Contemplatives in Action

Spring 2020 JV Retreat

This spring, our theme is Contemplatives in Action. During the spring retreat, Jesuit Volunteer/AmeriCorps Members will be invited to be contemplatives- one who not only uses their passions and skills- but also mindfully sets aside time to think on the past and present, so to move towards informed action for the future. The invitation is to reflect in a deep, intentional way on the experiences of the past nine months around the core values of JVC Northwest. This moment of pausing helps to provide an orientation towards a long view on how to co-create social, ecological, and equitable change throughout one’s life. Contemplatives create space for deep listening of their own desires, values, and needs- as well as the assets and needs of their local/global community. Seeking to take action moves them to be individual and collective agents of change.

Pre-Retreat Information


What is a dyad? A dyad is a one-to-one opportunity to dive into conversations and reflections with a fellow JV outside of your community. It will be a chance to connect more fully with another JV to learn about their experience and to share about yours! If you decide to sign up for a dyad, the program team with pair you with someone who has similar interests and hopes for a dyad pair. The spring retreat will provide everyone with dyad guided questions/topics of reflections, if you would like that to guide your dyad conversations. There will be opportunities to connect the retreat weekend and beyond, if you desire to do so. Dyad sign-ups will close Thursday, April 23 at 11 a.m Alaska/12 p.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Mountain.

Coffee House Sign Up

Signing up to perform will help our Emcees plan the evening- click below to reserve your spot- we’ll plan to do our best to support the tech through Zoom. Feel free to email PAC member Tyler Wagner with questions. Sign Ups for Coffee House will close on Thursday, April 23, at 5 p.m. Alaska/6 p.m Pacific/7 p.m. Mountain.

Pre-Retreat Survey

As you prepare for your Contemplatives in Action retreat, this 4-minute “survey,” of sorts, is a quick tool to touch base with yourself and check-in with how you are coming into the retreat weekend. Your responses will remain anonymous, and will be shared with those preparing and facilitating the retreat.

Live Sessions

Opening Welcome Session: So Now What?
Presenter: Greg Carpinello (he/him), JVC Northwest Executive Director
Friday, April 24th, 9 a.m. AK/10 a.m. PT/11 a.m. MT
View the Recorded Session
Session Length: 60 minutes (Introduction 20 mins, 10 minute guided Examen, 20 minute reflection/community discussion, 10 minute wrap up)
Materials Needed:  Journal/paper and writing utensil

Session Description:
So your JV year has been completely upended. The last month has surely been different than what you thought this experience would be. And the future is unknown. In the midst of that ambiguity, we have a chance to dig beneath the surface of life for the next two days in this virtual retreat. In this opening session, we will take stock of what we’re bringing into this space and prepare our hearts so that we might be situated to listen to the invitations that await us over the coming days.

A Contemplative in Action Prayer Service: In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, from this day forward
Presenter: Carol Gabrielli (she/her) (Portland, OR '94-95, former staff member)
Friday, April 24th, 1:30 p.m. AK/2:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. MT
Session Length: 60 minutes
Materials Needed: Journal, writing utensil, and Stand Up for Me lyrics

Session Description: Northwest Jesuit Volunteers engaged with this live virtual retreat session will examine what it has meant to be thinkers in action and what, in this precarious time, it meansto be reflect-ers in action. Through verbal prompts, personal journaling/drawing, and captivating music, participants will study their lived experiences of dedication, exhaustion, hope, confusion, delight, bewilderment, joy, disappointment, and love, and wonder how one’s experiences and one’s meditation on those experiences inform one’s next steps. Can I vow to be a contemplative in action, from this day forward, all the days of my life? I hope you’ll consider joining me.
All that you touch You change.
All that you change Changes you.
The only Truth is Change.
God is Change.
-Octavia Butler

Coffee House
Steph Haas (she/her) (Portland, OR '12-13 and former Recruiter) and Marielle McKenna (she/her) (Hood River, OR '14-15 and Hillsboro, OR '15-16), Portland Alumni Council (PAC)
Friday, April 24th, 6 p.m. AK/7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT
Sign Up
Access the Session

Session Description: Plan to join us with your community for a fun evening, even if you don’t share a talent (but we really hope you will!). Maybe this is your opportunity to pull out your ukulele or guitar. Have you been writing poetry recently (or just want to read Mary Oliver to us)? Maybe you have a song or dance your community has been working on during social distancing. Or you have a surprising talent we haven’t even thought of. Feel free to sign up for anything. Please make sure that what you perform is JVC Northwest intentional; meaning, it does not micro-aggress against folks with marginalized identities, or potentially put people at risk of physical, emotional, mental harm or injury. Your performance is something that creates space for all to enjoy, feel safe, and does not exclude. Your performance or talent is intentional of the impact it may have on your audience. Signing up to perform will help our Emcees plan the evening- click below to reserve your spot- we’ll plan to do our best to support the tech through Zoom. Feel free to email PAC member Tyler Wagner with questions.

