Father Richard Rohr founded the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in October of 1987. Envisioning a “school for prophets” at the intersection of praxis and prayer, he created the CAC to be an educational nonprofit that introduces spiritual seekers to the Christian contemplative path of transformation. Since then, his vision, teachings, and partnerships have propelled CAC programs and inspired a movement for contemplative spiritual renewal.
As is common among founders, Fr. Richard has played many roles at the CAC. He was our first faculty member, and he served for many years as our foremost teacher, program developer, and community and partnerships builder.
However, at this stage in his life, Richard’s desire is to create space for the rest of us to step in and carry his work forward into the future. For several years, he has been engaged with CAC leadership in a gradual process of stepping back from public life. He has significantly reduced his speaking, travel, and day-to-day involvement in programming, and invited other members of our staff and faculty to assume new responsibilities.
“My life and ministry at CAC have exceeded anything I could imagine! I am so grateful to all our supporters for your trust over the years. At this stage in my life, I plan to continue teaching as I am able, but my desire is to make more space for others in our community to carry the mission forward. I thank you for being part of this movement for transformation, and offering our faculty and team the trust you have offered me. There is so much we still can and must do together in service to compassion and healing in our world.”
Moving forward, we are taking a significant step to formalize this ongoing transition. In addition to stepping back from his active duties at CAC, Fr. Richard is retiring as both Dean of our Core Faculty and as a voting member of the CAC’s Board of Directors to assume the role of Core Faculty Emeritus. He will continue to participate in some programming as his energy allows, but Fr. Richard will no longer assume any new or ongoing teaching commitments.
Considering how gradually his transition is unfolding, this step feels more like a formality than a major change to members of our team. Nonetheless, our hearts are filled with both grief and joy at the significance of the moment. We firmly believe the CAC’s integrity as an institution is a function of our faithfulness to what Fr. Richard founded us to be.
“At every step of this transition process, Richard has said again and again that he doesn’t want CAC to become a monument to the past, but he wants it to be a continuing movement. That means with our existing and future staff faculty, we need to keep the same momentum, vitality, and robustness of intellectual, spiritual, and theological work going. This is the greatest way we honor Richard’s beautiful legacy.”
– CAC Core Faculty Brian McLaren
Fr. Richard has been clear about his trust in our future. In a recent meeting, he offered our team wisdom St. Francis shared with his followers near the end of his life: “I have done what was mine to do. May Christ teach you what is yours!” That is exactly, Fr. Richard reflected, what he hopes for all of us.
It is a humbling charge to accept. Yet together, I know we will continue to build on our founding purpose: bringing forward the gifts of contemplative wisdom and practice in ways that help transform ourselves and our communities to co-create a world where everything — truly! — belongs.
We look forward to sharing more with our community in the coming months about how our programs and faculty will continue to grow and evolve to do that. In the meantime, we offer Fr. Richard a hands-on-heart bow of gratitude for inspiring all of us with this vision and giving us the tools and courage to keep working toward it, as one.
Peace and every good,
Center for Action and Contemplation
The Center for Action and Contemplation, its Core Faculty, and Board of Directors invite you to accompany us on this journey of transformation as we do the challenging work of reclaiming our founder’s vision for action and contemplation in a time of global change and contemplative renewal.
Returning to the Center will be an opportunity to reflect together with our community on our discoveries and growing pains as an institution on the path of praxis and prayer, action and contemplation. You can expect regular updates on our progress in this work as well as institutional history, community stories, staff essays, videos, and even opportunities to contribute. You will find the latest posts on our website as well as social media and in the News from New Mexico, the CAC’s monthly newsletter. We welcome your feedback!