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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Use the 'Welcoming Prayer' to let go and renew

Like nature, I need to find a way to survive the winter, to "let go" so as to renew and imagine life reawakening come spring. Like nature, it isn't a cop-out, but a way of nurturing one's own life.

Consider the snail

Describing a program I co-lead called Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference is a bit of a challenge. It brings people together to address the importance today of understanding the development of the various stages of consciousness through which people view the world. Recently I have found a more down to earth way to explain it.

An early morning contemplative ride

Contemplate This - He was not what I expected from an Uber driver. It was a contemplative sitting as I opened myself to listen to this young man, to hear the voice and experience of the future.

Seeds of change can still take root

Contemplate This - As the tiniest of seeds holds within itself the power to germinate — becoming a plant providing energy, beauty and food — so, too, do all the acts for social justice, peace, human rights and ecological justice.