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Friends of God
Dominican Ashram announces new mission, focus

Following an extended time of prayer and reflection, the Friends of God Dominican Ashram, with its core community members and its advisory council, announces a new focus in its mission to promote the contemplative dimension of our human experience. The hope is that this focus will support the sisters, friars, nuns, laity and associates of the Dominican family—and is open to all who seek to nurture a deeper contemplative consciousness.

“Holy Conversations about Engaged Contemplation” is one of the themes that has emerged and will be developed in the next phase of the Ashram’s focus, which will extend between now and the 2016 anniversary of the Dominican Order.

“Holy” — because while God is already present in a contemplative spirit, the Holy Preaching is in continual need of being blessed, nurtured and enhanced.

“Conversations” — will enable an ongoing dialogue involving more people than those able to come to an ashram, and will feature online courses, occasional papers, retreats and an annual conference.

“Engaged” — that both aspects of contemplare and aliis tradere are essential to the mission, i.e., that contemplation is engaged in preaching and responding to a broken-hearted world.

For the past 11 years, the Ashram has hosted up to 1,000 people from around the world. There have been occasions with special guests from various religious traditions participating in interfaith dialogue. The contemplative setting, rhythm of prayer and the environment of silence were unique creations of the core community of the Ashram; the sacred space has been generously provided by the Dominican Sisters of Taos, New Mexico (formerly Kenosha), and the Dominicans of Adrian, Michigan.

The first phase was located along Lake Michigan in Kenosha, Wisconsin, from 1999 to 2006. The second phase was on the motherhouse grounds of Adrian, Michigan, from 2006 to the present. The third, new phase will not include a residential component. The present Ashram community in Adrian will offer hospitality for regular guests only until Easter of 2011.

While there is much sadness in having to make this decision, it came about after much prayer, research and discussion. The desire to promote contemplative consciousness is truly of God, and will be continued in other forms.

For more information, contact Jim Barnett, OP, or Corrine McCann at ashram@dominicans.org or 517-266-4285.

It is hoped that the first seeds of this new focus will be sown at the “Being Dominican in the 21st Century” gathering this summer, July 8-11, 2011, at Weber Center in Adrian, Michigan. The challenges of the contemplative/active lifestyle will be presented by Dominicans Timothy Radcliffe, Ann Willits, Don Goergen, Brian Pierce, Pat Walter and Margaret Ormond, along with liturgical preachers Arlene Flaherty and Megan McElroy.