Community News – July 2018

July was wonderful, and busy. The highlight was our Mary Magdalene celebration. This year we began with the covenant group gathering for a day of sharing. In the evening, local friends joined them and us for a Eucharist and potluck. Then Annie and Dario spent the next five days here on our annual Companions’ retreat. We spent time reflecting on and revising our charism document, looked at books to read over the coming months, took a day of silence, and also spent time just being together. Dario renewed his commitment for another year. We are always called on to supply at local churches during the summer, so that’s going on. Shane spent two weeks at the Episcopal Church of John the Evangelist in Barrytown, NY. Elizabeth is covering churches in Beacon and Shane is in Hopewell Junction, NY for three weeks. Then we’re off for a big vacation – Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We’re very excited. The other main activity in West Park is reading and preparing for fall retreats, and making space for other forms of creativity. We’ve painted a room for crafts and spiritual direction, and made a lawn ornament out of an old plow. Thanks, Emilie, for planting bulbs around it! Shane dared the poison ivy to reclaim a flower bed with Jacob, our neighbor – and learned that the poison ivy wins. She’s on prednisone, recovering slowly. Dario is making his annual pilgrimage to the Newport Jazz Festival with his partner Paul. Annie is finishing her CPE residency in North Carolina and wondering what comes next. Please pray for discernment and ease for...

Community News – June 2018

With June we begin to turn toward summer rhythm. Shane led an AA/Al-Anon retreat in Connecticut, and then officiated at the wedding of two wonderful women. Now we are looking toward the annual Companions’ retreat in July, when our Covenant Companions and Covenant Group members join us to connect and reflect. We are also reading, preparing for the fall round of retreats. We do many retreats that are not advertised here, because they are offered to a specific group such as a parish. The fall is busy and full. The fun of the summer includes the time and spaciousness for the reading and thinking that lead to what happens in the group. AND we residential Companions have more time and space to just enjoy the beauty of the season and this place that we are blessed to live. Morning walks with the bunnies and deer–and Shadow the Cat. We witness glorious sunrises over the Hudson and are practicing a more measured pace in hopes that some of it will take root to inform our busier times. Pray that we may gain the wisdom we need around this! Dario is visiting family and friends in Italy. Shane is gone this last week for her annual 8-day retreat. Elizabeth and Shane went with Susan Mangam to celebrate Brother Don Bisson’s golden jubilee of profession as a Marist brother. We give thanks for him and his ministry! Blessings to you and on you and through you this month. Let us know if you’re going to be nearby – we’d love to see...

Community News – May 2018

May is full of flowers, rain, and retreats. Shane led a wonderful group on a Mary Magdalene retreat at Trinity Retreat Center in CT. The Center has recently reopened, and the community there is blossoming. We look forward to being there more in the future, both as retreat leaders and as guests. Thanks to you all for your hospitality, and to the participants for their open sharing. Next up was Making A Difference, which is becoming an annual event at Holy Cross. Shane and Elizabeth both worked to make this happen, and once again we reaped the benefits of being in the room with 26 other amazing people. Many of our local friends came to the workshop, so we have a gradually developing community of “graduates” with access to the tools offered by the workshop. Now we’re recovering, in different ways. Shane is preparing to lead a recovery retreat, and Elizabeth is heading out for her annual 8-day silent retreat in Massachusetts. But we are also making some time to paint the sweet little room off the basement (thanks, Cathy!) and go to a movie. If it ever stops raining, some gardening is in our future. We’ve been learning about the previous tenants as we watch daffodils, peonies, iris, and wildflowers take their turns showing off. Our Covenant Group is rolling along, becoming a real group. Our Covenant Companions text their shared prayers each day, and we two join in the thread. Other group members share with prayer partners in various ways. We are learning more about how to use online technology to foster deep connection. We’re making plans...

Community News – April 2018

Of course April began with Easter. We joined in at the sunrise Vigil at Christ the King in Stone Ridge NY. Our chapel has been full of flowers, and our fireplace-cum-tomb has been blooming as well. Outside, our daffodils are finally opening, the trees are unfurling, and the green blade riseth. Our new groups and Companions are thriving. We welcomed Janet Blair and Annie Hall as Covenant Companion Candidates, our first “reception” service done online. We will gather in person in July, but we are grateful for this means of connecting. The five of us (Dario, Elizabeth, Annie, Janet, and myself) gather each week for reading, reflection, and sharing, and we text one another prayers each day. It’s wonderful to have these gifted and loving people sharing their lives with us. The Covenant Group is a delight. They too are praying for one another and bringing their best to our meetings. Please pray for all of them: Elizabeth, Shane, Dario, Annie, Janet, Cathy, Chris, Diane, Ernesto, Joy, Lauren, and Meredith. Elizabeth went to Scottsdale AZ for a week with the Mastery Foundation. She led the production team for the Making A Difference workshop there, and she graduated from the School for Leadership. As always, when one of us is gone the one left at home feels the loss more – both Shadow and Shane rejoiced when she returned! Now all is preparation – for the retreats coming up, for the Making A Difference workshop to be held at Holy Cross in May, for – oh, you’ll have to wait for later newsletters! But in the midst of it, the...

