Neo-monasticism, Interspirituality, and The Community of the Holy Spirit

The Community of the Holy Spirit is a women’s religious order rooted within the Christian tradition and the Episcopal Church.  Around our evolving edge, however, is a relationship that we currently call “Resident Companionship”–for folks who are male or female, married or single, choosing to live alongside the Sisters of the order and share in their life and work (I myself live with the community as a Companion).  We see this as an important evolutionary opening within monastic life and a possible vehicle for carrying it forward into the future.

As it stands, traditional monastic communities draw fewer and fewer vocations; at the same time, there is a growing conversation around neo-monasticism and intentional spiritual community.  We at CHS recognize that many of the visionaries in this emerging conversation lack the structures and resources to manifest a community, while at the same time there are existing communities with structures and resources who lack vocations.  Perhaps the universe is holding out the opportunity for an evolutionary pairing that can carry monastic life forward into the 21st century!

Our community is committed to living sustainably and healing the Earth, seeing this currently as our primary ministry.  At our Bluestone Farm in Brewster, NY, we have organic/biodynamic gardens, milk cows, chickens, ducks, and honey bees (visit our website here).  At the same time, our life together is held within the context of the Divine Offices–set times of gathering in chapel for chanting, prayer, and meditation.  While our liturgies are deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, we have worked to set them (and our life as a whole) within the emerging “Universe Story” and “New Cosmology” and to update our language to be gender inclusive.

In addition to all of this, we have a large school facility on the property that has only recently closed.  We are now re-envisioning it as a Center for Interspirituality and Sustainability.  The community is deeply interested in how we can participate in the interspiritual currents that are currently shaping the spiritual landscape, and how our facilities can serve the emerging vision.  While drawing deeply from our Christian contemplative heritage, our members also drink gratefully from other wells; one Sister is also a long-time Vedantist and devotee of Ramana Maharshi; another has found Buddhism deeply enriching; and for some time, the community has been enriched by the spirituality of Native traditions, most of our members having undertaken an individual four-day Vision Quest.  We are excited to see how all of this could become more central to our mission.

We look forward to adding all of your voices to our conversation and visioning as we discern the way forward!

Blessings,

Matthew+