Solitary Refinement

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#366: “Solitary Refinement”
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28: Welcome Home!
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Philippians 4:6-7

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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“Eugene’s Enlightening”
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Solitary Refinement

“Solitary Refinement” is episode #366 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Dave Arnold and Paul McCusker, and originally aired on November 16, 1996.


Eugene considers joining a monastery to get over the pain of losing Katrina.


After his last incident with Katrina, Eugene realizes he is spiritually immature. He decides to do something about it. So Eugene considers joining a monastery! Bernard and Jason can’t believe it. Eugene, a monk? But Eugene is serious. He even visits the Oak Hills Monastery and Retreat Center outside of Mapleton to see if God is calling him to a monastic life.

At the monastery, Eugene realizes that he hasn’t completely worked out his problems with Katrina, and he even talks to her in a dream. In the dream, Katrina assures Eugene that he is making positive strides in his spiritual maturity. Eugene is comforted by that. When one of the brothers at the monastery hears that Eugene works at Whit's End, he introduces Eugene to Jack Allen, and Eugene learns that Jack is a frequent visitor to Oak Hills.

Meanwhile, Whit has been rushing around so much lately, he hasn’t had time to consider whether he will accept the Universal Press Board’s offer to go on the world missions tour. Jason persuades Bernard to show Whit the Oak Hills brochure left by Eugene. Listening to Bernard's encouragement to get away, Whit, decides to spend some time at the monastery to contemplate his decision.

Humorously, after the Katrina dream, Eugene assumes that Whit is also a dream, and they have a frank discussion and pray together for the first time.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Eugene want to join a monastery?
  2. Katrina spoke to Eugene in a dream. Do you think people can really communicate that way?
    • If not, then who do you think was actually speaking in the dream?
    • Explain your answers.
  3. Why are solitude and silence important?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Bernard Walton Dave Madden
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Jack Allen Alan Young
Brother James Michael Sutton
Jason Whittaker Townsend Coleman
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Katrina Shanks Pamela Hayden

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Tom Riley John Whittaker
Emma Douglas John Whittaker
Regis Blackgaard Jack Allen


VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The album version of this episode adds Bernard's daydream scene, which is not heard in the broadcast version.

  • Certain ideas presented in this episode (such as the myth that solitude brings peace) are very similar to situations in Paul McCusker's Radio Theatre productions of Father Gilbert.
  • This episode was originally titled "Eugene’s Enlightening"
  • Bernard's comment in this episode about Eugene often claiming to have a sense of clarity before doing "something ridiculous" may be a reference to Eugene's decision to take a journey across the country in #274: “First-Hand Experience”. (See Eugene and Bernard's Road Trip saga.)


Eugene Meltsner: I am not muddled! Things have never been more clear... uh, clearer.

Friar Whit: Brother Eugene has faithfully completed his six month vow of silence.
Monks: It was a miracle.
Friar Whit: It is now time for our brother to break his vow of silence and share what he has learned with the rest of us. Yes, I see that hand of Brother Bernard the Cleansed?
Brother Bernard the Cleansed: Yes, Friar Whit, the brothers took a vote and we all think Brother Eugene should continue his vow of silence for another six months. It's been the quietest six months we've ever had.
Monks: Aaaaaahhmen.
Friar Whit: Well, as much as I may agree, this order is not a democracy and votes don't count...he has earned the right to speak.
Monks: Aaaw.

Brother Bernard the Cleansed: Brother Whit, would you agree with another three months of silence?
Monks: Yeah?
Friar Whit: No, Brother.
Monks: Aaw...
Brother Bernard the Cleansed: How about a long day, and full foam earplugs for all?
Friar Whit: No.

Friar Whit: Brother Eugene, come forward. After six months of glorious, uh, of muteness...we bid you share your new wisdom with us.
Brother Eugene: Thank you, Friar Mr. Whittaker. Fellow brethren of the monastic way, my journey through silence has been met by various and sundry provocations from the opposer, and not without dire distress and ventricular hemorrhaging of spirit. However, deep within the recesses of my being, I received the capacity to endure. Thus, I desire to share with you all now what this experience has achieved for me, and in achieving for me, I believe will also further advance the understanding of like-minded people everywhere.
Brother Bernard the Cleansed: That would be no one.

Bernard Walton: Ok, Eugene. I've finished the windows in the little theater, so tell the kids to keep their greasy little fingers out of there for a while.

Bernard Walton: What are these brochures? Are you planning another vacation already?
Eugene Meltsner: Oh, no. Not at all. I'm perusing sites of isolation where I might explore disciplines for the inner spiritual life.
Bernard Walton: As soon as I asked, I knew it was a mistake. You want to break that sentence down and translate it for me?

Bernard Walton: Has he stopped running since he got back?
Jason Whittaker: No. And I sure wish he would. I don't like the way he's been pushing himself. I gotta persuade him to take some time off.

Jack Allen: Considering how much effort we put into blocking God out with all our noise, it's no surprise that we have to work that much harder to be with him in silence.

Eugene Meltsner: Is someone there? I'm Eugene Meltsner. I come in peace. It's alright to talk if you want.

John Whittaker: I look tired?
Bernard Walton: Those bags under your eyes aren't for your wallet and keys, Whit.