Nancy Sylvester is founder and director of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue. She served in leadership of her own religious community, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, as well as in the presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Prior to that, she was national coordinator of Network, the national Catholic social justice lobby. You may be interested in the current Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue program, "Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference." For information, go to

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The clerical church in search of its soul

Global Sisters Report: Breathe in the pain. Breathe out the gifts. I brought this contemplative practice to my prayer for sexual abuse victims — and then for the male clerical hierarchy as well.

A soul-searching time as a nation

Global Sisters Report: These past weeks, a number of things have happened in the United States that signal to me we are entering a critical soul-searching time as a nation. Can this be the moment to pause as a nation and enter the "space" that seems to divide us and converse with each other in new ways? 

Becoming a civil and respectful democracy once again

NCR Today: Contemplative prayer can be a way for us to envision healing our divisions as a country and making choices for the common good.

An icon to contemplate this Lent

GSR Preview: I first saw the child in the Detroit Free Press as the news was breaking regarding the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. His face wouldn't leave me.