Formation Plan for First Year

(subject to adaptation by the Intentional Community that forms in Fall 2024)

Formation will be centered on three elements:

  1. Forging relationships—forming community
    • Sharing our Stories: Spiritual Autobiographies. As the group forms, each person will be asked to share their spiritual autobiography guided by a resource that will inform the format, length and content of each person’s sharing.
    • Daily prayer and study, weekly Zoom gathering, monthly in-person rhythms, twice annual directed retreats will inform the group’s common life.
    • Sharing a meal once monthly, including planning, preparation, and clean-up as service to the community.
    • Prayer partnerships. Each month, each person will be paired with another as prayer partners. While everyone is praying for the community all along, these tandem partnerships afford the deepening of relationship that comes when we share our hearts of prayer with and for one another. The partnerships will change each month.
  1. Contemplative Practices
    • Rule of Life. The group will work together to develop its commitments to spiritual practices and mutuality that deepen into a change in heart. (Read more below.)
    • Wisdom Practice Days. Three Saturdays during the year will be set aside to engage in specific practices identified by the group. With on-site or virtual guides inviting a deeper dive, these could encompass of range of offerings including: Centering Prayer, Examen, Praying the Hours, Wisdom Chant, Yoga, Meditation, etc.
  1. Continuing Education
    • The group will select a book with on-line study guide/companion series. Examples of on-line and print resources include Abbey of the Arts, Center for Action and Contemplation podcasts, and the Center for Spiritual Imagination, Teilhardian incarnational cosmology, and James Finley’s Mystical Sobriety
    • The Spiritual Approach to the Enneagram: A Map to Inner Wisdom (workshop Jan. 10-11, 2025)
    • Participate in selected Wisdom School workshops, some of which will include breakout or separate time with the speaker. The working curriculum includes;
      • Padraig O’Tuama (April 3, 2025)
      • Debie Thomas, Lament and Hope (Nov. 9, 2024)
      • Hillary Raining, Forest Therapy (date TBD)
      • Others TBD

Additional Resources for Considerations

Benedictine Spiritual Tradition resonates: Stability—Obedience (Deep Listening)—Conversion of Life

Joan Chittister’s books might serve as resource for the group:

  • Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: The Rule of Benedict for Today
  • A Spirituality for the 21st Century: The Rule of Benedict

Sewanee’s School of Theology’s Rule of Life (individual and communal in focus)

Living Intentionally [pdf],  by Br. David Vryhof, SSJE (a helpful workbook)

Center for Spiritual Imagination's Rule of Life [pdf]

Rule of Life Conceptual Design for First Year

(subject to adaptation by the Intentional Community that forms in Fall 2024)

General themes:

  1. We see our task as not developing a Rule that the eventual community would engage, but rather that we provide some general parameters for the group to then work with as it develops its Rule.
  2. A balanced approach:
    • What is sacred as it guides us?
    • What is reasonable given demands of life?
  3. Guided by Teachings and Person of Jesus
  4. Rhythms of potential Rule
    • Solitude/contemplative practice
    • Daily prayer with mutual commitment
    • Weekly virtual gatherings
    • Monthly/regular in-person gatherings, day retreats, workshops, practice days
    • Eucharist together on regular basis
    • Learning/Study
    • Communal gatherings (beyond learning) that forge supportive companioning (NB, John O'Donohue's Anam Cara)
    • Service/Action
    • Quiet Days
    • Self-care (life balance)
    • Engagement of Scripture (lectio divina, etc.)