Joan Chittister: Presence and Perpetual Goodness

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May 5, 2020

Joan Chittister: Presence and Perpetual Goodness

Joan Chittister May 5, 2020

Sister Joan Chittister is an American theologian, Benedictine nun, and the author of more than 50 books. For over 40 years, she has passionately advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and church renewal. This week’s podcast shares with you an excerpt from Sister Joan’s audio program, Catching Fire: Being Transformed, Becoming Transforming, a seven-hour conversation with Tami Simon intended to spark the fire of the divine within each one of us.

Joan Chittister is one of the most influential religious and social leaders of our time. For over 40 years she has advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and church renewal. A sought-after speaker and counselor, she is also the bestselling author of more than 50 books, hundreds of articles, and an online column for the National Catholic Reporter. She has received numerous writing awards and honors for her work, and is a noted international lecturer as well as a former elected fellow at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge University, England.
 
Sister Joan was the featured guest of Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday in both 2015 and 2019. She has appeared on Meet the Press60 Minutes, CBS News, NOW with Bill Moyers, and numerous BBC and NPR programs.

Author photo © Ed Bernik

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Joan Chittister: Presence and Perpetual Goodness

Sister Joan Chittister is an American theologian, Benedictine nun, and the author of more than 50 books. For over 40 years, she has passionately advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and church renewal. This week’s podcast shares with you an excerpt from Sister Joan’s audio program, Catching Fire: Being Transformed, Becoming Transforming, a seven-hour conversation with Tami Simon intended to spark the fire of the divine within each one of us.

Sister Joan Chittister: Lighting a Fire with Faith

Sister Joan Chittister is a member of Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania; the bestselling author of more than 50 books and hundreds of articles; and one of the most influential contemporary leaders and activists for human rights, women’s issues, and church renewal. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Sister Joan about the endless interplay between doubt and faith. They discuss the ways in which God sees all of creation, and what this perspective then asks of us. Tami and Sister Joan talk about the necessity of embracing humility, as well as what it means to know the right questions to ask on one’s spiritual journey. Finally, Sister Joan comments on the maturation of faith as one grows older and the “last great adventure” offered by death. (66 minutes)

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It all transforms into a rich sloop that eventually nourishes future plants. Our personal work includes processing our own “dark” sides, the parts we’d like to hide or discard. Self-compassion (and compassion for others) holds both the rejected and respected parts of who we are. Like composting, it isn’t always pretty, but it’s potent. Research shows self-compassion helps us stay present and kindhearted without sinking into absorptive empathy, which can lead to overload and burnout. This meditation is part of the toolkit in the audio course Shining Bright Without Burning Out.

The cycles of the natural world, into which we are interwoven, take time. It’s hard to be patient, to let everything, both scorned and enjoyed, stew in our symbolic personal compost piles. The speed with which that brew changes from nasty to nourishing varies widely with the internal and external conditions. Sometimes all those different elements take a long time to dissolve and break down. Sometimes it turns around faster than we think possible, like time-lapse photography of a log rotting on the forest floor with new green shoots springing to life overnight. Compassion is the magic ingredient that turns our personal “compost” into personal evolution.

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