From July 15 – 20, HNU’s Sophia Center for Culture and Spirituality hosted its annual Summer Institute and Post-Institute Retreat.The overarching theme and programming focus of this year’s Summer Institute, “Thomas Berry and the Great Work of Our Time,” brought together 85 participants from around the world ranging from thinkers, activist and students.The program also featured an impressive array of presenters, including Brian Swimme, a long time friend of HNU and Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Carl Anthony, a Ford Foundation Senior Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Department of Geography at the University of California Berkeley and Riane Eisler, an eminent social scientist, attorney and author best known for her bestseller The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future.
Led by Jim Conlon, Director of the Sophia Center, the Summer Institute was an opportunity to explore the work of Thomas Berry, the preeminent ecological thinker who died last year at the age of 94.Thomas Berry is famous for advocating through his work that a deep understanding of the history and functioning of the evolving universe is a necessary inspiration and guide for mankind’s own effective functioning as individuals and as a species.Throughout the four day Summer Institute, participants engaged in interactive workshops and dialogues that explored Berry’s work across three area: first, the relationship between social justice and the new cosmology; second, the emergence of the divine feminine; and third, food and farming as ways of embodying a new cosmological orientation.
“Once again, the Sophia Center’s Summer Institute successfully brought together a diverse group of individuals, each willing to take on the journey of stretching their imaginations to contemplate cosmological questions and to explore their roles and responsibilities within the universe” stated Jim Conlon.“I was delighted by the level of participation from the attendees and excited by the multiple conversations about social justice, peace and the environment that the Institute helped to initiate.It is a joy to know that our center is helping to fuel enlightenment and peace through our programming.”
The work from this year’s Summer Institute will continue well beyond the four day program thanks to ongoing human interactions and continued dialogues via electronic means such as the Sophia Center’s website, Facebook and more.
The Sophia Center has already started to plan next year’s Institute.Scheduled for July 14 – 17, the 2011 Summer Institute, “Living the New Story: Cosmology for a Mutually Enhancing World,” will celebrate the program’s 15th anniversary.For a complete listing of the 2010 Summer Institute Presenters and more information about Holy Names University’s Sophia Center for Culture and Spirituality, please visit the Sophia Center website.