Living Beyond the Ecological Crisis: The Cenacle Retreat Center Chicago, September 2010
In September 2010 fourteen ‘friends’ gathered together at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center in Chicago to spend two days sharing conversation about the nature of the ecological crises now facing our world and the search for a path through and ultimately beyond the crises. Inspired by various mentors, teachers, and thinkers, we sought a common language to describe our predicament and then to begin to articulate the content and substance of what we call ‘convivial life.’
The fourteen friends came together at the specific invitation of the NCP founding group. Friendship was the ‘tool’ (everyone there was invited by someone else there and everyone knew someone though no one knew everyone). It was a remarkable sharing – not always easy, sometimes even a bit contentious, but also brave, honest, open, and immensely rich. We had prepared a very light-handed guide for the conversation to help keep us focused and everyone engaged.
During one long afternoon, we broke open the concept of conviviality, asking how we might describe its content and principles. Here is the list that emerged from this reflection:
- Calling the Eight Corners, Keeping the Convivial Questions Alive by Kristin D. Jones
- How to Live in this World by Maylan Dunn-Kenney
- Memory from Childhood by Maylan Dunn-Kenney
- A Modern Fable by Daniel Grego
- A Neighborly Place in the City by Robert Raccuglia
- Opening the Neighborhood Treasure Chest by John McKnight
- Sustainability Manifesto: What Can One Person Do? by Kristin D. Jones
- Transformation by Christine Kelly
It is not a finished reflection, but rather an evolving one, focus for future gatherings and essays.
At the conclusion of the weekend, we invited any participant who wished to write an essay based on the experience as a way to share the wisdom of our time together. This first collection is the result. We invite your comments and reflection. As we have already noted, this is a conversation, and it has only just begun.
We would like to thank the very special participants who gathered for this first important Cenacle gathering:
John Surrette, SJ