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Center for Action and Contemplation

Radical Grace: Honoring Vanessa Guerin’s 20 years of Service to CAC 

February 14th, 2024
Radical Grace: Honoring Vanessa Guerin’s 20 years of Service to CAC 

The best way out is always through. —Robert Frost 

I can’t believe that it’s been twenty years since I was invited to join the small CAC staff. There were twelve of us then, accomplishing a large amount of work with the support of work interns and volunteers. Today, there are almost fifty gifted and carefully vetted staff members; the history of the CAC Internship Program is tucked away in the archives; and the many faithful volunteers I once managed have not been needed to support CAC’s many mailing projects and events since before the onset of the pandemic. 

We’ve been through a lot of changes and transitions in the past several years, including Fr. Richard retiring from his central position as founder and animator of the CAC, in addition to stepping aside as Dean of the Living School. New programs have been introduced, and most members of the staff now work remotely. I doubt that the early staff members, work interns, and volunteers would even recognize the CAC today. 

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience these many changes and transitions. I was initially hired as the volunteer coordinator. Within the year, I began facilitating events and eventually became the editor of Radical Grace, the CAC’s first publication—three separate, yet simultaneous, positions. In the early days, nothing seemed daunting. The work was all indeed radical grace. 

We were publishing extraordinary authors in that initial humble publication, which we referred to as RG—a publication that Fr. Richard initiated the year the CAC was launched, over thirty-five years ago. Because of the high level and quality of writing, Radical Grace eventually birthed two successor publications: Oneing, the CAC’s biannual literary journal; and the Mendicant, CAC’s development newsletter. Additionally, I managed the editorial process for numerous books through CAC Publishing and three external publishers of Richard Rohr’s works. I had the good fortune to do much of this in collaboration with my stellar assistant editor, Shirin McArthur, and gifted designer, Nelson Kane. 

By the time you read this, I will have moved through and out of the CAC’s always “open door” to new adventures, following a long period of discernment and strong tugs by the Hound of Heaven. I am leaving my beloved work in fine hands. Although I will miss the CAC dearly, I carry many wonderful and challenging memories through what I like to call French doors.  

Indeed, “The best way out is always through.” 

Vanessa Guerin 

This reflection appears in the Winter 2024 issue of the Mendicant, our quarterly donor newsletter.

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