With a price increase set for next week, this would be the ideal moment to register for Contemplative Outreach Chicago’s Eighth Annual One-Day Fall Workshop, coming up on Saturday November 2.
This October issue also provides additional information about the Winter Retreat coming up in February. For our 2020 retreat, in association with theInstitute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, we are offering a unique and very timely retreat experience: Enter the Chaos.
Chicago chapter coordinator Alan Krema shares his reflections on attending the recent International Conference of Contemplative Outreach, updating us on recent developments affecting the larger organization of which our chapter is a part.
For those who have registered, we offer a reminder that the seven-part Living Flame Program starts this Saturday, and we also call your attention to a number of contemplative events sponsored by others that are coming up soon in our area. Finally, we share Insights from Martin Laird, Barbara Holmes, Mirabai Starr, and Thomas Merton.
Please don’t hesitate to give us your input about any aspect of Spirit Journal by emailing the editor, using the address provided at the end of the newsletter. We love hearing from readers!
The Price Will Increase Next Wednesday: Please Register Now for the Annual One-Day Fall Workshop, November 2 in Lisle
There’s still time to take advantage of Advance Registration for our Eighth Annual One-Day Fall Workshop and beat the price increase that goes into effect next week on October 16.
The Fall Workshop has become a wonderful tradition. Our largest annual gathering provides a special opportunity for Chicago-area contemplatives to meet face-to-face and explore some fascinating spiritual topics. So, please join us on Saturday November 2nd at Benedictine University in Lisle.
Enter the Chaos – the 2020 Winter Retreat – February 20-23
Each February, Contemplative Outreach Chicago offers a mid-winter retreat at the Portiuncula Center – a chance to get away for a few days of quiet reflection and contemplation. For 2020, in association with theInstitute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue, we are offering something a bit different and very timely: Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference.
At this retreat we will learn to engage persons with different worldviews including, family, friends, and colleagues, in hopes of healing the negative effects of the polarization we all experience today. The retreat is designed to deepen one’s interior life through contemplative processes and, from this contemplative perspective, to integrate the skills learned.
Activities and topics will include:
Communal contemplative practice
Contextualization of our work sourced from a contemplative heart
Understanding the evolutionary development of consciousness
Learning the specifics of the integral theory of spiral dynamics
Learning the skillful means to engage in transformative change
Applying what we learn to real situations which are
characterized by tension among different stages of
consciousness and seemingly opposing value systems
The Portiuncula Center for Prayer offers an ideal setting for the Winter Retreat. Nestled in a lovely wooded 55-acre campus of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Center provides a peaceful environment for renewing body, mind, and soul.
Reflections on the Recent International Conference of Contemplative Outreach
by Alan Krema
I attended the International Conference of Contemplative Outreach, which took place in Denver September 19 – 23. There are so many excellent blog descriptions with pictures and videos – you can see them and read for yourself at this link: https://coconference2019.wordpress.com/.
This was a very exciting meeting for the Contemplative Outreach organization. The theme was: “Evolution, Transformation, Service: Expanding Our Vision / Deepening Our Practice.”
This is a transformative time with a new governing board, and new facilitating staff. Many of the volunteers on the variety of services for the organization have been there over the years, but there is a whole new way of working together on the national / global level and collaborating on the local chapter level and in relationship to the national level.
On the basis of Thomas Keating’s recommendation, the CO organization has adopted the principles espoused by Frederic LaLoux in his book, “Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness.”
Using this approach, organizations can become very transparent, collaborative, facilitating, and supportive. Many people over the last two years in the national CO organization have commented how our Chicago chapter is moving toward operating along these lines of evolutionary transformation. I must say that we were very fortunate three years ago when I became coordinator and moved for the entire leadership team to attend together a Servant Leadership training retreat, which has been traditionally offered by CO. Just at that time, the facilitator of our Servant Leader training – Susan Komis – was beginning to use the book by LaLoux, as recommended by Fr. Thomas. So, we have been aligned with this model for the past three years.
As time goes on, some of our volunteers retire and others join. It is now our pleasure to host this workshop again for our leadership team. However, you are all invited to attend if you feel like taking part in our organization. at a higher consciousness level.
This Servant Leader retreat will be held on May 28 – 31, 2020 at the Portiuncula Center in Frankfort, Illinois, so please mark your calendars if you have an interest in attending. We will release further information about this soon.
Thomas Keating memorial
This was the first conference after the death of Thomas Keating and much prayer was given to his memory and legacy. There was a litany of CO saints and servants who have passed away since the last conference of 2017. A special prayer and remembrance goes to Sr. Benita Jarsda, OSB who many of you, like me, remember for her energetic presence and service to our chapter over the years.
