I just returned from a two-day retreat with the Order of Julian of Norwich in Waukesha, Wisconsin. It was a wonderful and restful time. The brothers and sisters did everything they could to make sure my retreat worked out.
The order is a purely contemplative order, which is unusual in the Episcopal Church. Prayer is literally their work. On Wednesday, which was a Rogation Day and the eve of the Ascension, we were literally in worship for close to six hours. They are a "Double order" with both monks and nuns. Monks wear habits and sacpulars, the nuns add veils and wimples. They keep a rule of silence, which is only broken for necessary conversation. They even eat in silence. This rule is exempted for holy days and their vigils, so I was there for three "Talking Meals" around the Ascension. They are wonderful, down-to-earth people.
The teachings of the fourteenth-century mystic Julian of Norwich are the basis for the order, which leads to an interesting "feel" to the order. Julian's teachings include the absence of wrath in God, the goodness of creation, the equality of the sexes, the fact that God encompasses both male and female aspects. Due to these teachings, there is a wonderful feeling of openness in the order, but they are very serious about their vows and rule.
The liturgy is superb simplified Anglo-Catholic ritual. They use completely contemporary language including use of the contemporary Lord's Prayer, but set to plainsong chant using traditional Gregorian notation.
Father Gregory, the Prior of the Order, is about my age - the only Gen X prior in the Episcopal Church. One of my purposes of going was to find a spiritual director, and I think I've found him. I am pursuing associate membership.
All in all, I had a wonderful, prayerful time - just what I needed. I think affiliation with OJN will be good for my spiritual life.