Presider: Fr. Elias Puentes, SJ (he.him) Homilist: Morgan Bengel (she/her) (Aloha, OR '19-20)
Saturday, April 25th, 5:30 p.m. AK/6:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. MT
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Session Length: 60 minutes

Session Description: Join us for this live Mass, celebrated by Fr. Elías Puentes, SJ, a Jesuit of St. Leo’s Parish in Tacoma, WA. Our homilist will be Morgan Bengel, current Aloha JV serving at HomePlate Youth Services, serving as the Outreach Specialist.

Identity Meet Ups

Working Class, First Gen Identity Meet-Up 
Facilitator: Sandy Parker (she/her)
Friday, April 24, 11 a.m. AK/12 p.m. PT/1 p.m. MT
Access the Meet Up
Non-Catholic Identity Meet-Up 
Facilitators: Dana D'Onofrio (she/her) and Nancy Slavin (she/her)
Friday, April 24, 3:30 p.m. AK/4:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. MT
Access the Meet Up
LGBTQIA2S+ Identity Meet-Up 
Facilitators: Scott Pyzik (he/him) and Mo Wieser (she/her)
Saturday, April 25, 9 a.m. AK/10 a.m. PT/11 a.m. MT
Access the Meet Up
Ability Identity Meet-Up 
Facilitators: Anne Douglas (she/her) and Kate Stinson (she/her)
Saturday, April 25, 11 a.m. AK/12 p.m. PT/1 p.m. MT
Access the Meet Up
BIPOC Identity Meet-Up 
Facilitators: Zayna Abusada (she/her) and Fabiola Casas (she/they)
Saturday, April 25, 2:30 p.m. AK/3:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. MT
Access the Meet Up
White Accountability Identity Meet-Up 
Facilitator: Nancy Slavin (she/her)
Saturday, April 25, 2:30 p.m. AK/3:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. MT
Access the Meet Up

Recorded Sessions (access anytime)

Being with the Questions
Facilitator: Samantha Dye (she/her)
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Session Length: 1 Hour (~20 minutes of recorded material, the rest of the time is spent in guided activities/reflections)
Materials Needed: Handout, space for individual reflection, writing tool, paper or journal, ability to connect with your dyad partner (if choosing this option)

Session Description:
Questions are part of the fabric of who we are – both in times of certainty and times of uncertainty.  During seasons of growth, transition, and change, questions feel more prevalent and the need to find answers can feel heightened and stressed.  In these moments, we can choose various ways of being – we can search for answers, we can anxiously toil, we can be stopped in our overwhelm – or we can shift our relationship to the questions by being with them and letting the questions bring greater awareness. 
Being with the questions that arise in our lives, internal or external, is an art – a practice of inquiry and reflection.  Being with the questions requires that we intentionally pause, shift and create space to become aware of what is showing up for us in the moment.    
This session is an invitation to be with the questions that are arising for you in this hour, this day, this season.  It is a guided reflective process based on a series of questions. The hour is created as an intentional, structured space for you to be with the questions arising in your life right now.  The process is one that you can replicate over and over again – on your own or with others.

“The Dough”- Discernment Musings (Part 1 of 2)
Facilitators: Yoli Jones (they/them) (JVC: San Jose, CA '13-14, Nicaragua '14-16)
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Session Length: 10 minute opening letter with this handout
“The Dough”- Meditation Activity (Part 2 of 2)
Facilitators: Yoli Jones (they/them) (JVC: San Jose, CA '13-14, Nicaragua '14-16)
Access the Meditation Part 1: Recognize and Welcome (audio only)
Access the Meditation Part 2: Preschool Walk (audio only)
Session Length: 10 minute guided meditation/body scan, 30 minute outdoor, movement activity
Materials Needed: A six-inch piece of ribbon/fabric/string per person

Session Description: Join FJV Yoli Jones (San Jose, ‘13-14, Nicaragua ‘14-16) as they share a letter to you all, the current JVs, around discernment and sour dough. If you like (or want to learn more around) discernment, metaphors, and carbs in the midst of these trying times- then come on in, friend, and take a listen to this session! After their letter, settle into your feelings with a guided meditation, body scan, followed by an activity that invites you for a socially distant -yet, emotionally present- walk around your local community.

The Enneagram: Defense Mechanisms and Discernment
Facilitators: Majo Lovejoy (she/her) (Gresham, OR '14-15 and former staff member) and Haley Lovejoy (she/her), AGAPE Wellness
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Materials Needed: None
Session Length: 40 minutes of prepared materials with 20 minutes in communities or reflection task

Session Description: The Enneagram is a map to self-awareness and transformation. In this session, we will begin with a brief overview of the system of the Enneagram before diving into the idealization, avoidance, and defense mechanism for each Enneagram type. By focusing on this aspect of the Enneagram, you will have an opportunity to grow in awareness of how you respond to situations and experiences that threaten your type structure. We will also cover how each type’s defense mechanism sheds light on ways that the type responds to stressful and uncertain situations, like those created by the COVID-19 pandemic. And lastly, we will offer ways that awareness of one’s defense mechanism can support discernment processes. You do not need any prior study of the Enneagram to attend this session.

