Seminar weekend in Osek, 23 – 24 May 2020

Update (2020-03-23): The seminar has been cancelled in connection with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Meeting God behind the Forms

In May 2020 I turn 50. The age around 50 is a carrier peak for many people: the point when you are experienced but not yet visibly falling apart. For me, it has been the start of something new: I founded “Sciencemonastery” after 24 years as employee. The decision was made after a period of searching. How could I better contribute to conservation and wise use of water and nature than by writing papers and reports? I had the feeling that we would need other places and formats for exchanging knowledge and making wise decisions than those I have met during my career as consultant, hydrologist and research scientist. Spaces that would allow people to talk to each other not just in their professional role, but with their entire being, in the presence of God. How could that look like?

During the seminar on Saturday 23rd May, I would like to have a dialogue with our speakers and with you about the spiritual needs in our changing society and the role of our own spiritual traditions – in my case Christianity. We all can contribute with our life experiences. How and where did we meet God – or the Universal Power, as some people prefer to call it – behind the forms? What role does nature play in our lives? Do we need «Sciencemonasteries»?

Our venue – Osek Monastery – has a long and changeful history, as you can read here. Most parts of the monastery are officially closed for the moment due to the ongoing reconstruction of the church. I am very grateful to the Administrator of Osek Monastery, Dr. Jindrich Koska, for his support of the seminar. It gives you the unique opportunity to spend time inside the buildings and to access the garden.

Talks during the seminar on Saturday 23rd May:

Osek and its monastery in past and present
Jindrich Koska, Osek Monastery

The youth center and the revival of pilegrim activities in Marianske Radcice
Philipp Irmer, Marianske Radcice

Spiritual values in post-mining landscapes
Markéta Hendrychová , Czech University of Life Science, Prague

Modern people seeking retreats – experiences from Norway
Kjetil Aano, Utstein pilegrimsgård, Norway

Do we need science-monasteries?
Peggy Zinke, Sciencemonastery AS, Norway

About the speakers

Jindrich Koska is the Administrator of Osek Monastery on behalf of the Order of Cistercians. I had the possibility to interview him about his background and motivation in May 2019, when I visited the monastery during a pilgrim tour (see video below).

Philipp Irmer is catholic priest in Mariánské Radčice, a village about 10 km away from Osek where he and his colleagues are running a pilgrim and youth centre in one of the oldest pilgrimage centres in Bohemia. Their work was recently presented in an ARTE documentation, which you can access here (in German).

Markéta Hendrychová works as scientist in the field of restoration ecology and post-mining landscape rehabilitation at the Czech University of Life Science in Prague.

Kjetil Aano is a theologian, he has extensive experience from working abroad as well as leading positions in faith-based organisations in Norway. He is chair of the board for Utstein Pilegrimsgård, and worked as priest and regional dean in The Church of Norway until he retired about two years ago. Aano is former General Secretary of the Norwegian Mission Society/NMS. He worked in Madagascar for about a decade, as an evangelist and teacher at a theological seminar. He has taught practical theology for theological students at VID specialized University for a period of about 15 years. He has been active in ecumenical organizations nationally and internationally, and with activities related to pilgrimages, retreats and spirituality.

Charlotte Rørth, born 1962 in Copenhagen, holds a degree in journalism and has 25 years’ experience as a business and cultural journalist, editor and commentator as well as heading and hosting cultural events. She is currently on the staff of NORDJYSKE Medier and lives in Aalborg with her dog, Coco, and her husband in his grandparent’s house on top of the hill above the city and fjord. Their sons are now grown-up. She grew up in Copenhagen in leftwing scientific and literary circles, has always read an incredible list of books and prefers to travel, where she can communicate in depth as well as drink vino fino. Her book “Jeg mødte Jesus” (“I met Jesus”) was on the bestsellerlist for well over a year. Read more here: What does a non-believing journalist ask Jesus when he appears right in front of him?


Preliminary (2020-03-17). Subject to changes.
The duration of the prayers will be around 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

9:00-10:00 Registration
10:00-12:30Talks / presentations
12:30 -13:30Lunch break
13:30Midday prayer
14:00-15:00Guided tour through the monastery
creative activities and group work
18:00-18:15Evening prayer
19:00 Dinner
22:00Night prayer

Sunday, 24 May 2020

7:30Morning prayer
9:00 - 10:00Walking tour through the monastery garden;
with stops and reflections
10:30 - 12:30Speech - Charlotte Rørth (Denmark):
«I have met Jesus»
12:45Midday Prayer
13:00 -18:00Coffee, cake and free creative activities
for young and old people –
with Peggys birthday guests and
other people who want to join **
18:00Evening prayer
18:00 - 22:00Open end **

** These activities are my “birthday party” and take place in the public access yard of the monastery beside the brewery pub. More information is given in the Birthday Facebook Group. No access to the monastery and no registration on this webpage is required.

Seminar fee and donations to the monastery

The fee for the seminar including lunch and dinner on Saturday is 100 EUR for participants from Germany or Western Europe/Norway and 1900 CZK (or 75 EUR) for participants from Czech Republic/Eastern Europe. Students pay 50 %. The participation in the seminar on Saturday gives you also access to the garden tour and talk on Sunday morning if you have registered for that as well.

It is possible to register for the garden tour and the talk with Charlotte Rørth on Sunday morning only, for example if you arrive on Sunday morning. In this case we would like to ask you to give an adequate donation to the monastery, either in cash or using one of the following bank accounts:

Directly to Osek Monastery, in Czech Republic:
Osek Monastery
IBAN: CZ81 0800 0000 0010 6127 5379 
Zweck: Donation 24 May

To “Freundeskreis Kloster Osek” in Germany:
Freundeskreis Kloster Osek
IBAN: DE45305500000083127167
Purpose: Donation 24 May (or in German: Spende 24. Mai)

The same accounts can be used if you want to support the ongoing reconstruction of the monastery independently of the event.

Accommodation in the monastery (simple rooms for 1-2 people with bathroom) costs 30 EUR per night and person including breakfast. The number of rooms is limited. You pay directly to Osek Monastery when you check in, if your booking is confirmed.


The seminar and Charlotte Rørth’s speech on Sunday will be held in English. We will arrange translations if this is needed for many participants. Please, indicate your language skills in the registration scheme below. The private Birthday-Facebook-Group is in German.


With respect to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we will follow the health guidance from the health authorities and come with updates for the situation in May. The seminar takes does NOT take place if the current travel and event restrictions are still in place.

Update (2020-03-23): The seminar has been cancelled in connection with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  Please, don’t register!

In order to help with the planning in the current situation of uncertainty, I would like to ask you to indicate your interest for the seminar weekend by registering no later than 31 March 2020. Details regarding the payment of the seminar fee will be given later, as soon as we know that the event takes place.

Please register, if you want to participate in the seminar and/or would like to join us for the guided tour through the garden and the talk with Charlotte Rørth on Sunday morning.

Some sites in the monastery area (in particular in the garden) are in a bad constructional condition. By registering for the seminar, you agree that you are aware of that and participate at your own risk. Participants must be 18+.

Seminar fee for registration before/after 23 March: 80/100 EUR for participants from Germany/Western Europe, 1500/1900 CZK (60/75 EUR) for participants from Czech Republic/Eastern Europe. Seminarbeitrag bei Anmeldung vor/nach dem 23. März: 80/100 EUR für Teilnehmer aus Deutschland/Westeuropa, 1500/1900 CZK (60/75 EUR) für Teilnehmer aus Tschechien/Osteuropa.
30 EUR per night and person / 30 EUR per Nacht und Person