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Entries in evolutionary consciousness (8)


My Journey as an Artist 

In these changing times one major focus we have is awakening to greater evolutionary consciousness. We strive to be more open and reflect on how all of life is in oneness, interconnected and interrelated. Art is a wonderful medium for going deeper and engaging in these reflections.

I recall a time, when I was still in grade school and viewing for the first time the art of Mondrian, Klee and Kandinsky. It was a revelation to discover a world where art could be so unusual, profound with radiant new energy and life. Born there and then, without really naming it at the time, was my desire to engage in painting as a spiritual experience, as meditation and an awakening to divine presence.

In approaching the canvas, my goal is to listen within to any movement taking place, and lose myself in the interplay of textures, shapes and colors. It is about entering into mystery and silence, allowing self to discover through the process of painting.

Painting provides space to play with new images, unfamiliar ones, and “invites me to wonder” and to see anew.  

The theme that I continue to explore is based on the story of creation and writings of Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry. Extensive scientific discovery and new science opens new meaning to evolution. I welcome any shift, any expanding of consciousness, and viewing of the world with all its relationships that may result. My intention is to contribute art that builds and heals, art that speaks from the soul.

Connecting through art to the vast original space before the “Big Bang” and the evolving of all life over 13.7 billion of years is an awesome adventure and mystery permeated with the divine energy.

Using traditional art materials I sometimes combine collage with acrylic and work on canvas or very heavy watercolor paper. Sometime I just paint while other times I start with an idea which takes on a life of its own.

While I have taken a number of courses in art, I am largely self-taught and paint intuitively. My interest in science and the discoveries of the universe, stems from my background in nursing plus studies in spirituality and art as a spiritual practice.

In my next blog I will share with you the experience of my very first art exhibit along with some of my paintings.

Patricia St. Louis, CSJ





An Invitation to Explore Evolutionary Consciousness On-line!

If you have ever wondered “Who are we?”, “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?” you may be interested in exploring “Evolutionary Consciousness”.

We’ve all heard about fossils and fruit flies, Darwin and Dawkins. But what if our current scientific understanding of evolution was just the tip of the iceberg?  What if there’s a way to see evolution that could transform not just our understanding of the physical world, but also our most fundamental sense of who we are?

Today a movement of visionary scientists, philosophers and spiritual thinkers is forging a new understanding of evolution that honours science, reframes culture and radically updates spirituality. New inspiration, meaning and hope for the future can result.

That’s what you’ll discover in Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, a book by Carter Phipps, former Executive Editor of Enlighten Next magazine.

We are pleased to offer you an on-line book study of Carter Phipps’ book. This online course is set to launch on October 7th, 2014 through the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada website. This web-based version of a previous book study will help to explain and provide a better understanding of the Integral Worldview Carter discusses; how this is emerging and why this new worldview is so critical today.


TIME FRAME:  October 7 – November 11, 2014

FORMAT:  You will be provided with six multi-media sessions, one per week over six weeks. The sessions will include:

  • narrated PowerPoint slideshows
  • slide handouts
  • transcripts
  • reflection questions
  • illustrations and articles based on the book
  • as well as several Michael Dowd video clips.

 The content does not take the place of reading the book but helps assimilate the book. There will also be opportunity to comment and ask questions on-line.

PARTICIPANT REQUIREMENTS:  An open mind and a desire to explore plus the purchase and reading of the book (available through your local bookstore or online for as little as $12.99. Please note that there is no cost for registering and participating!

REGISTRATION:  For registration please email Kathleen Robbins at krobbins@csjcanada.org. Once registered, a participant will receive login and password information which will allow access to the study sessions week by week. This on-line offering will be retained on the website until the end of December 2014.

ORIGINATORS:  The course was conceptualized and the script written by Mary Vandersteen, CSJ.  It has been illustrated and produced by Ann Steadman, Associate and narrated by Valerie Cauwenberghe, CSJ.

Please print the FLYER for posting.

Mary Vandersteen, CSJ & Ann Steadman, Associate



Evolutionary Consciousness & Last Call for Symposium 2014

What comes to your mind when you hear the words ‘evolution’ and ‘consciousness’? According to the Merriam -Webster dictionary, evolution means “a process of slow change and development” while consciousness is “a person's mind and thoughts or knowledge that is shared by a group of people”.

