The Cenacle Retreat Center, Chicago, September 2010

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:

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:

Maylan Dunn-Kenney
Danial Grego
Patricia Inman
John Ikerd
Kristin Jones
Christine Kelly
Karen Lehman
John McKnight
Robert Raccuglia
Robert Shiel
Bridget Sperduto
John Surrette, SJ
Margaret Swedish
Richard Westheimer





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