The Podcast

Now on iTunes: Encountering Silence, a podcast. 

Find out more by joining the mailing list and catching the show notes at Support the team on Patreon.

With hosts, Carl McColman, Cassidy Hall, and Kevin Johnson.

The team’s first meeting in NY, NY, December 2017

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Carl McColman is a contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader, catechist and spiritual companion. His books include Befriending SilenceAnswering the Contemplative Call, and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Carl is a life-professed Lay Cistercian (a layperson under formal spiritual guidance of Cistercian monks) affiliated with the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. He also received formation in the practice of Christian spirituality and contemplative leadership through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.

Carl and his wife, Fran, are the co-directors of the RCIA process at their parish in Decatur, GA. He regularly leads retreats and speaks on the contemplative life at monasteries, retreat centers, cathedrals, parishes and seminaries. His ministry is ecumenical in scope, and he has also participated in a number of interfaith initiatives.

To learn more about Carl and his writing, visit his website,


Cassidy Hall is an author, filmmaker, podcaster, student, and trained counselor. She works as a Teaching Assistant at Christian Theological Seminary where she is studying for her MDiv and MTS degrees. She also serves as Student Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ where she has begun the ordination process. Since 2017, Cassidy has served as the secretary of the International Thomas Merton Society.

Cassidy’s writing has been published in the Convivium JournalThe Thomas Merton SeasonalThe Thomas Merton Annual (Vol.  32), and has been featured on The Huffington PostPatheos, and the National Catholic Reporter. She has also worked on the editorial staff of the Wilbur Award-Winning Blog, Sick Pilgrim.

In 2012, while working as a counselor and reading Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation, Cassidy made a pilgrimage to all seventeen Trappist/Cistercian Monasteries of the United States. While there, she wrote, interviewed monks and nuns, and photographed her entire experience within these seventeen spaces. Her personal quest for silence was written about in this Des Moines Register feature article by Mike Kilen.

Born and raised in Iowa, Cassidy moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to work on the production team of the documentary feature film In Pursuit of SilenceThe film’s success on the festival circuit and beyond led to its worldwide theatrical release. Her directorial debut short-film, Day of a Strangerpaints an intimate portrait of Thomas Merton’s hermitage years and is anticipated for release in the summer of 2020). 

Her podcast, Encountering Silence, with co-hosts Carl McColman and Kevin Johnson features interviews with contemplatives, modern-day mystics, and explores the ambiguity of silence in our modern-day lives. Some guests have included Parker Palmer, Richard RohrDr. Barbara HolmesJim ForestJim FinleyMirabai Starr, and many more. Encountering Silence can be subscribed to on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Kevin M. Johnson is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and retreat director who often finds himself crossing boundaries into liminal spaces.  A university professor, he jokingly refers to himself as “a recovering academic” who teaches online and in various settings outside the university.  Trained in religious and philosophical thinking and research, he often engages in teaching and lecturing in corporate and professional environments.  His writing appears at the online blogs Daily Theology and Patheos as well as on his own web site at his web site called The End of Words at

The focus of his work is the recovery of Silence as a way of deeply engaging the world, fostering holistic wellness, and cultivating wisdom.  He is available for presentations and talks as well as to run retreats.

Kevin is an adjunct professor at Sacred heart University in CT who also runs a Roman Catholic nonprofit organization called The Inner Room that focuses on silent prayer and Catholic Social Teaching.  In November 2016, Kevin was elected as Vice-President of North America for the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs Pax Romana, an international network of lay Catholics.  In April of 2017 he became a member of the Advisory board to One Square Inch of Silence, a sanctuary for Silence at Olympic National Park in Washington State.  He lives on the CT shoreline with his wife and three kids.


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