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Spirit Journal – October 2016


In this issue: We respectfully request that, if you haven’t done so already, you register right away to attend the fifth annual Fall One-Day Workshop – we are getting close to capacity, and may have to cut off registration before the event on Saturday.  Don’t be disappointed!  We also provide a link to our website for Workshop information and online registration, and to the Benedictine University website for directions and a campus map.

In addition, this issue includes information on three interesting events that are coming up in November, brief descriptions of three Contemplative Outreach – Chicago activities planned for this winter and spring, and Insights from Thomas Keating, Ethan Nichtern, Richard Rohr, and Silvia Boorstein .

Please give us your input and ideas for Spirit Journal: use the e-mail address at the end to send your contributions and feedback.

Please Register Now, or You May Miss Out on Our Fifth Annual Fall One-Day Workshop This Saturday October 15

Jean-Pol GRANDMONTThere are now fewer than 30 spaces left before we reach capacity and have to close off registration.  This annual event provides a rare opportunity for Chicago-area contemplatives to meet face-to-face, get to know one another, build community, and learn things that can help us move toward deeper spiritual awareness.  If you have not signed up yet, please do so now.  We believe you would really enjoy and benefit from attending, and we hope to see you on Saturday.

The Workshop takes place at Goodwin Hall, Benedictine University in Lisle, 8:30-4:00, this Saturday October 15.  Please check in between 8:00 and 8:30; lunch will be provided.  Click here if you still need to register, or click here for a campus map and directions.

Plan Now: Three Additional Events Coming Up in November

While we are focused on the Fall Workshop, we also want to let you know about three additional events of potential interest, coming next month:

Introductory Enneagram Workshop, November 5 at Healing Gardens in St. Charles

220px-Enneagram.svg Many people find that the Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal insight and collective transformation. Acting as a “mirror of the soul,” the Enneagram presents nine ways of experiencing ourselves, others and the Divine.  Each of the nine Enneagram “types” has a different pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.

For further information on the Enneagram Workshop or to register, contact Deb Marqui at 630-377-1846 or visit the Healing Gardens website.  Attendance at this workshop is limited to 12 participants, so please act quickly if you are interested in learning about the Enneagram.

Journeying Together: A Faithful Response to Addiction, November 12 at North Park University

This is an opportunity to explore how congregations and healthcare professionals can collaborate to respond faithfully to the challenge of addictions, from drugs to alcohol; food to sex.  Mark Laaser, M.Div., Ph.D, nationally recognized as a leading authority in the field of sexual addiction, will be the keynote speaker.

Continuing education credits are available for registered nurses, chaplains, social workers, professional counselors, psychologists, addiction counselors, marriage and family therapists, and nursing home administrators.  There is a discount for groups of three or more registering together.  Offered by North Park Theological Seminary and North Park University School of Nursing and Health Sciences in collaboration with the School of Professional Studies.  Click here for more information.

Centering Prayer Weekend Retreat, November 18-20 in Rock Island, Illinois

 A Contemplative Outreach silent retreat, with renewal of Centering Prayer and three hours of practice each day.  An established, ongoing daily Centering Prayer Practice is a prerequisite.  The retreat will take place at St. Mary Monastery/Benet House in Rock Island. Register online or contact Sr. Bobbi Bussan at or 309-283-2109.

Living Wisdom Program Begins in January 2017

Flower Bowl

Starting in early 2017, Contemplative Outreach Chicago will present a new series of full-day workshops, each dedicated to a theme of wisdom in the Christian contemplative tradition. The vision of this program is to deepen the contemplative wisdom in each participant. Based on the core practice of Centering Prayer, the program will increase awareness of and openness to the divine indwelling through additional practices which are founded in the Wisdom tradition.

The Living Wisdom program will include four full-day Saturday workshops, one per month, January-April.  If you would like to save the dates now, they are January 21, February 18, March 18, and April 8.  Look for more information and an opportunity to register at the Fall Workshop or in next month’s Spirit Journal.

Coming in February 2017: The Winter Weekend Retreat


Our annual Winter Weekend Retreat will once again be led by the Reverend Shawn Kafader, February 24-27, 2017 at the Portiuncula Center in Frankfurt Illinois.

The retreat theme is Personal Reflections on the Spiritual Journey, exploring the classic stages of the spiritual journey as reformed by Thomas Merton. Those present will be offered opportunities to reflect on the people, places and events that have served as personal invitations for spiritual transformation, fostering a grateful heart of thanks toward God.

Look for more information and opportunities to register, coming soon on our website and in future editions of Spirit Journal.

Coming in May 2017: The Cloud of Unknowing Retreat with Father William Menninger


Contemplative Outreach Chicago is very pleased to offer you an opportunity to learn directly from Father William Menninger, one of the originators of Centering Prayer.

Father Menninger will be basing his retreat on the 14th century spiritual classic The Cloud of Unknowing, which was one of the key sources for the development of the Centering Prayer method.

The retreat will take place May 5-7 at the Chicago Cenacle.  Watch for further information as plans are finalized.


The method of Centering Prayer is designed to bring us to the experience, over a few years depending on how much time we can give it, to enable God to awaken in us the divine indwelling that has always been there in the presence of every human being, from the beginning of human beings.

–  Thomas Keating

One of the greatest lessons that comes from meditation is that a relaxed curiosity about life and sleepwalking through it are two radically different choices.

–  Ethan Nichtern

Until the heart-space is open, the mind will remain impervious to change.

–  Richard Rohr

There are only two modes of the heart.  We can struggle, or we can surrender.  Surrender is a frightening word for some people, because it might be interpreted as passivity or timidity.  Surrender means wisely accommodating ourselves to what is beyond our control.

–  Silvia Boorstein

Your Turn

Please write in to comment on or add to any of the items in this month’s newsletter.  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 are invited to contribute by emailing the newsletter editor at

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