Culture Shifts: Sustaining Monastic Life in Challenging Conditions

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Presentation for the Benedictine Sisters in Ferdinand, Indiana for the Ongoing Formation Program. Given in July 2014.

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  • Transition slide – sliding over facts so as not to have back-to-back charts
  • What is the common good?

    There are many theological definitions, but for a start, the common good is any good that is bigger than my personal good. The question always is: what will I give up for the common good?

    Re-emergence of the idea of "the common good" through mutual obedience and love. Ways of life that decrease inequality nationally and globally.

    How can we cultivate discernment, to be aware of plural identities, divisions and to build bridges across them?
    How can we share with others?
  • Culture Shifts: Sustaining Monastic Life in Challenging Conditions

    1. 1. Culture Shifts: Sustaining Monastic Life in Challenging Conditions Sister Edith Bogue, O.S.B. Monastery Immaculate Conception Ongoing Formation July 24, 2014
    2. 2. 2 Prayer by Michael Leunig PrayerfromACommonPrayerbyLeunig.ISBN0-85924-933-6 Image:TheWorldthatNobodyOwnsbyMichaelLeunigfromTheAge http://www.theageshop.com.au/the-world-that-nobody-owns-by-michael-leunig
    3. 3. 3 a little about me SisterEdithBogue,O.S.B.MemberofSt.ScholasticaMonasteryandAssociate ProfessorofSociologyattheCollegeofSt.ScholasticainDuluthMinnesota. Online:@edithosbhttp://edithosb.wordpress.com
    4. 4. 4 Plan for the Day • Culture – Culture, Stereotypes, Ethnocentrism – Current monastic cultures • Contemporary Cultures – Demographics of religious life, Catholicism – Challenges • Sustaining Monastic Life – What we have that the world needs – What we can do to carry it forward
    5. 5. 5 CULTURE • Cultures and Structures • Current monastic cultures
    6. 6. 6 What is culture? ThewholeworldinacrystalballphotobyNeilGallopat https://www.flickr.com/photos/28289142@N00/474392091/
    7. 7. 77 “Culture is the shared knowledge and schemas created by a set of people for perceiving, interpreting, expressing and responding to the social realities around them.” Culture Lederach,J.P.(1995).PreparingforPeace:ConflictTransformationAcrossCultures.Syracuse,NY:Syracuse UniversityPress(p.9) Image:DiegoRivera,FlowerVendorfromhttp://galeriadarte.wordpress.com/category/diego-rivera/
    8. 8. 8 TheCultureIceberg,fromhttp://blogs.brighthorizons.com/saw/tuition- assistance-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/
    9. 9. 9 “Shaped by social realities” We might see things one way from a monastery descended from Mother Benedicta Riepp’s lineage or the other sisters who came from Europe to teach or nurse in the late 1800s…
    10. 10. 10 “Shaped by social realities” PhotobyS.MaryAgnesPattersonofMountSt.Scholastica,Atchison,KS … but quite differently from a monastery founded by the Missionary Benedictines in rural Africa … Sisters Susana, Imane, and Presentasia are thrilled with the new dam that brings electricity to their monastery in Chipole, Tanzania
    11. 11. 11 “Shaped by social realities” PhotobySisterEdithBogueattheAbbeyofSt.Walburgain VirginiaDale,Colorado. … and still differently from the viewpoint of other monasteries in America founded from European abbeys in the 20th century. Sisters measuring rain water near the garden at the Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale, CO.
    12. 12. 12 We cannot see our own cultures without contrasts or input from outsiders
    13. 13. ‫ָה‬‫ל‬ֶ‫ס‬ Selah Pause…Think…Not e A woman thinking by ÁWá at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_woman_thinking.jpg
    14. 14. 14 Generalizations & Stereotypes PhotosbySisterEdithBogue,OSB
    15. 15. 15 Stereotypes and Ethnocentrism • Stereotypes – Mental shortcuts – We need them – Not always right • Ethnocentrism – Evaluation of the “other” way – Judgment – Rejection PhotobySisterEdithBogue,OSB 15
    16. 16. 16 What is ethnocentrism? • “Making false assumptions about others’ ways based on our own limited experience.” • False assumptions may be either positive or negative • EVERYONE IS ETHNOCENTRIC 16 Barger,,K.(2008)Ethnocentrism. http://www.iupui.edu/~anthkb/ethnocen.htm
    17. 17. 17 Cultures in the Monastery • Each generation’s vision is shaped by – Dominant culture of the era – Church & Catholic dynamics and issues in early years – Formation / tradition received – Lived experience in early years • Cultures are also related to social class, ethnicity, education, urban or rural family, different ministries and professions. ChapelWindow,SacredHeartMonastery,Yankton,SD. PhotobySisterEdithBogue,OSB 17
    18. 18. 1818 • Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum Cultures within a Charism
    19. 19. 19 WHAT STEREOTYPES CAN YOU REMEMBER HAVING RECEIVED? WHAT STEREOTYPES ARE YOU AWARE OF HOLDING? 19 ‫ָה‬‫ל‬ֶ‫ס‬ ThewholeworldinacrystalballphotobyNeilGallopat https://www.flickr.com/photos/28289142@N00/474392091/
