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The Monks and Mary Patterson

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Miriam Knight interviews Mary Paterson. When Paterson’s mother died, she turned to yoga and meditation for solace. Years later, when her father died, she chose a forty-day retreat at Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery in France to help herself heal. Her experiences led her to write 'The Monks and Me: How 40 Days in Thich Nhat Hanh’s French Monastery Guided Me Home,' published in 2012 in 12 countries. In her book she gives us an honest and insightful account of her stay, taking the reader on her inner journey, sharing her thoughts as she strived to live as mindfully as the nuns she was living with.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Mary is the Founder and Director of Toronto’s Lotus Yoga Centre and is certified to teach yoga and meditation internationally in the Kundalini and Hatha traditions. She has traveled extensively throughout India and Europe studying with renowned masters of various spiritual disciplines with a strong focus on Vipassana and Zen Buddhist meditation in the traditions of Thich Nhat Hanh and Roshi Joan Halifax.


Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts from Queens University and teaches writing at the School of Continuing Studies at The University of Toronto. Trained in classical ballet, Mary also performed professionally in theatre and film, producing works of poetry and dance with such luminaries as the singer, Jane Siberry and the internationally celebrated author, Michael Ondaatje.

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