Starting today, Spirituality and Practice is offering two new e-courses. The first is on the legacy of Thomas Merton in the 100th-year anniversary of his birth; the second is on photography as a spiritual tool. Merton himself was not only a social activist, poet, and writer but also a photographer, and Jan Phillips, who will guide the second retreat, believes taking pictures can be just as much a spiritual practice as prayer and meditation.

Both courses will run from today through July 17, although you can sign up after today as well. They cost $49.

As with most Spirituality and Practice courses (I have taken several and they were well worth it), you will receive e-mails on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. You can read them at your own pace. You also have access to a 24/7 online practice circle where you can chat with others taking the retreat with you and comment on the readings or exercises of the day.

Kathleen Deignan will guide the first retreat. She is president-emerita of the International Thomas Merton Society. Phillips is a long-time photographer.

To get more information on these and other courses, visit the website