Home to Adelynrood: 2022 Companion Conference
HOME TO ADELYNROOD:
``We relished being Companions together again, laughing, eating chef Adam's amazing cooking, sharing our stories, and praying -- it was all praying, really.``
In September 2019 I said “yes” to an invitation to lead our 2021 Companion Conference. In June 2022, after two summers of pandemic closure, I stepped back on the grounds of Adelynrood at last, two days ahead of the postponed conference.
Coming up the steps to the portal, and seeing the Great Cross, standing among the white pines and blooming mountain laurel, I recognized again my spiritual home at Adelynrood.
The theme of the conference, The Dream of Francis and Clare: A Grace-filled Creation, seemed exemplified in the place itself.
CREATION, ADELYNROOD STYLE
In the days ahead of the conference, I had time to get the place under my feet again. I walked to the marsh down the road and watched the redwing blackbirds and goldfinches among the reeds. I took a turn around the labyrinth, wandered along the “Tranquil Trail” through the woods, greeting the old white pines that are such presences in this place.
I took in with delight the flowers blooming in the chapel garden, paused at the pine grove where generations of Companions are buried, and felt their presence in this prayed-in place.
We were a small group at first, assembled ahead of the conference to help prepare. We all joined gladly in Adelynrood’s traditional Holy Routine: We prayed St. Francis’s Canticle of the Sun on the wide screen porches in the morning, offered worship before breakfast, intercessions at noon, night prayers at the close of day.
We worked together, stuffing folders and finalizing plans for the conference. But mostly, we relished being Companions together again, laughing, eating chef Adam’s amazing cooking, sharing our stories, and praying — it was all praying, really.
Gradually the house filled with Companions, old friends and new faces.
Friday the house was full, and we began the conference itself, exploring St. Francis and St. Clare and their dream of a graced Creation. We shared together ways that we could live more fully into our vowed commitment to prayer and action: caring more intentionally for Creation; embracing a vision of Church as beloved community.
And in the Great Silence between night prayers and the Canticle, we sank into the rich mystery of being together in this prayer-soaked space, this spiritual home of Companions, Adelynrood.
Photo by Lois Blood Bennett
A series of Companions’ responses to the 2022 Companion Conference began with a post from Kate Smith, Hartford Chapter, on July 14, after the in-person conference: “Joys and Challenges.” Now we have four more posts after the virtual conference.
This one, from Kathleen Staudt, Potomac River Chapter, the conference’s chairwoman, returning to Adelynrood after two years away because of the pandemic, and the last few days of preparation for being together again at Companion Conference: “Coming Home to Adelynrood.”
Next, from Nancy Lowry, Berkshire Chapter, noting parallels with messages about concern for creation coming from the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion: “The Earth is God’s.”
Third, from Faith Perrizo, Minnesota Chapter, illustrating several facets of Franciscan spirituality that the conference highlighted for her: “God’s Call to Francis: Build My Church.”
Finally, from Veronica Chapman, Berkshire Chapter, connecting the ideas of the conference with David Attenborough’s TV nature series, and responding with new energy: “When I Think of a Grace-Filled Creation.”
I encourage you to read them all for a thoughtful overview. With this conference, the Companions have tried to ready themselves to work with God on some of the most pressing areas for concern in our time.