Befriending Our Fears in the Way of Saint Francis

Befriending Our Fears in the Way of Saint Francis

Saturday, October 2

9:30am to 3:00pm EDT

Free, suggested donation $20

Register to attend in person:

Register to attend online at this link.

The Center for Spiritual Imagination welcomes Francis of Assisi expert Jon M. Sweeney to the Cathedral of the Incarnation. Join Jon on Saturday from 9:30am to 3:00pm for a day of conversation, meditation and spiritual practice. On Sunday, Jon will preach at all cathedral services and lead a forum on Saint Francis.

St. Francis understood soldiers and fools, mothers and fathers, business people and rulers, poets and court entertainers, pastors and criminals. He was, at one time or another, in one way or another, all of these. And the spiritual path he discovered is the way of faith made tangible, and perhaps more relevant for our times than it was in his own day.

The overriding message of his life and teachings—which we’ll celebrate all weekend, since it is the weekend of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi—begins and ends with the story of Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio. Jon will open up this story to us with vivid, contemporary detail, and he’ll explain how the spiritual practice of Francis is an invitation to embrace the wolf: to consider another viewpoint, to befriend our fears, to see ourselves in another, and to discover something new.

Jon will encourage us, with examples from his own life, to touch what is frightening, refuse power, live as if we have nothing to lose, listen to our inner animal, pray with the moon, walk more lightly on the ground, and turn toward what is simple. Francis of Assisi is the world’s most popular saint, and this weekend you’ll discover how he illuminated a peaceful path forward for those of us navigating today’s precarious times.

Jon M. Sweeney is an award-winning spiritual writer. The author of thirty-five books including The Complete Francis of Assisi, Meister Eckhart’s Book of the Heart (with Mark S. Burrows), Thomas Merton, and Feed the Wolf: Befriending Our Fears in the Way of Saint Francis, he is considered an authoritative voice on the life and spirituality of Saint Francis. A Catholic, he is married to a rabbi, and their interfaith marriage has been profiled in national media. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife and daughters. Twitter: @jonmsweeney; Instagram: @jonm.sweeney.

Other Upcoming Events

Tuesdays beginning September 28

8:00pm to 8:45pm EDT


Join us online or in person at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, New York for our Tuesday night contemplative prayer service, including guided meditation and beautiful ancient chants. Click below for more info and details on how to join us online. We are taking a break for the summer and will resume our weekly gathering on Tuesday, September 28.

First Tuesday of the Month beginning October 5

7pm EDT


Each month we will engage in a conversation with some of the leading voices of contemplative spirituality. These dialogues will deeply inform the ways in which we apply our practice of contemplative prayer to respond to the social and ecological challenges facing our world. 

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