Sunday, June 7, 2009

Collegium on Faith and Intellectual Life: Day Three

This was the first day we were in full gear. We were busy from morning to night. It was good.

I got up early and spent some time alone. I then went to pray with the monks, I love Morning Prayers. I think of when our fraternity prays the Hours. We are too fast! There should be more space between the two sides so we can really hear each other. However, we are not monks.

Afterwards we had our planning meeting and working breakfast. We then went immediately into our Small Groups. One of the mentors has to leave and so we all got an additional member to our group. It simply was not a problem. I suspect that was due to Tom Landy’s assessment of who would fit best into which Small Group.

Our first two hours were introductions. This included introductions to the running’s of Small Groups, the campus and Collegium. However, it also was introduction of each member. I have a rich, varied group. My folks are from different parts of the country and the world. They have varied religious experiences. One is an administrator, there are folks in finance, the sciences, philosophy, dance and the visual arts. We have a historian and a professor of Criminal Justice. One member is from Indonesia and another from Puerto Rico. This is a great group.

We meet in the Quadrangle. This is the oldest building on campus. You enter it from the Great Hall which was the original church on campus. All of the walls are made of old hand-made brick. The floor and ceilings are wood. The ceilings are high, the windows are tall. The courtyard has a fountain and a lot of ivy. The building is masculine, beautiful and a little stark. It reminds me of the architecture of Galena Illinois.

All of the Small Groups them met in the Centenary Room. Tom Landy gave a lecture on the disciplines of wonder and suspicion. He talks about the roles of wonder/awe and critique in our disciplines and lives. The talk was very well received. In fact it became the cornerstone of our Small Group discussion. This is a week of discernment for folks, to try to find ways to integrate various aspects of their lives and see if their discipline is their vocation. Tom’s lecture was a great way to begin that journey.

The Small Groups processed the talk. We also began the work of critiquing our readings. Today’s readings placed the Catholic Intellectual life in a historical context. Our group is not shy but they are respectful of one another.

Afterwards we all met in the lower church of the Saint John’s Abbey Church. We had our first formal training in spiritual traditions and techniques. That was followed by prayer and reflection and finally Common Worship.

During dinner collegiums members sat at tales that reflected their disciplines. This was just one more way of making connections and helping with integration.

Finally we all went to the Art Center Auditorium and watched Babette’s Feast. This is a great film that addresses sacramental living and various perspectives on our senses. The discussion afterwards was lively. Since sacramental living is one of the aspects of Catholicism that marks it as “Catholic” this was an important way to end the end and prepare of for tomorrow.

Finally, work was done and the mentors met for fellowship and laughs. It was a good day.

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