Welcome to ICCD

If you’ve come to this website because you too are in search of new ways to bring about change, permit me to introduce you to this site and the mission and work of the Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue.

Founded in 2002, ICCD seeks new ways of engaging the impasse that many persons experience as they struggle to bring about systemic change in societal and ecclesial arenas. Since its beginning ICCD has recognized that all the usual ways of addressing such “no way out situations” are inadequate. ICCD believes that the only way to address these situations is to bring them to the deep inner resources of contemplation.

ICCD believes we are living in a critical time for the evolution of our planet—a chaos point where breakdown or breakthrough occurs. ICCD’s work has brought hundreds of people to a new understanding of how to be and act in responding to the growing injustices within our world.

On this site you will find a rich library of reflections on key areas helpful to your work of transformation. I’d invite you to click on the tabs Contemplation, Impasse, Dialogue, Reflections and Readings. When you do you will find a number of short reflections under each of those areas. Those you will want to click on as well. All the reflections have a picture and some poetry to enhance your personal reflection on the topic. At the end of a reflection there is often an annotated bibliography for your use. Some of the reflection under are also in Spanish and French. You will find the Spanish and French words “Impasse” and “Dialogue” linked.  Click on each link Under the Contemplation tab you will also see Contemplate This which is the series of articles that I have written for the National Catholic Reporter’s blog: Global Sisters Report.

ICCD’s initial program, Engaging Impasse: Circles of Contemplation and Dialogue®  invited participants to look at impasse from the perspective of communal contemplation and dialogue and to imagine another way of being and doing. Evolving from those experiences, the focus for ICCD’s second decade is Exercising Contemplative Power (ECP). Continuing the work of the engaging impasse process we now provide opportunities, processes and reflections so as to accelerate the growth in consciousness needed for transformation through a process of communal contemplation and dialogue.

Click on the Exercising Contemplative Power tab and you will find a series of reflections on justice issues from the perspective of ECP as well as a summary of the first ECP conference. We were joined by Cynthia Bourgeault for the 2013 or second ECP conference. Under this tab you will be able to download the major presentations for a very small fee.

Another way in which we exercise contemplative power is the ICCD Contemplative Sitting Network. We are growing an international community of those willing to commit to sit in contemplation for 20 minutes daily between 6:00-7:30 am in whatever time zone you are in. We hope to be present in all time zones focusing our intention for personal, social and ecclesial transformation. Click on the Contemplative Sitting Network tab to read more about it and to join in!

ICCD programs include Engaging Impasse: Circles of Contemplation and Dialogue® and Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty. We periodically convene national gatherings to deepen our experience around our key focus. Other programs are tailored to meet the needs of groups interested in engaging impasse, the transformation of consciousness, listening and speaking from a contemplative heart and exercising contemplative power.

We know the task of transformation does not happen in isolation. We hope that this web site will be a source of support, enrichment, networking, and creativity for those of us who believe deeply in communal contemplation and dialogue as a way of evolving our consciousness.
We hope you like this website and if you do would you tell your friends. Would you click “Like” on FACEBOOK and ask your friends to do the same.
Nancy Sylvester, IHM
Founder and President
Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue

© 2014 Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Reprint with permission iccdinstitute@aol.com

ICCD Offerings

Contemplative Sitting Network

…We are reminded of Dorothy Soelle’s words:

“Contemplation sees things as God sees them and leads to an active resistance to evil.”

We recognized that although we each exercise our own contemplative power, we want to grow in our capacity to exercise it together. The Contemplative Sitting Network gives us an opportunity to move more deeply into both of these realities…..

Read More


ECP: Human Trafficking

…human trafficking—the second largest criminal enterprise and the fastest-growing crime in the world. This complex, hidden reality affects women, children and men, foreign-born and US citizens, and includes commercial sex and labor trafficking in epidemic proportions in virtually every nation and, as a friend and survivor says, “in every zip code” in the US.

The crime of human trafficking thrives in a culture that has become desensitized to sexuality and is always in search of the next bargain….  Read More


Contemplation: A Call to All

When I was a little girl I loved to say my prayers. The prayer books available to Catholics in the ‘50s were varied and lovely. Some had gold edges; others gave you ribbons to mark your favorite passages. Sitting in the gently enfolding darkness of the church with a hint of beeswax or incense in the air invited God’s presence into your life.  Read More

Contemplate This

National Catholic Reporter

 Nancy Sylvester, IHM

Contemplate This

Nancy Sylvester, IHM, Executive Director of ICCD was approached by the National Catholic Reporter to offer a monthly reflection to be included in the Spirituality Section of the Global Sisters Report.  “Contemplate This” includes her stimulating and thought-ful reflections that may help you on your own journey.  Read more


Engaging Impasse

Impasse might not be a familiar word for you. But see if the following questions resonate with you. As you reflect on your life on this planet do you experience a sense of powerlessness, a feeling that things have gotten so complex that you don’t have the answers anymore? Do you feel a sense of futility as you continue your work of transformation, a realization that all the ways you know for effecting change and influencing others are not enough–they are not adequate–they just aren’t working? Do you experience a low-grade anger or a grief that never leaves you?   Read More

When Words Don't Work

Have you ever said, “That word doesn’t work anymore,” when you were trying to explain something? You had to fish around for a word, a phrase that might capture what you wanted to say because you realized that the old way of talking about things didn’t quite match your experience. Such a moment brings home to me the power of words, of language.  Read More


Would You Stop Staring....

My aunt had a cottage in Michigan City, Ind., and she would let each of her sisters with their families have the use of it for two weeks during the summer months.  Read more.