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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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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 in the broad strokes of God’s presence throughout history as presented in the readings this evening. Genesis tells us that the earth was a formless…

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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, was teaching a literacy class while a soldier watched through an open window. After a while, he interrupted the class and, with a menacing voice,…

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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 level, we know the disruption caused by illness … or the death of a loved one …  or by an unexpected turn of events like…

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Retreat Centers and Transformational Change

By Susan Classen CoL / September 1, 2019 /

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 in June. Convened by the Fetzer Institute, whose mission is to “help build the spiritual foundation of a loving world,” ours was the last of…

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Motherhouse Entices Monarch Butterflies

By Susan Classen CoL / July 1, 2019 /

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, Infirmary physician Dr. Lida Oxnard brought a mesh cage with a dozen monarch caterpillars to the Motherhouse so that we could enjoy watching the metamorphosis…

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Emerging Forms/Emerging Mission

By Susan Classen CoL / November 1, 2018 /

(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 I was fascinated by tree roots growing around large boulders in their search for soil. Just as tree roots are drawn around obstacles toward the…

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Beef and Climate Change: A Continuum

By Susan Classen CoL / April 1, 2018 /

Does eating beef harm the planet? Many are asking that important question and, like most good questions, there is no clear answer. Think of a continuum ranging from beef choices that contribute to the problem of climate change to those that contribute to its solution. The placement of beef on that broad continuum is determined…

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Mission: Motherhouse Land Contributes to Climate Solutions

By Susan Classen CoL / March 1, 2018 /

I am intrigued by what I am learning about the role of land in mitigating climate change. Actually, challenged would be more accurate. I have been actively involved in fighting climate change for years, and my social activism has taken many forms. I resist pipelines, participate in lobby days, attend marches, write letters and sign…

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