St. Catherine University's Initiative for Contemplative Discipleship

The Initiative for Contemplative Discipleship

Our Lady of Victory Chapel on St. Catherine University's St. Paul, MN campus

As the recipient of  a $1,000,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., St. Catherine University will unite local Christian congregational leaders and learners to understand how to navigate changing social and cultural contexts through the two programs in the Initiative for Contemplative Discipleship.

Contemplative Communities for Spiritual Transformation

The Contemplative Communities for Spiritual Transformation program invites congregations to come together to explore mindful prayer and spirituality practices. Within groups, participants and congregants will be called to reflect on these faith experiences and support each other’s spiritual journeys to enhance mutual learning. This program will work with congregations to slow down and cultivate a deeper awareness of oneself, others, and God.

Discipleship in Practice and Theory

The Discipleship in Practice and Theory program supports congregations using their reawakened missions, values, and visions to reach out to a hurting world and engage with their surrounding communities and beyond.

Those in both programs will reconvene for retreats that will focus on the convergence of contemplation and discipleship in addressing topics like racial equity and a world of uncertainty.

Bill McDonough, professor of theology and graduate theology program director, is coordinating St. Kate's efforts in the grant.

About the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative

The program is funded through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative, launched in 2019 as part of Lilly Endowment's commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $93 million in grants through the initiative. The grants will support organizations as they work directly with congregations and help them gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.

St. Catherine University is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including Anabaptist, Baptist, Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Restoration, Roman Catholic and Orthodox, as well as congregations that describe themselves as nondenominational. Several organizations serve congregations in Black, Hispanic and Asian-American traditions.