We are a dynamic collaboration of spiritual guides, researchers, and scholars of anthropology of religion and spirituality acquainted with the transformative effects of practical mysticism. We invite students and all those aspiring to flourish through direct experience of contemplative interiority to become engaged.

Interior Awareness

Interior awareness of direct experience is indispensable to transform our consciousness.

We see practical mysticism as the experience of union with Ultimate Reality.
The dynamic rhythm of being is the core of human life and experience.
This inner movement of the heart is assisted by the mind affecting our
consciousness and leads to a deep desire for sensitive, loving, compassionate
relationship to the already present Divine. A mature spirituality awakens our
capacities for compassionate relationships to reshape our lives and renew our world.

Spiritual insights including a sense of unity, being, openness, presence, seeing,
listening, self-knowledge, simplicity, spontaneity, peace, and joy form an ever evolving
transformation of consciousness and spiritual intelligence. Many of us experience this sense
of unity occasionally. When we are most enlivened, we sense our being at one with what is
basic and vital for our existence. Psychological research indicates that the intimate affinity
with Ultimate Reality is virtually a universal experience. Some people recognize an inspiration
to convert their personal bliss into the practical details of daily living.

Our History

Pat and Tim St. Onge are a couple who, since their marriage
in 1999 have chosen to open their home to others as a place of prayer
and hospitality. Both Tim and Pat have a long history of the study and
practice of contemplative prayer and mindfulness primarily rooted in Christian
and Zen Buddhist teachings and beliefs.

Tim and Pat lead retreats and conferences both separately and together.
They teach mindfulness and meditation practice to individuals and groups.
They work with individuals and couples in psychotherapy (www.centerforgrowth.net)
and are equipped as pastoral counselors and spiritual mentors.


Patricia Plouffe St. Onge
M.A, M.A., M.S.W.

Patricia Plouffe St. Onge


  • Founder: Center for Growth
  • Cofounder: Transfiguration Zendo
  • Dharma heir to Rev. Kevin Hunt, Sensei
  • Private psychotherapeutic practice and spiritual mentor


Formerly a Catholic sister, she has experience as an educator from
preschool through college and adult education. She has used her
training in scripture and liturgy as well as mindfulness studies to
offer workshops and retreats. She has been a licensed Clinical Social
Worker in private practice since 1979. Over forty years Christian and
Zen meditation practice. A long time participant of the Grail, an
international ecumenical women’s movement.

Timothy S. St. Onge
Psy.D., Ph.D.

Timothy St. Onge


  • Founding President: United Contemplative Institute
  • Cofounder, head monk: Transfiguration Zendo
  • Academic field: Contemplative Studies, Meaning-centered Psychology
  • Private counseling & spiritual mentor
  • Member: American Academy of Religion; International Thomas Merton Society; American
    Teilhard Association; Oxford Alumni Club; Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy.
    International Network on Personal Meaning; Charter for Compassion International.


Teaches college religious studies and independent courses in spirituality.
Leads Zen meditation, western contemplative prayer, mindfulness retreats,
and workshops in religious and secular settings. Consults, designs, leads
staff development programs. Several years experience instructing secondary
and adult human relations curricula, religious studies, and spirituality.
Administers outreach programs serving urban poor, in-crisis populations
including the incarcerated, cancer patients and their families.
Over thirty years contemplative experience and Zen practice. He is father of two and grandfather of six.

Kevin Hunt, Sensei

Kevin Hunt


Kevin Hunt, O.C.S.O., is a monastic at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. He trained in Zen Buddhism under Joshu Sasaki Roshi in the early 1970s and has been involved in dialogue with Buddhism since that time. Fr. Hunt was a Board Member for Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue (MID) for several years, and visited India in 1994 to engage in dialogue with Tibetan Buddhist monastics. On April 17, 2004, Kevin Hunt, Sensei, was initiated and installed as a dharma successor in the White Plum lineage by Robert Kennedy, S.J., Roshi. He is the only Cistercian (Trappist monk) in the western hemisphere with this distinction.  Fr. Hunt also lived for some time at the monastery’s Argentina foundation.  On September 17, 2015, Father Kevin celebrated his 62nd year as a Cistercian monk. He is currently Chaplain at the Trappistine Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts and teaches at nearby Day Star Zendo.

For the occasion of Fr. Hunt’s installation, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., wrote:

“Because of the long preparation and training required to become a master
of the demanding Zen training, Fr. Hunt’s achievement is one that we can all celebrate
in thanksgiving to God … Christians have found Zen to be a valuable instrument for
progressing in the spiritual life. … By coming to focus on the present moment through the
practice of the techniques of Zen meditation, the Christian can become aware of God’s
immediate loving presence.”

Since 2004, Fr. Kevin, Sensei has been our teacher at
Transfiguration Zendo every month on Saturdays for all day Zen retreats
(Zazenkai: a day of strict practice of collective mind) offering individual
support (Daisan or Dokusan: private interview or talk) and a talk to the group
(Teisho: presentation or talk by the leader).

Robley E. Whitson
A.Th.D., Ph.D.

Robley Whitson


  • Priest of the Archdiocese of New York
  • President Emeritus of the Graduate Theological Foundation
  • Academic field: Anthropology of Religion

Among his books

  • Mysticism and Ecumenism
  • The Coming Convergence of World Religions
  • The Center Scriptures
  • The Shakers—Two Centuries of Spirituality and Theology