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  • This Year's Seminar

JOHN MAIN Seminar

The Challenge TO Democracy: The Challenge OF Democracy

Nov 14-20 2022

online & in-person from Bonnevaux, France led by

Herman Van Rompuy

This year’s John Main Seminar will be led by a rare kind of politician – respected and admired by all parts of the global spectrum – who has devoted his life to the democratic process: Herman Van Rompuy. He has gained a unique knowledge of the world, its cultures, virtues and vices. His life has also been a spiritual journey, grounded in faith and leading him to a daily practice of meditation and to sharing in the mission of our community.

Herman van Rompuy is a Belgian politician who served as Prime Minister of Belgium and later as the first permanent President of the European Council, 2009 to 2014. Acknowledged as an international statesman of personal stature and wisdom, he also contributes to his fellow meditators in the WCCM. Because of his lifelong expertise in this form of poetry, he has been nicknamed Haiku Herman and this year was appointed by the Japanese government to the rank of Grand Haiku Master.

Democracy is too important to leave just to politicians.However imperfectly, democracy more than any other kind of government creates the conditions allowing humanity to reach its full potential. We all have to transcend personal interests in order to live in a democratic society and accept responsibility for our own freedom and future. It is also part of our spirituality because democracy is an ongoing conversation that demands truth, other-centredness and serves justice

What is the John Main Seminar?

The John Main Seminar has been an annual event since 1984. It was established to honour John Main’s memory and develop the influence of his teaching in new fields and dialogue with the modern world.

Presenters include the Dalai Lama, Bede Griffiths on John Main, Mary McAleese on Reconciliation of Conflict, Bernard McGinn on Christian Mysticism, Richard Rohr, Charles Taylor, Thomas Keating and Sarah Bachelard and multiple speaker events on The Crisis of Change and Indigenous Wisdom.

View talks from past seminars

How did the John Main Seminar start?

The first seven Seminars were held at the former Benedictine Priory of Montreal, beginning the year after John Main’s death. They were relatively small-scale events and the presenters were all prominent members of the Community with high standing in their professional fields.

The 1991 Seminar was a transformative event for the WCCM, inded the birth of the organisational aspect of the ‘monastery without walls’. It was held in New Harmony, Indiana. The participants were representative of a growing global family. The presenter was Bede Griffiths, the pioneer of interfaith dialogue and friend of John Main who spoke on Main’s vision of community under the theme of The New Creation in Christ. Immediately after the Seminar he remained with the leadership of the Community and contributed to a three-day process out of which the WCCM’s organizational and structural constitution were established.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama led the 1994 Seminar, The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teaching of Jesus. The resulting book, of the same title, containing his commentaries on the gospels and dialogues with Laurence Freeman and other Christian teachers became an international bestseller in many languages. His Holiness also headlined the roster of former John Main Seminar presenters at the new millennium Seminar held in Belfast, Northern Ireland. That event involved over 3000 participants making it the biggest single organizational seminar of the Community to date.

Other Seminar presenters include: Jean Vanier (France), Fr. William Johnston S.J.  (Japan), Laurence Freeman, OSB, Fr. Raimon  Panikkar (India), former President of Ireland Mary McAleese, Abbot Thomas Keating, Prof Huston Smith, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Bishop Kallistos Ware, Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, composer and singer Margaret Rizza, Robert Kennedy, SJ, James Alison, Timothy Radcliffe, OP, Philosopher and Theologian Leonardo Boff  & Frei Betto OFM (Brazil), Fr. Joseph Wong OSB Cam, Daniel Madigan, SJ, Professor David Tacey (Australia) and Alex Zatyrka SJ (Mexico).

 

Still Present: The Life and Legacy of John Main in 2007 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death. It featured a panel of speakers including Charles Tayor and Sarah Bachelard. Fr. Laurence. Cardinal Walter Kaspar was the keynote speaker at the 2008 Seminar in Germany on Unity: Local and Global.

 

The Seminar talks are framed by four periods of meditation a day and a final contemplative Eucharist. The WCCM’s Annual General Meeting is an integral part of this annual event. A three-day silent retreat led by Fr. Laurence is linked to Seminar.

  • Seminars Available For Purchase

JMS 1994: The Good Heart

The 11th annual John Main Seminar took place in London, UK, and welcomed The Dalai Lama as the featured speaker.

  • Past Seminars

John Main Seminar 2013

Fr. Joseph Wong OSB Cam was the speaker in the John Main Seminar 2013 with the theme Desert Wisdom & Oriental Spirituality: Inner Silence.

JMS 2011: Alive in Christ

The 28th John Main Seminar was hosted by WCCM Ireland in Cork, led Timothy Radcliffe OP former Master of the Dominican Order.

JMS 2003: Panel on Bede Griffiths

The 20th annual John Main Seminar took place in Reading, UK, and welcomed Andrew Harvey, Shirley Du Boulay, Bruno Barnhardt OSB Camspeakers as the featured speakers.

JMS 2001: Spirit in the Desert

The 18th annual John Main Seminar took place in Sydney, Australia, and welcomed Archbishop Rowan Williams as the featured speaker.

JMS 2000: The Way of Peace

The 17th annual John Main Seminar took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and welcomed The Dalai Lama & Previous Presenters as the featured speakers.

JMS 1998: Heart of the World

The 15th annual John Main Seminar took place in San Francisco, USA, and welcomed Thomas Keating as the featured speaker.

JMS 1997: Reconciled Being

The 14th annual John Main Seminar took place in Dublin, Ireland, and welcomed Mary McAleese as the featured speaker.

JMS 1995: On Jesus

The 12th annual John Main Seminar took place in San Diego, USA, and welcomed Laurence Freeman OSB as the featured speaker.

John Main Seminar 2013

Fr. Joseph Wong OSB Cam was the speaker in the John Main Seminar 2013 with the theme Desert Wisdom & Oriental Spirituality: Inner Silence.

JMS 2011: Alive in Christ

The 28th John Main Seminar was hosted by WCCM Ireland in Cork, led Timothy Radcliffe OP former Master of the Dominican Order.

JMS 2003: Panel on Bede Griffiths

The 20th annual John Main Seminar took place in Reading, UK, and welcomed Andrew Harvey, Shirley Du Boulay, Bruno Barnhardt OSB Camspeakers as the featured speakers.

JMS 2001: Spirit in the Desert

The 18th annual John Main Seminar took place in Sydney, Australia, and welcomed Archbishop Rowan Williams as the featured speaker.

JMS 2000: The Way of Peace

The 17th annual John Main Seminar took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and welcomed The Dalai Lama & Previous Presenters as the featured speakers.

JMS 1998: Heart of the World

The 15th annual John Main Seminar took place in San Francisco, USA, and welcomed Thomas Keating as the featured speaker.

JMS 1997: Reconciled Being

The 14th annual John Main Seminar took place in Dublin, Ireland, and welcomed Mary McAleese as the featured speaker.

JMS 1995: On Jesus

The 12th annual John Main Seminar took place in San Diego, USA, and welcomed Laurence Freeman OSB as the featured speaker.

JMS 1994: The Good Heart

The 11th annual John Main Seminar took place in London, UK, and welcomed The Dalai Lama as the featured speaker.

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