Being Benedictine in the 21st Century Conference

It is the nature of Benedictine life to listen intently and respond faithfully to the needs of every era, qualities that have enabled the charism to remain relevant for more than 1,500 years. How we respond, then, to the new questions and pressing needs of the 21st century will determine the ongoing relevance of this way of life for today’s seekers.

Societal thinking and attitudes are changing like sand shifting under our feet. We face calls for reform in our church as well as changes within our country’s economic structure, justice system and political discourse. Old ways are being challenged. Likewise, something new is being born. Even as church attendance declines and vocations dwindle, a yearning for lasting gospel values, moral leadership and deeper spiritual insight grows.

Our long history as Benedictines, our time-tested wisdom tradition, and our ability to adapt make us uniquely capable of addressing the longing for spiritual connection, community, and ways of living with integrity in an increasingly complex world. Our values of listening, community and consensus building, hospitality, humility, prayer and good work provide an antidote for these troubled times.

“Being Benedictine in the 21st Century: Spiritual Seekers in Conversation,” planned for June 26-28, 2020 in Atchison, KS, marks a first-ever gathering of professed Benedictines, Oblates, and seekers (including Millennials and Nones) who have experienced a conversion of heart through contact with Benedictine spirituality. Joan ChittisterWe will hear from speakers including Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, one of our visionary spiritual voices, Oblate authors Kathleen Norris and Judith Valente, and Benedictine scholar and author Judith Sutera, OSB. This input will lead into facilitated conversation directed by Mark Clarke, a senior consultant with Community Works, Inc., who will guide us as we look at how our Benedictine tradition is emerging in new ways.

This conference will not dwell so much on exploring what is but rather it will focus on, What are the important questions we haven’t yet asked? Through listening and dialogue informed by Benedictine values, the teachings of Vatican II, and inclusive theologies—inclusive of women, the environment, the oppressed, the refugee—our goal is to come away from this conference with a new roadmap for spreading the light of Benedictine spirituality well into the 21st century.

Conference co-chairs: Linda Romey, OSB — linda@monasteriesoftheheart.org
Judith Valente, Oblate — jvalente17@msn.com
Meet Judy and Linda
Meet Judith Sutera, OSB and Faye Miller, Oblate, Conference Planning Team

Support for Being Benedictine in the 21st Century

Lynn McKenzie, OSBAs I travel the country speaking to many different groups... READ MORE — Judith Valente, Oblate, Being Benedictine co-chair, retreat guide and author

Lynn McKenzie, OSBIn recent years I have had opportunities through... READ MORE — Lynn Marie McKenzie, OSB, President, Federation of St. Scholastica; Moderator, CIB

Hugh Feiss, OSBThere are obviously momentous changes occurring in religious life ...READ MORE — Hugh Feiss, OSB, writer and monk, Monastery of the Ascension, Jerome, ID

Mary Lou Kownacki, OSBIf Saint Benedict were born in our times, ...READ MORE — Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, coordinator, Monasteries of the Heart 

Katie GordonIn the midst of the collapse of empire in the 6th century, ...READ MORE — Katie Gordon, M.T.S., Nuns & Nones national organizer

Jerome KodellThe vision of Benedict has often come to our aid when our world... READ MORE —Jerome Kodell, OSB, Author and Abbot Emeritus Subiaco Abbey, Subiaco, AR

Jodi Blazek Gehr, OblateWe live in challenging times, but there is comfort in knowing ...READ MORE — Jodi Blazek Gehr, Oblate, SoulFully You blogger

Martin ShannonWhen I think of the future of Benedictine life, I look at my children... READ MORE—Martin Shannon, Community of Jesus, past president, American Benedictine Academy

Mary Margaret Funk, OSBConversation seldom does justice to the past, ... READ MORE — Mary Margaret Funk, OSB, writer; advocate for interreligious dialogue; former prioress

Michael Casey, OCSOThere are two ways of approaching the future.... READ MORE — Michael Casey, OCSO, Cistercian monk of Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia; author and lecturer on monastic spirituality.

Kerry O'Reilly, OSBBenedictine women religious, seekers and pray-ers, ...READ MORE — Kerry O'Reilly, OSB, President, Federation of St. Benedict 

Antoinette Purcell, OSBSince 1947 the American Benedictine Academy has cultivated, ...READ MORE — Antoinette Purcell, OSB, President, American Benedictine Academy 

See all endorsements.