    20. 20. 20 Culture surrounds us like a bubble… ImagefromLivinginabubble:Photographerwhoseestheworldthroughsoapy shotsathttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2311000/Photographer-Richard- Heeks-captures-incredible-images-world-reflected-bubble.html
    21. 21. 21 The bubble of the familiar • Religious women • Benedictines • Our monastery • Our group
    22. 22. Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 The Beginning: 1867: 4 sisters
    23. 23. 1870: 5 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    24. 24. 1880: 36 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    25. 25. 1890: 74 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    26. 26. 1900: 96 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    27. 27. 1910: 134 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    28. 28. 1920: 177 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    29. 29. 1930: 249 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    30. 30. 1940: 326 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    31. 31. 1950: 371 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    32. 32. 1960: 476 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    33. 33. 1970: 437 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    34. 34. 1980: 303 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    35. 35. 1990: 264 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    36. 36. 2000: 226 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    37. 37. 2010: 168 sisters Teens 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    38. 38. 2014: 156 sisters Teen 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
    39. 39. 39 This pattern is common in US CenterforAppliedResearchontheApostolateFrequentlyRequestedStatistics http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 1965 1975 1985 1995 2000 2005 2012 Thousands US Religious Men (Priests + Brothers) US Religious sisters 70% decrease 52% decrease
    40. 40. 40 MichaelLeunig,postedinAustralianCartoonistMuseumat http://theaustraliancartoonmuseum.com.au/projects/speech-and-thought-balloons/bubbles-007/
    41. 41. 41 CHALLENGES TO OUR MONASTIC FUTURE Demographics Consumerism and the Economy Faith and Family 41
    42. 42. 4242 • Data and analysis are plentiful and sophisticated • BUT change can be sudden and extreme When to believe predictions
    43. 43. 4343 Children per woman (2013) Singapore 0.79 Japan 1.20 South Korea 1.24 Russia 1.30 Poland 1.32 China (Mainland) 1.55 European Union 1.58 Canada 1.59 Thailand 1.66 Australia 1.77 Brazil 1.81 Iran 1.86 United States 2.06 Mexico 2.25 Bangladesh 2.50 India 2.55 Becoming a Child-Free SocietyLast(2013)WhattoExpectWhenNoOne’sExpecting. Film:DemographicWinter 43 Replacement fertility: 2.1 children per woman
    44. 44. 44 Young & Old in America Fromthefilm"DemographicWinter" 4 4
    45. 45. 45 1 in 3 Young Adults is a “None” Percent by Age Group AggregatedfromPewResearchCenterSurveysJanuary–July2012 https://twitter.com/pewforum/status/337618956355518467/photo/1 9 15 21 32 90 84 77 67 0 20 40 60 80 100 65+ 50-64 30-49 18-29 AGEGROUP No religious affiliation Any religious affiliation
    46. 46. 46 Face of Catholicism is changing • Generational change in cultures. • More than half of all Catholics under 40 are Hispanic or of other non- European groups • How ready are our communities to welcome them?
    47. 47. 47 Shifting Demographics of American Catholics U.S.Catholics:KeyDatafromPewResearch http://www.pewresearch.org/2013/02/25/u-s-catholics-key-data-from-pew- research/#popchange 78 70 60 47 44 61 66 16 24 32 47 47 32 15 5 7 8 7 9 7 19 0 20 40 60 80 100 65+ 50-64 40-49 30-39 18-29 All Catholics US General Public White Hispanic Other
    48. 48. Planning for a world with many elders & few babies: Idea of a Dependency Ratio
    49. 49. 49 WHAT SURPRISES YOU ABOUT THIS PICTURE OF YOUNG ADULTS? TAKE A MOMENT TO SAY A FEW WORDS AT YOUR TABLES. 49 ‫ָה‬‫ל‬ֶ‫ס‬ ThewholeworldinacrystalballphotobyNeilGallopat https://www.flickr.com/photos/28289142@N00/474392091/
    50. 50. 50 Modern Western Culture • Few social theorists or commentators have positive views of modern culture. • Even the most successful people speak of feeling empty or shallow • We have more than any group in history. (Nero couldn’t blow-dry his hair, and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the Summa without a computer…)
    51. 51. 51 Affluenza (deGraaf&Wann(2001)Affluenza:TheAll-ConsumingEpidemic) 5 1 affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
    52. 52. 52 Consumerist Desires Balloon http://10steps.sg/wp-content/uploads/article89/12.jpg
    53. 53. 53 Knowledge of environmental damage has not slowed its progress. Owen,D.(2012).TheConundrum:HowScientificInnovation,IncreasedEfficiency,andGood IntentionsCanMakeOurEnergyandClimateProblemsWorse.RiverheadTrade.
