About Us

We are an organization formed to support growth towards a deepening spiritual awareness and appreciation of life. Each of us has a unique path and we benefit from teachers and companions along the Way. We offer multi-day contemplative retreats and zen sesshins throughout the year, and have weekly meditation opportunities. In addition to this website, we electronically publish a newsletter three times a year and we maintain a list serve to keep members informed of Seven Thunders developments.

For information about Seven Thunders retreats and sittings, and for comments regarding this website, contact [email protected]

Note that contacts are also given in retreat offering descriptions.


In the summer of 1977, Robert Aitken Roshi conducted mindfulness workshops at “Bangor Summer”—several weeks of community education and civil disobedience centered at the Trident Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington. There he met members of the Seattle Catholic Worker who, together with monks from Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey, invited him to lead annual Zen Sesshin “for Christians and other interested travelers.” After his visit, small groups in Washington and Oregon began regular sitting. Attendees in these early years included Pat Hawk, Leonard Marcel, and Bob Walker. In 1982, on Aitken’s advice, the group invited Fr. Willigis Jaeger, Roshi, to lead its annual retreat. Fr. Jaeger returned each year until 1988, when Pat Hawk Roshi, a student of both Aitken and Jaeger, began leading the retreats, which were sponsored by the Trappists until 1992.

Meanwhile, Abbot Bernard McVeigh and the monks of Guadalupe Abbey were encouraging individuals to deepen their spiritual practice through silent prayer and meditation. Monthly gatherings of laypersons began at the Abbey in 1985. In 1992, we joined in celebrating the opening of Bethany House and assumed the sponsorship of the Abbey’s retreats and first Saturday sittings.

During 1990-1992 the first Saturday sittings at the Abbey were supplemented by third Saturday sittings at Leonard Marcel’s house near Portland. A group of regular attendees gradually coalesced and Seven Thunders was incorporated in May 1992.

We remain grateful to the Catholic Workers, the Monks of the Trappist Abbey of Guadalupe, Abbot Bernard McVeigh, Robert Aitken, Roshi, and Fr. Willigis Jaeger, Roshi for starting us on the Way.