Evolutionary consciousness simply means becoming aware of and embracing the reality that the cosmos, our world, and we human beings are engulfed in constant change.  And, it is suggested, that we are called to do our own part to move things forward, just as Jesus did.

Different times use different terms to express the same reality.  However, there is a thread that runs from the beginnings of the Sisters’ founding in 1650 at LePuy in France to our present living in 2014. The founding community was guided by Jean Pierre Medaille, http://www.csj-to.ca/jean-pierre-medaille-sj , a Jesuit of great spiritual depth. He counseled the early members to strive constantly for “the More” – being more and becoming more in their personal and relational lives with one another and among the people with whom they worked. This was and is an on-going developmental day-by-day process. This was and is evolutionary consciousness in action!

The Sisters of St. Joseph hold oneness with others and all of created reality to be the heart of evolutionary striving as the future calls us forward to “the More”.  Becoming more inclusive and enlarging our heart calls for self-emptying and letting go of fear, limitation and narrow interests just as God or Spirit did and continues to do in entering into the created world.

Medaille's concept of "the More", from 1650, seems to have similarities with the vision of Teilhard de Chardin, http://www.teilharddechardin.org/index.php/biography, another Jesuit. Teilhard , as scientist and priest-visionary in the 20th century, had the realization that “we are moving” and that “Love” is the heart and direction of cosmic, cultural and personal evolution calling us forward.  We are “on the way” led by a Great Love.

As S. Margo Ritchie has said, “The movement of evolutionary consciousness calls for deepened personal responsibility for moving beyond the places of impasse in our shared life on the planet.”  Please check out Margo’s blog at http://www.csjcanada.org/blog/2014/5/28/nothing-elitist-about-it.html

To learn more please join us at the Summer Symposium 2014, ‘Becoming Agents of Evolutionary Change’.  For details go to https://www.etouches.com/ehome/79110. Carter Phipps’ public keynote address at 7 pm Friday night will be held at the Kenny Auditorium, Kings’ College, London.

Mary Vandersteen, CSJ and Ann Steadman, Associate



Nothing Elitist About It

More and more thinkers, activists and scientists alike are recognising the link between the personal and the global. The movement of evolutionary consciousness calls for deepened personal responsibility for moving beyond the places of impasse in our shared life on the planet. In a nutshell, this describes the spirituality that makes sense in our lives. This spirituality moves us to know that our inner experience and our outer experience are all of one piece.

What are the spiritual practices that accompany this understanding of spirituality? For starters:

  •  Steep yourself in silence as a way to “detox” from our usual ways of thinking. See if there is anything there below the usual voices that might be akin to communion or solidarity.
  • Find ways to make contact with people whose world view differs from your own. We heard a good example of this in the CBC show Canada Reads in which Wab Kinew and Stephen Lewis engaged in enthusiastic disagreement about the book The Orenda. Each came from a particular world view. For the listener, we could not help but be stretched beyond our usual ways of thinking.
  • Nurture confidence in your capacity to contribute to a more inclusive neighbourhood, workplace, community movements.

Evolutionary consciousness is not an elitist movement in our culture. Actually, nothing could be more grass roots. Nothing could be more inclusive. Nothing could be more practical.

Margo Ritchie, CSJ


The Lives Our Lives Prepare

The Lives Our Lives Prepare

If we will have the wisdom to survive,

To stand like slow-growing trees

On a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…

Then a long time after we are dead

The lives our lives prepare will live here.

Excerpt from Wendell Berry, “A Vision”

This short excerpt by Wendell Berry captures in poetic form the heart of evolutionary consciousness. Beyond the language of evolutionary consciousness which can feel just a few steps beyond us at times, the concept is simple and profound. It is attractive and saturated with implication in our everyday lives.

We, as humans are not destined to be stuck in the grim places that keep us at war, that separate us, that leave us living with anxious expectation. We are capable of sensing our ultimate belonging to each other. We can know that we are part of a larger whole. We do care about life beyond our own particular life span.

There it is. The invitation to accept the responsibility to engage the life that is ours personally with all its challenges.

There it is. The commitment to be part of a larger planetary community that changes the course of history.

There it is. For now and for a long time after we are dead, what is the life our lives are preparing?

Margo Ritchie, CSJ




Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.