Nancy Sylvester is founder and director of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue. She served in leadership of her own religious community, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, as well as in the presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Prior to that, she was national coordinator of Network, the national Catholic social justice lobby. You may be interested in the current Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue program, "Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference." For information, go to

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Gifts for this COVID Christmas — the conscious circle of humanity

Contemplate This - We are being asked to imagine ourselves joining hands and becoming a circle around our planet and through space and time. Conscious of who we are at our best, we take part in a mutual exchange of wisdom and protection.

A patchwork quilt — sewn together on faith

Contemplate this - Reflecting on 2020, I found myself flooded with thoughts and images. A patchwork quilt emerged as a way to reflect on this time. Here are some of the patches that make up my quilt.

Walking a tightrope to repair our democracy

Contemplate This: With the breakdown of trust in our democratic processes, it is not clear to me whether there will be enough confidence and willingness to risk that a pluralistic democracy can bring us together.

This moment needs transformational leaders

Contemplate This - Our future does not need leaders who contribute to increasing breakdown by pretending we can go back. Our future needs transformational leadership that calls forth a renewed sense of altruism.