    54. 54. 54 Inequality: Greater in 2013 than any time since 1929. TheStandardofUr.FromUr,southernIraq,about2600-2400.BC.BritishMuseum. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/t/the_standard_of_ur.aspx An ancient Sumerian art piece shows awareness of social classes … The nobles, priests, and warriors at the top… Below them, merchants and artisans … The serfs and slaves who performed manual labor on the bottom.
    55. 55. 55 Koyaanisqatsi • Koyaanisqatsi: Hopi term for “chaotic life” or “life that calls for another way of living” or “unbalanced” • “The economy” has become a force on its own. • Family relationships and life are complex and increasingly uncertain. • Life is fast, pressured, scheduled, controlled. • Human dimension is lacking. KoyaanisqatsiandPowaqatsi http://www.koyaanisqatsi.org/films/powaqqatsi.php
    56. 56. 56 New Economics • Modern economies founded on growth. • Growth often founded on borrowing and debt. • Can this persist in an aging world? • Steady State Economics SacredEconomics:Money,Gift,andSocietyintheAgeofTransition2011byCharles Eisensteinhttp://sacred-economics.com/ Daly,Herman.1991.Steady-StateEconomics,2ndedition.IslandPress,Washington, DC
    57. 57. 57 Family Life 57
    58. 58. 58 Media 5 8
    59. 59. 59 Religion is not respected http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/image_galleries/ale_porter_chocolate_gallery.shtml?9 59
    60. 60. 60 Negative Views of Religion Increasing 60
    61. 61. 61 Anti-Religious Atrocities
    62. 62. 62 THE BIGGEST CULTURE SHFIT: FAITH MATTERS. REALITY MATTERS. • What does the world need? • What does our monastic culture offer? 62
    63. 63. 63 Arctic Expeditions
    64. 64. 64 The Two Ways (Psalm 1)
    65. 65. 65 The Two Ways (Psalm 1) 65
    66. 66. 66 Philosophy & Science Sought Knowledge of Ultimate Truths 66
    67. 67. 67 MONASTIC CULTURE Heritage and Promise 67
    68. 68. 68 What does monastic culture to modern society? How to we nurture it? CindyCornettSeigle.FromtheBottomoftheHill.OnFlickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cindy47452/2876659809/
    69. 69. 69 Mission "Our mission is to use ambitious wilderness expeditions to inspire people to approach the challenges of life with optimism, humility and responsibility."
    70. 70. 70 Values: Optimism
    71. 71. 71 Values: Humility
    72. 72. 72 Values: Responsibility
    73. 73. 73 Maintaining focus. CindyCornettSeigle.FromtheBottomoftheHill.OnFlickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cindy47452/2876659809/
    74. 74. 74 What do we have as our unique gifts to carry into the future?
    75. 75. 75 "Your way of acting should be different from the world's way."
    76. 76. 76 A focus on praxis, on living the monastic way of life, on practices that can be learned, taught, and passed on.
    77. 77. 77 Enclosure: A form of simplicity — guard of the heart — limits the accumulation of stuff and frenetic activity and connection
    78. 78. 78 "Try to be the first to show respect to the other… …as if they were Christ in person"
    79. 79. 79 Bear with one another’s weaknesses of mind, body, and spirit Joseph,K.(2013).Re-focusingtheBenedictineTradition. BenedictinesLXVI:1Spring/Summer2013 79
    80. 80. 80 Preserving and transmitting the “technology” of community: skills of stability, love, neighboring, commitment, bearing with, and fidelity.
    81. 81. 81 Monastic Life will certainly be different and diverse in the future • Life-long monastics will be fewer in number, but important for the mentoring of others. • New forms of monastic life may flourish. There will be “virtual monasteries” online • The focus will not be on the work that we do (teaching, healing) but on the practices and experiences we can bring to the world.
    82. 82. 82 LifeachebyMichaelLeunig,from http://www.leunig.com.au/index.php/cartoons/cartoons
    83. 83. 83 Choosing not what she judges best for herself but what is best for the other. Can monasteries revitalize a sense of the common good?
    84. 84. 84 What in our current way of life is most important to carry into the future? What identities or emphases might we be willing to leave behind? What are we able to leave even if we aren’t willing? St.KateriTekakwitha.DoorsofSt.Patrick’sCathedral,NewYork.
    85. 85. 85 "Prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together into everlasting life"
    86. 86. 86 "Prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together into everlasting life"
    87. 87. 87 "Prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together into everlasting life"
    88. 88. 88 Prayer by Michael Leunig PrayerfromACommonPrayerbyLeunig.ISBN0-85924-933-6 Image:TheWorldthatNobodyOwnsbyMichaelLeunigfromTheAge http://www.theageshop.com.au/the-world-that-nobody-owns-by-michael-leunig
    89. 89. Culture Shifts: Sustaining Monastic Life in Challenging Conditions Sister Edith Bogue, O.S.B. Monastery Immaculate Conception Ongoing Formation July 24, 2014

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