Community News – February 2018

February was full and lovely. We had lots to keep us busy! We both spent Ash Wednesday in service: Elizabeth led a retreat for the students at Berkeley Divinity School, and Shane gave out ashes and prayers at the Ulster Community College Food Pantry. We each continue our regular ministry with those communities. Together we led a retreat at Holy Cross, sponsored by St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Teaneck, NJ. We reflected on the “armor of God,” and left with a “rule” of practices to strengthen our spiritual lives and a community of support and accountability. Thanks to St. Mark’s for sponsoring this, and inviting us to open it up to others! In the meantime, Shane flew to San Francisco over President’s Day weekend for the annual Board meeting of the Mastery Foundation. This was her first year on the Board, and she came home inspired and exhausted by the travel. She continues to volunteer with Mastery’s School for Leadership and the Making A Difference workshop, to be offered in Phoenix and West Park this spring. Otherwise we saw individuals for direction, worshipped and prayed together, and lived our lives. Spring is arriving, temperatures have come up, and walking is again delightful. The first snowdrops are out! The sun is up before Matins! Long underwear is in the drawer – at least for today. Be well, enjoy the...

Community News – January 2018

We began 2018 in 2017, with the annual Twelve-Step retreat at Holy Cross. We rejoiced to see old friends, and many new faces. We then spent three Sundays with the people of Christ Church, Marlboro NY and the Church of the Ascension in West Park. Their rector retired on December 31, and we were glad to preach and preside with them at this tender time. We each continue with our other work: seeing people for spiritual direction, preparing for spring retreats, volunteering with the Mastery Foundation. The food pantry is closed this month, but Shane will return next month. Our new Covenant Group is shaping up, with many wonderful people signing on. Three of our former group members are moving into deeper commitment as well, so we are full of organizing and preparing for their new beginnings. We now have a serious aspirant for residential life, and we ask for prayers for discernment and courage for her and for us. Stay tuned! We each managed some days of family time in January: Dario with his family in Italy, Elizabeth at the Jersey shore, and Shane at a wedding in Chicago and Milwaukee. We are grateful to be able to visit, and ready to get back to a normal schedule! But first, Shane and Elizabeth will take their annual house retreat January 26-31. We will be in silence, listening for God rather than phones or computers. Please pray for us, that we let God lead us and teach...

Community News – Christmas 2018

Community News Elizabeth and Shane have just returned from 16 days at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, where we preached and taught as their Advent Theologians in Residence. Our theme was “Exodus and Advent,” exploring the dynamics of going out (ex-odos) and coming to (ad-vent) in the history of Israel, in the life of Jesus and the Trinity, and in our human/divine lives. Thank you to all who made our time there rich and rewarding. We found ourselves experiencing “the wilderness” of being in a strange place, out of normal time and place, and we received the gifts of the wilderness – seeing things anew, seeing new things, depending on strangers, and the joy of returning home. Dario returns to Italy to spend Christmas with his parents. We are grateful for online technology that enables us to speak and worship wherever we are (we shared Vespers in the chapel in Cincinnati, and we shared Christmas greetings). Christmas here is simple, especially since we’ve been away. We took the opportunity to focus entirely on the Incarnation, rather than gifts or plans. Beautiful antiphons, a few flowers, candles and hymns and a few friends. All is calm, all is...

Community News – November 2017

We have now had several events at the new Companionary. On November 4 we hosted a “refresher day” for graduates of the Making A Difference workshop. Then the next day we held an open house for friends of all stripes. We’ve had several people stay for retreats this month, and we’re pleased to see the new space getting some use. Of course we are hoping that we will outgrow this space, as others feel called to the vowed life. Our two covenant groups ended this month, as we begin a new process for learning and sharing covenant life. Some people are continuing on, and others are stepping away, but all of them remain in our hearts. We have learned a lot from these past years, and we pray that that learning will benefit new and continuing Companions alike. Dario has produced a booklet to introduce people to the Companions, with a history and our charism and covenant as well as a description of the threads of Companionship and the process of finding your place in the weave. We hope to have that available for groups who’d like to know more, especially as we get ready to launch a new covenant group cycle in February. If you are interested in being part of that group, which will meet once a month on line for a year, email us anytime at...

Community News – October, 2017

We are in the busy season. We are blessed with retreat and workshop opportunities, and with those we companion in spiritual direction, covenant groups, or other venues. Since moving last month, we’ve hardly been in the house at the same time for more than a few days! That should slow down a bit in November. Shane went to Tennessee with her sister for a week. They saw natural beauty in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and in the welcome of many people. We hosted our first guest in the new house, a new friend from California. We hope to receive many more in the months and years to come. Dario has produced a booklet to introduce people to the Companions, with a history and our charism and covenant as well as a description of the threads of Companionship and the process of finding your place in the weave. We hope to have that available for groups who’d like to know more, especially as we get ready to launch a new covenant group cycle in February. If you are interested in being part of that group, which will meet once a month on line for a year, email us anytime at companionsma@gmail.com. We are working with our board on our fall appeal. Your generosity last year gave us the courage to take on this house and its expenses, and we trust that through you God will continue to make this ministry of prayer and hospitality...

Community News – September, 2017

We are in the new house, and it is wonderful. Many many friends helped us move in, and we are unpacked and (mostly) organized. Many others have sent donations to help us with the expenses involved. Thank you to all of you, and for all your prayers and good wishes. We can once again hear the monastery bells, although we worship here now. When one of us is away, it’s a blessing to be able to go next door for Eucharist. We continue to share Vespers with Dario via Zoom, and look forward to others joining us again. Our other big change involves the covenant groups. They’ve been running now for 3 1/2 years – amazing! As we see more clearly the challenges of dispersed intentional community, we continue to develop the groups. We will share more details in the coming months, but we can say now that beginning in February we will have a new cycle beginning. Each monthly call will include teaching and discussion about the covenant and charism, and a chance to share the challenges and blessings of living by the covenant. Each group will run for a year at a time, rather than the indefinite framework we currently have. The group will help people discern how they are called to be part of the Companions community, and to equip them to live that connection. Stay tuned for details, and contact us if you might like to join next year’s group. We enter into a busy fall. We will be offering several retreats, at several venues. We’re sorry we’re unable to offer a quiet day here...