On Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend, Heather Page, president of The Contemplative Society, reflected with gratitude on the past year. Please see her letter to the TCS community re-posted here below.
A Time to Be Thankful
Last weekend, The Contemplative Society held its AGM. As I prepared my annual report for the fiscal year, I found much to be grateful for in the life of the Society. Gratitude will be much on our hearts as we here in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. The intensity of summer’s light has begun to soften and a quiet gentleness seems to permeate this season – a truly contemplative time of year.
July saw our gifted and much appreciated administrator for the past five years, Eileen deVerteuil, step down from her position. We have been blessed to have the position filled by Miranda Harvey, who most recently was a TCS board member and worked as a fundraiser at the University of Victoria. She brings with her a steady meditation practice, a connection with the younger generation, computer savviness, an interest in social networking, and a number of other gifts. We are delighted to have her serving the Society in this capacity. Cynthia writes of Miranda’s “incredible blessing to my work as TCS continues to hold down the role of the flagship of my little wisdom fleet.”
The website has been another transition for TCS this year. The process was not always smooth. It required many hours of work by both Eileen and members of the board working with a professional team. In the end we are pleased with the look and function of the new site, and many have expressed their gratitude for the upgrade. The website gets an average of 6000 hits a month, supporting and encouraging contemplatives around the world. If you have not had a chance to look at the new website, please go to contemplative.org and check it out. In addition, our Facebook community is also growing, currently showing approximately 3000 “likes” which is indicative of the number of people following that page. If you would like to receive weekly quotes by Cynthia and other contemplatives as well as receiving current updates, consider “liking” us on Facebook.
We are now looking forward to the visit of the Rev. Matthew Wright. Matthew comes from Woodstock, New York and has a passion for interfaith spirituality, particularly drawing inspiration from the teachings of Bede Griffiths, Teilhard de Chardin, and Raimon Panikkar. Matthew will be leading a Contemplative Society sponsored retreat at Shawnigan Lake and a public event at the local university in November. We are tremendously grateful for the grants and ongoing donations we have received which will keep costs down for these events, as well as enabling us to provide scholarships to students and those with financial challenges. The support of our donors and membership continues to inspire me, and I feel thankful for a community so dedicated to keeping the Christian contemplative tradition vibrant.
Finally, as fall sinks in and the darker seasons come upon us, I am encouraged by the Light that Cynthia’s teachings remind us of. Recently, I was talking with a young friend who mentioned how much he was enjoying Cynthia’s audio teaching, “Learning To See” (currently in revision) and its source of inspiration, And There Was Light, a book by Jacques Lusseyran. I am so grateful to our audio ministry team of volunteers, who spend countless hours of their own time producing the audio recordings we have for sale, providing a steady foundation for The Contemplative Society to stand on.
In “Learning to See”, Cynthia draws from Lusseyran’s story to explore such themes as inner observation and nurturing the heart (see quotes below). Let us all celebrate this Thanksgiving season by encouraging one another to remember the Light that each of us carries within.
Quotes from And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran and Cynthia Bourgeault’s Wisdom School “Learning to See”