I would also like to note that after we rescheduled our fall conference last year due to the passing and funeral of Fr. Thomas, many of you donated the cost of your registration to the fall workshop even though you were not able to attend the rescheduled day. Gathering these donations, we donated to St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, over $2000 in memoriam to Fr. Thomas Keating. It was a very generous and special gesture on the part of those who contributed.
The Living Flame Program, Now Fully Booked, Starts This Saturday, October 12
For all who signed up to take part in the Living Flame Program, this is a reminder that the program begins this Saturday, October 12, at Mary Seat of Wisdom Church in Park Ridge. The capacity limit was reached several weeks ago so, regrettably, registration had to be closed. We look forward to gathering for this first of seven workshops, which will focus on Deepening Our Centering Prayer Practice.
Healing Gardens Autumn Programs Include an Enneagram Workshop, a Meditation Hour, and Silent Saturday
The Healing Gardens at Stonehill Farm in St. Charles are lovely in October. You are invited to enjoy two acres of perennial gardens in a quiet wooded setting, including the following contemplative activities this month:
Level 2 Enneagram Workshop, Saturday October 12, 8:45am-3:30pm
Meditation Hour with Bhante Bhaddiya, Sunday October 13
Merton Society Meeting on Sunday October 20: “The Possibilities and Challenges of Aging”
The International Thomas Merton Society is sponsoring a discussion on “The Possibilities and Challenges of Aging” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, in the Rectory Assembly of Immaculate Conception Parish, 7211 W. Talcott, Chicago. Barbara Carlo will lead the discussion.
“We are all living longer lives. Aging well means we need to grow spiritually to meet the challenges,” says Barbara. She will share her insights on positive aging and the hard challenges we face as we age from her 25 years of working with the elderly. Barbara’s background in Pastoral Studies and dementia care has helped her focus on how aging and end-of-life issues can be lived with courage, faith and hope.
Barbara is a retiree of Catholic Charities of Chicago. She worked as a director of Senior Service for 25 years, specializing in Adult Day Services and Dementia Care Mapping. She has been a member of the Chicago Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society for 30 years. , and we are very grateful for her willingness to share her insights with us.
Feel free to bring a friend! No charge, free will donations accepted.
Communion of Saints Art Exhibit in November at Saint James Commons
“Communion of Saints,” an art exhibit featuring the water-based work of Marcia Whitney-Schenck, will be held from Nov. 3-30th at St. James Commons, 65 E. Huron St., Chicago. The artist offers a fresh interpretation of a familiar subject, using such techniques as collage, watercolor, acrylic fluid on water, abstract, and symbolism.
Whitney-Schenck, based in Chicago, is the former editor and publisher of the journal Christianity and the Arts and has been a long-time supporter of the Chicago Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society. For five years, she performed one-woman dramatizations of saints utilizing images, sound, and movement.
The exhibit, sponsored by St. James Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, commemorates All Saints Day, November 1st. A public reception will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 in St. James Commons. Admission is free and the exhibit can be viewed from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment. Because the gallery is occasionally used for other events, please call 312-787-7360 to confirm availability. The artist is available for a gallery tour. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ongoing Centering Prayer “11th Step” Program – Chicago
In AA 12-step programs, the 11th step is making a personal effort to get in touch with a Higher Power, however one understands it. Increasingly, people in 12-Step programs are deepening their relationships with their Higher Power using the method of Centering Prayer.
Here in the Chicago area, an ongoing Centering Prayer-based 11th step group meets on Fridays at 6:45pm in conference room “C” on the 7th floor of the Community First Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison Street, Chicago. For further information on this program, please contact Philip Lo Dolce — email@example.com.)
The body is a great reservoir of wisdom. Something as simple as bodily stillness and breathing make a contribution of untold value to discovering the unfathomable silence deep within us.
– Martin Laird
Contemplative practices beckon earthbound bodies toward an expanded receptivity to holiness. . . . Receptivity is not a cognitive exercise but rather the involvement of intellect and senses in a spiritual reunion and oneness with God. . . . The contemplative moment is a spiritual event that kisses the cognitive but will not be enslaved to its rigidities.
– Barbara Holmes
The heaven to which Jesus points is the spaciousness within ourselves—one that makes room for those who threaten us, for those who are different, even for those who have betrayed us.
– Mirabai Starr
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
– Thomas Merton
As always, you are invited to write in to comment on or add to any of the items in Spirit Journal. Let us know if you are aware of an upcoming event you think others should know about, or send us an inspirational quote you’d like to share, or information about a book, website, podcast, or video you recommend. You can contribute by emailing the newsletter editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.