Facilitator: Murph Murphy (they/them) (Spokane, WA '11-12, JVC International: Managua, Nicaragua, '12-14)
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Session Length: 40 minutes
Materials Needed: None

Session Description: This session is my interpretation of St. Ignatius’ Examen practice. This session will run about 40 minutes in total and will invite you and your community to pause and reflect for specific periods of time that are detailed in the recording. This is designed to provide spaciousness and a loose container for you to pay attention to the ways your experience from this weekend and your year thus far manifest in your body and heart. Finding stillness and noting the emotions and experience in your body provide insight into the ways you are being called to act, be, and move in the spaces and relationships where you invest your life.

Good Byes, Bad Byes 
Facilitator: Fumi Tosu (he/him), (JVC: Brooklyn, NY '99-00)
Access Part I
Access Part 2
Access Part 3
Session Length: Three 15-20 minute recorded sessions, each followed by a 20 minute reflection/journaling time.  After individual reflection, you may choose to come together as a community to share your reflections. After Part 3, it is recommended that as a community, you plan some sort of end of the year opportunity for a good “burial.” 
Materials Needed: Journal and writing utensil, this handout

Session Description:

Part I: Saying Goodbye during a Pandemic.  How has the reality of COVID-19 impacted the particular communities you serve?  How might that reality, in turn, affect how you take leave of this community? 

Part 2: Good Byes, Bad Byes at Service: How can we offer our good-byes as a gift to our clients, students, and families?  How do we avoid triggering memories of past “bad byes,” and abandonments? How can we be aware of our own privilege in leaving? 

Part 3: Good Byes, Bad Byes in Community: How do we make space for the joys and struggles of this past year of living in community?  What does a “good burial” look like, and how can that lead to “resurrection”? I will share stories and insights from my own year in JVC, as well as from my time living in community at the Catholic Worker.

Vocation in All Things
Facilitator: Lynnette Rose (she/her) (Ashland, MT '83-84, Omak Support Person)
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Session Length: 40 minutes
Materials Needed: Writing Utensil and Paper/Journal

Session Description: Vocation is not limited to a clerical sort of noun, but instead can be expressed as a soulful and joyful adjective for the life we are living in relationship to others. This will be an opportunity to explore a lens of discerning a vocational life beyond and within personal identity, community, and jobs as Contemplatives in Action.

Writing As Reflection
Facilitator: Nancy Slavin (she/her), JVC Northwest Staff
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Session Length: 45 minutes
Materials Needed: Bring a pen/writing utensil and paper/notebook.

Session Description: Using writing prompts specific to service, discernment, and self-discovery, Nancy will lead you in a series of “free writes” to help deepen your awareness of how this (particularly unusual) year of service has affected your beliefs about your next steps post-service year. Our goal is to write the life we want to live.

Yoga: Intentional Movement to Acknowledge and Let Go (Part 1 of 2)
Facilitator: Nora Blumenstein (she/her) (Sitka, AK '07-08)
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Session Length: 60 minutes
Materials Needed: You may wish to practice on a yoga/exercise mat or towel. A pillow or rolled blanket/towel is recommended.

Session Description: You are invited to create a sacred space and move your body with intention. Find a quiet place free from distraction that perhaps includes natural light or soft light, candle(s), plant(s), blanket(s), soft music, photos of loved ones, collected pieces of nature such as leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, or seeds, or something representing your faith tradition. During this time of uncertainty, let’s connect with our bodies and the Divine as we acknowledge what we’re struggling with, move anxious or stagnant energy out of our bodies, and call in kindness, self-compassion, connection and hope. This session will include deep breathing, a slow flow, and grounding postures. Beginners are welcome and no prior experience with yoga is necessary.

Yoga: Journaling and Prayer to Accompany Movement (Part 2 of 2)
Facilitator: Nora Blumenstein (she/her) (Sitka, AK '07-08)
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Session Length: 60 minutes
Materials Needed: Journal, pen, and pillow or rolled blanket/towel. You will access this handout during the session.

Session Description:   St. Ignatius teaches us that the Divine can communicate directly with us through our inner movements, and exploring these inner movements can help us move closer to God. In the previous session, we moved our bodies (outer movements) to acknowledge and release what wasn’t serving us. Now we are primed to sit or lay quietly and offer attention to our inner movements. This session will include journaling, personal reflection, and guided meditation (imaginative prayer). Remain in the sacred space you created for the previous session, and bring a journal, pen, and pillow or rolled blanket/towel.

Retreat Kit (downloadable resources)

If you are away from your locale or the postal service was a little bit slow in getting things to you, download the retreat kit here:

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