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Susan Classen CoL

Susan has been a Loretto Co-member since 1996. She is the director of Cedars of Peace, a retreat center on the grounds of the Loretto Motherhouse. A passion for transformation is the common thread that weaves its way through her varied interests which include gardening, woodworking, retreat leading and involvement in Loretto’s Farm and Land Management Committee. Previously, she lived and worked in Latin America.
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A Fallow Time Reflection

By Susan Classen CoL / January 10, 2024 /
A red chair with a colorful quilt on top sits centered in the room of a small wood cabin.

By Susan Classen CoL and JoAnn Gates CoL Fallow time. Wintering. Call it what you will, only one out of every 10 living in the U.S. call the winter months…

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Reflection on the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Susan Classen CoL / July 16, 2023 /
Sprouts coming up from the soil.

Our readings this morning both challenge and reassure us.  We’re challenged to cooperate with change and reassured that God is with us calling forth life. The Gospel of Matthew was…

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View through a window

By Susan Classen CoL / May 1, 2023 /
Woman in warm clothing with hat and gloves helping spread soil on a sunny day.

Headlines about a 1984 seminal study linking human health to nature declared, “View through a window may influence recovery from surgery.” That early study found that hospital patients with a…

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Teamwork shows the future is bright

By Susan Classen CoL / April 1, 2023 /
A group of young volunteers smiling together in front of a school bus.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” If the days of the week of Feb. 10-17 are any…

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Reflection on the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord

By Susan Classen CoL / January 2, 2022 /

These words from Wendell Berry call to me this Epiphany Sunday: “And we pray, notfor new earth or heaven, but to bequiet in heart, and in eye,clear. What we need…

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Renewed Life at Cedars of Peace

By Susan Classen CoL / July 1, 2021 /
The ruminants of a wooden shed with a metal roof that had been destroyed in a tornado in a densely forested area.

On May 4 around 8:15 p.m., a narrow band of straight-line wind tore through Cedars of Peace with tornado-like force. Heeding the last-minute tornado warning, JoAnn Gates and I were…

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Reflection on the Easter Vigil, April 3

By Susan Classen CoL / April 3, 2021 /
Sunlight shines through the window in the Motherhouse Church

“And.”  A…N…D… That’s the most important word to remember from my reflections this evening.  With God, what looks like an ending is always followed by “and.”  We see that truth…

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Reflection on the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Susan Classen CoL / September 20, 2020 /

As I reflected on Jesus’ use of parables, I was reminded of an experience soon after I arrived to live and work in El Salvador. Felipa, a Poor Claire novice,…

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Reflection: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

By Susan Classen CoL / February 23, 2020 /

Disruption.  That’s the word that came to me as I reflected on our readings.  A disruption is a break or interruption in the normal course of events. On a personal…

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Retreat Centers and Transformational Change

By Susan Classen CoL / September 1, 2019 /
A large group photo of diverse individuals standing outdoors in front of large green trees.

How do retreat centers support transformational change? I was among the diverse group of retreat center directors and social movement leaders invited to discuss that question during a three-day meeting…

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Motherhouse Entices Monarch Butterflies

By Susan Classen CoL / July 1, 2019 /
A green field farm landscape picture with a brown wooden fence and large trees in the background.

The food supply for monarch butterflies received a boost at the Motherhouse in May with the planting of 4 acres of milkweed and other plants favored by pollinators. Last fall,…

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Emerging Forms/Emerging Mission

By Susan Classen CoL / November 1, 2018 /
Tall leafy trees in a shady forest.

(Editor’s Note: Part 1: A reflection at the one-year anniversary of the Nov. 4, 2017, vow celebration.) JoAnn Gates and I recently visited Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky where…

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