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Benincasa Community Updates, Events & Invitations, and Reasons for Co-creation

What happens when a new season approaches and a community grows? - October/November 2019 Newsletter

BEnincasa community newsletter fall foiliage

Dear friends,
Sitting outside this morning, it might be easy to forget that Fall is steathfully in our midst. Everything is staying warmer longer, and one could be forgiven for momentarily believing this summer might never come to an end. However, soon we will be treated to the splendor of leaves changing color  and then falling from trees, warm sweaters being worn during chilly evenings, and school and work days swinging into a familiar rhythm as the days become shorter and the evenings longer.

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During this season we shed our own unnecessary burdens too and turn inward and assess some of our brighter achievements, the harvest of our labors, that we’ve tended through the summer months. As most everyone in the community knows by now, Karen, Sean, and the whole Benincasa Community lovingly welcomed the arrival of our newest and youngest community member, Thomas John Magdala. After several healthy days at home, Thomas and his parents spent the first two weeks of his life in the hospital while he recovered from emergency intestinal surgery. Nevertheless, with a warrior spirit, Thomas stunned doctors, nurses, and his family with his strength and, to the delight of everyone here, has been happily living, sleeping, eating, and playing at home ever since. We thank you all for the prayers and support as Thomas John Magdala continues to grow and thrive.

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In addition to Thomas, we joyfully welcomed new Benincasa resident members Gabby, Rebecca, Brendan, Colleen, Allison, and Brooklyn to our community. Some theologians, some students, some teachers, some nurses, some working with women religious, and yet we are all bonded by our desire to live with intentionality, simplicity, and a commitment to justice in our lives. Below, you can check out Brooklyn’s reflection from the Catholic Day of Action responding to the immoral imprisonment of children being held in detention in Newark, NJ and across the country. Many of us joined others on this day and during September’s Climate Strike calling for immediate action to save the lives of young generations and those billions most affected by our climate crisis.

Benincasa Community gathers for a meal together (above and below)

Benincasa Community gathers for a meal together (above and below)

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Also in September, the second cohort of our lay formation program, Through Every Age, gathered at Mariandale Retreat Center in Ossining for the opening retreat. In addition to attending four retreats, the ten cohort members will engage with content exploring their faith identities, a people’s Catholic history, and ways to respond to injustices in our communities and the institutional Church. A special thank you to Joanne, Amanda, Clare, and Margaret for your help facilitating this first gathering and to Anne Marie for securing our space and hosting us at Mariandale.

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Finally, we hope to see many of you on October 11 in Washington D.C., as feminist theologians gather for two events calling for the inclusion of women in all ministries of the Church. Check out the upcoming events below for more information.

In gratitude for you all and in peace,

Benincasa Community


Voices in Community

by Brooklyn Vetter

Community is a great resource I use to hold myself and the systems I am a part of accountable. Since joining Benincasa, I have been driven to attend two protests to speak for my larger community, inspired by the abundance of living in intentional community with Benincasa. In early September, along with three other Benincasa community members, I participated in the Catholic Day of Action in Newark. The purpose of the action was to condemn the inhumane treatment of immigrant children and their families who are entering into the United States.

Brooklyn reads quotes from children and families locked in detention.

Brooklyn reads quotes from children and families locked in detention.

While I don't believe faith is necessary to recognize the immorality that our current system is upholding, it was powerful to come together as people, grounded in Catholic Social Justice, to call out our horrendous actions and implicitly call on the institutional Catholic Church to take a more public and proactive stance pressuring our Nation's Leaders and community members toward right action. A frequent chant during this Day of Action was "Not in our name." Whether we like it or not, we are a part of this system that is continuing detention. There are four detention centers in Newark, NJ alone.

Demonstrators in Newark, lie in the shape of a cross during an act of civil disobedience.

Demonstrators in Newark, lie in the shape of a cross during an act of civil disobedience.

We cannot stay silent. We cannot be complacent. We must let those in power know that as people of faith, as neighbors and community members, we will not stand for their destruction of life. Join actions, get accompaniment training, call your legislator, listen to those hurt by these unjust policies. Stand in solidarity. It is through community we can make a difference and hold each other accountable so we can truly say, "Not in our name."

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The second event I attended with two other Benincasa community members (while Thomas supported us from home) was the "Global Climate Strike for Our Future".

Colleen, Allison, and Brooklyn at the Climate Strike

Colleen, Allison, and Brooklyn at the Climate Strike

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Similarly, the lack of action around and toward the climate crisis and ecological justice cannot continue without our implicit support for its impact. While it is important to support climate justice through individual actions - which again is easier to be held accountable for in community - the urgency is beyond individuals. We need to put pressure on institutions to change. It is also important to recognize how the climate crisis disproportionately affects communities of color. We cannot wait to change until white and other privileged neighborhoods need safe drinking water. We need to speak out, putting pressure on our government and institutions to change now, for all our communities, for our futures, and for the generations of the future we will never know.

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Thank you all for being a part of this community that cares for all our dear neighbors and our planet and is willing to fight together to make change. I am so grateful to know you are all with us in your own ways to hold our systems accountable.

(PHOTO CREDITS: Benincasa Community Member, Colleen Traub)

Sean McCreight