our life to the One who gave it? To ‘be the bowl of wine passed from hand to hand’? The mystics encourage and guide us.”

Time will be given to short talks, contemplative practices drawn from the mystics, walks in nature, self-reflection, and discussion on the themes presented.  The retreat will conclude on Sunday morning with a worship service dialogue on “Mystics and the Power of Love” between Fran Grace and Nancy Wiens, a participant in the contemplative community of St. Columba’s and spiritual director.


Fran Grace served as a religious studies professor for 30 years after receiving her doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary, where her studies focused on the mystics.  Academic life, however, did not fulfill her inner quest.  In 2003, a crisis broke her open and she encountered her teacher, Dr. David R. Hawkins, a mystic who taught the “inner pathway” that respects the essence of all spiritual traditions.  She moved to live near him and spent many years working closely with him.  The impact was life-changing.  In 2008, he directed her to “teach about the mystics” and to create a 501c3 nonprofit, The Institute for Contemplative Life dba Inner Pathway.  She has sought to fulfill his directive in as many ways as possible.  Here’s one of her published articles about her teacher and other mystics. Her sharing blends decades of formal study with her own experience of sitting at the feet of verified mystics from diverse traditions as chronicled in her book, The Power of Love: A Transformed Heart Changes the World, a Silver Award winner in the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards for “Best Inspirational Books in 2019.”

Nancy S. Wiens, M.Div., Ph.D. delights in helping others discover what it means to come alive. She is inspired by working with those committed to the growth of themselves, their families, their organizations, and the planet’s regenerativity. She thrives on supporting others’ sense of belonging and empowerment:  to know themselves as Beloved, as part of Nature and interconnected with all life, and as uniquely able to contribute to the well-being of the world.

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