a vocational way of life
Generative Communities: Born of the Spirit
7-8 January 2014
St Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison
Generative Communities: relinquishing – living – hoping
6-7 January 2015
Generative Communities: Roadmaps for critical junctures
5-6 January 2016
Generative Communities: Framing a monastery’s identity
10-11 January 2017
Generative Communities: Nurturing leadership
9-10 January 2018
by invitation only
Human maturation is graced when it is a gift of the Spirit. One’s personal collaboration with the divine initiative is built upon an accurate self-awareness which permits a free human response, and this in turn leads to a new personal identity at each stage of life. Thus, to the degree that we know who we are, we are able to give ourselves in free response to the Divine One and to other people.
Individuals adjust to new ways of living in response to succeeding challenges and thereby come to see their life narrative in terms of their developing personal identity. In a similar way, a community may create a narrative of the changing complexion of its members and their common way of living as they respond to different demands throughout the course of their shared history. A community’s accurate representation of itself will allow its members to respond both freely and collectively to the divine invitation of the moment.
Vocational way of living
People come to religious community with different capacities and for many reasons. There they may discover this wisdom, that, as spousal love comes to generativity and finds its completion in child rearing, so to the members of a religious community are generative to the extent they nurture one another in a vocational way of living in which a person’s every action is in love and freedom open to God, self and others.
Communities may mistakenly respond to their situation through structures of power or by appealing to an identity external to the community, rather than one generated from within the community’s shared life.
Alternatively, communities may strengthen affective bonds of collaboration and sharing, and thereby use the gifts of members which would otherwise be forgotten, overlooked or inadequately appreciated.
Through our analysis of liturgy, experience in religious life and human sciences, we want to support communities which would like to join in this conversation.
Liturgy. The process of becoming a Christian, according to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, calls the parish community to a generativity that renews the community even as it incorporates new members and their personal contributions to the life of the community.
Religious life. A community becomes generative when its members live, communicate and hand on their common way of life and shared values, to which enquirers and those in the process of joining may commit themselves and be respected for their own contribution.
Human sciences. Psychology, sociology and anthropology offer their scientific perspectives on personal development, social interaction and human cultures. These languages are indispensable, though inadequate, for deepening rather than solving the mystery at the heart of the human person (Octogesima adveniens 40).
Papers and other contributions will be considered for publication in the book
Born of the Spirit: Generative Communities.
St Benedict’s Abbey main line: 1-913-367-7853