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Contemplative Dialogue at Community Retreat

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

This year the Benedictine Sisters' annual retreat departed from the usual format of one or several presenters addressing the community in the chapel. After weeks and months of isolation for all and illness for some as well as uncertainty for everyone worldwide, it was decided that the sisters needed to meet and share their experience of living through this time.

Sr. Pat Coughlin facilitated the retreat and the community engaged in Contemplative Dialogue, a structured method of conversation. Each member received a set of questions to be used for personal reflection and later sharing as well as suggestions for working with the questions in writing. The questions were to lead the sisters to meditate on their feelings, on what they noticed about others, realizations about themselves, on spiritual and scriptural sources that were resources for them, and how God might be leading the community into the future during these last weeks and months.

Social distancing made gathering in groups impossible, so the conversations took place in the monastery dining room with pairs of sisters separated by the tables where they were seated. In the course of six sessions each sister shared her experiences with six different partners.

The sisters expressed appreciation for the opportunity to contemplate the meaning of their recent experiences and to have deep conversations with one other person at a time.

Written by Sister Pat Coughlin, OSB.

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