Welcome!  

If you’ve come to this website because you too are in search of new ways to bring about change, permit me to introduce you to this site and the mission and work of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue.

Founded in 2002, ICCD seeks new ways of engaging the impasse that many persons experience as they struggle to bring about systemic change in societal and ecclesial arenas. Since its beginning ICCD has recognized that all the usual ways of addressing such “no way out situations” are inadequate. ICCD believes that the only way to address these situations is to bring them to the deep inner resources of contemplation.

ICCD believes we are living in a critical time for the evolution of our planet—a chaos point where breakdown or breakthrough occurs. ICCD’s work has brought hundreds of people to a new understanding of how to be and act in responding to the growing injustices within our world.

ICCD’s major program, Engaging Impasse: Circles of Contemplation and Dialogue® invites participants to look at impasse from the perspective of communal contemplation and dialogue; to face into one’s fears as to why the impasse evoked in them such feelings; and to imagine another way of being and doing. When you have finished reading this Welcome, I invite you to click on the ICCD Programs menu and visit the Engaging Impasse Circles program where you will find an overview of how as it has evolved through the years and a rich library of articles on Contemplation, Dialogue, Impasse, Globalization, New Cosmology, and more that will enrich your own contemplative moments.

Exercising Contemplative Power is the focus of ICCD’s second decade. The goal of the program is twofold:

1. to continue the engaging impasse process which has been the keystone of the Institute’s work; and

2. to provide opportunities, processes and reflections so as to accelerate the growth in consciousness needed for transformation through a process of communal contemplation and dialogue.

Believing that we are living at the chaos point there is the opportunity for     breakthrough rather than continued breakdown. More and more people need to tap into their deep knowing that something is wrong and that a needed response must come from the deep place of one’s divine indwelling. Imagining new ways of being and doing rooted in a communal contemplative process is an urgent need in our church and in our world. Without that commitment to contemplative practice the shifts in our consciousness that we so need to “take a long loving look at the real” will not happen. Without the transformation of consciousness we will be stuck in an old way of seeing that fosters duality and separation rather than unity and connectedness. With contemplative practice we are “putting on the mind of Christ” – Christ consciousness.

Exercising Contemplative Power is both the focus for the next phase of the Institute’s work as well as the name of a new program. Through this program those who have participated in the Engaging Impasse Circles and others with whom ICCD’s vision and values resonate reflect together on how we exercise contemplative power in relation to various issues. When you finish reading this Welcome, I invite you to visit the Exercising Contemplative Power section under ICCD Programs. There you can join in the reflections and contemplative conversations via the Exercising Contemplative Power Blogs.

Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty is another exciting program for our second decade. This one-day program is being offered around the country. We want to offer this opportunity to more people. Read about what being a sponsor entails and contact us at the e-mail provided. We have designed a follow-up process for those who participate. Access to that part of the web site is currently restricted to those who are engaged participants. Some reflections or discussions may be posted for general use. When you have finished reading this Welcome, I invite you to visit the Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty section under ICCD Programs.

We will continue to post new Reflections and Recommended Reading by ICCD staff and invite others to present offerings which will move us forward in deepening our evolving consciousness. For those of you who are already part of the ICCD community you may want to reread these reflections in light of your current experience. You may feel you want to comment on something. You can do so directly from this site.

We know the task of transformation does not happen in isolation. We hope that this web site will be a source of support, enrichment, networking, and creativity for those of us who believe deeply in communal contemplation and dialogue as a way of evolving our consciousness.

We hope you like this website and if you do would you tell your friends. Would you click “Like” on FACEBOOK and ask your friends to do the same.

Nancy Sylvester, IHM

© 2012 Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Reprint with permission iccdinstitute@aol.com

ICCD Offerings

Contemplative Sitting Network

…We are reminded of Dorothy Soelle’s words:

“Contemplation sees things as God sees them and leads to an active resistance to evil.”

We recognized that although we each exercise our own contemplative power, we want to grow in our capacity to exercise it together. The Contemplative Sitting Network gives us an opportunity to move more deeply into both of these realities…..

Read More


ECP: Human Trafficking

…human trafficking—the second largest criminal enterprise and the fastest-growing crime in the world. This complex, hidden reality affects women, children and men, foreign-born and US citizens, and includes commercial sex and labor trafficking in epidemic proportions in virtually every nation and, as a friend and survivor says, “in every zip code” in the US.

The crime of human trafficking thrives in a culture that has become desensitized to sexuality and is always in search of the next bargain….  Read More


Contemplation: A Call to All

When I was a little girl I loved to say my prayers. The prayer books available to Catholics in the ‘50s were varied and lovely. Some had gold edges; others gave you ribbons to mark your favorite passages. Sitting in the gently enfolding darkness of the church with a hint of beeswax or incense in the air invited God’s presence into your life.  Read More

Contemplate This

National Catholic Reporter

 Nancy Sylvester, IHM

Contemplate This

Nancy Sylvester, IHM, Executive Director of ICCD was approached by the National Catholic Reporter to offer a monthly reflection to be included in the Spirituality Section of the Global Sisters Report.  “Contemplate This” includes her stimulating and thought-ful reflections that may help you on your own journey.  Read more


Engaging Impasse

Impasse might not be a familiar word for you. But see if the following questions resonate with you. As you reflect on your life on this planet do you experience a sense of powerlessness, a feeling that things have gotten so complex that you don’t have the answers anymore? Do you feel a sense of futility as you continue your work of transformation, a realization that all the ways you know for effecting change and influencing others are not enough–they are not adequate–they just aren’t working? Do you experience a low-grade anger or a grief that never leaves you?   Read More

When Words Don't Work

Have you ever said, “That word doesn’t work anymore,” when you were trying to explain something? You had to fish around for a word, a phrase that might capture what you wanted to say because you realized that the old way of talking about things didn’t quite match your experience. Such a moment brings home to me the power of words, of language.  Read More


Would You Stop Staring....

My aunt had a cottage in Michigan City, Ind., and she would let each of her sisters with their families have the use of it for two weeks during the summer months.  Read more.