Benincasa Community is a lay community named for Catherine (Benincasa) di Sienna, the theologian, mystic, reformer, and peacemaker. Dedicated to the works of mercy and justice in an era thirsting for humanity's collective recognition of unity and interdependence with all creation, we are grounded by faith, an emerging understanding of the new cosmology, the development of new economic models in our world, and the need for deepening relationships with the land and one another.
We are small, committed, and guided by four pillars: contemplation (prayer), learning (study), works (direct aid), and right relationship (community). We renovated and now reside in an old convent in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. We are inspired by and connected to the Dominican Sisters of the Northeast, the Catholic Worker Movement, and the Thompson Street Jesuits. We are monastic in that we offer a peaceful place of refuge for guests and visitors while maintaining a daily rhythm of meals and prayer. We are apostolic in that we offer aid and seek to be in solidarity with our neighbors and all of creation.
Rooted in the catholic tradition as demonstrated by women religious and radical lay movements, Benincasa Community consists of core members who have made long-term, full-time commitments to the community, guests seeking a nourishing, safe place to live, and Dominican Volunteers engaging in a year of service. The whole of Benincasa Community strives to cultivate and share “bread and roses” within our home, our city, and our global community.
We share “bread” by working on the land, opening rooms for people in need of housing, welcoming visitors and organizers, offering retreat programs, and engaging in social justice efforts for collective liberation. We offer “roses” to lift spirits and elevate dignity by hosting regular liturgical events, housing the “Peace Poets”, praying and singing together nightly, and deepening our contemplative practice by studying with the Sisters of Saint Dominic. Because we strive to recognize the divinity of all who enter, we also aim to name and dismantle systems of oppression and privilege based on race, class, gender and sexuality. Through sweat equity, we have turned this previously vacant building into a warm and vibrant home and homebase for justice and peace communities from around the world.