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Nancy Sylvester, IHM

Nancy Sylvester, IHM founded the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue in 2002 in response to her experiences working for justice and right relationships in church and in society. She serves as President of the Institute and as Executive Director of its major project, Engaging Impasse: Circles of Contemplation and Dialogue®. Nancy contributed to and is co-editor of the book, Crucible for Change: Engaging Impasse Through Communal Contemplation and Dialogue. Nancy brings to this project her commitment to dialogue and collaborative work style and her belief that the impasse being experienced currently in the work of transformation of church and society requires a contemplative response.

Nancy completed her three-year term as President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 2001 and served as vice president of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, MI from 1994-2000. She served on staff of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, from 1977-1992, first as researcher, then lobbyist and beginning in 1982 as National Coordinator and board member of NETWORK. Prior to NETWORK, Nancy taught secondary education in the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area.

Nancy is an author and known speaker having addressed diocesan conferences, university institutes, assemblies of women religious and major national and international conferences. She has lectured widely on a number of topics including: contemplation, the transformation of consciousness, living in a time of chaos, societal shifts in the world and church; leadership for transformation; the new universe story; and Catholic social justice teaching. Nancy designs and facilitates processes related to the Engaging Impasse project.

Nancy has served as advisor on the United States Bishops’ International Policy Committee. She has served on the National Board of Mary’s Pence; the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, where she was a founding member; the National Board of the Africa Faith and Justice Network; the National Governing Board of Common Cause and on the Board of Trustees of Marygrove College, Detroit, MI.

Nancy did her undergraduate work at St. Louis University majoring in philosophy and political science. Her graduate degree, from St. Mary’s University, Winona, MN, is in human development with a concentration in economics and theology.

Nancy loves to dance, sing show tunes, and read mysteries. She enjoys being by the water and walking in nature.

Nancy can be reached at or

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