The Blessed Mary Angela Institute for Contemplation, Action and Transformation was founded at Felician University in 2015. Through an initial endowment provided by the Felician Sisters of Our Lady of Hope Province. The vision of the Blessed Mary Angela Institute is the Contemplative-Active spirituality of the Felician Sisters. That spirituality is expressed in the mission of the Felician Sisters as they cooperate with Christ in the spiritual renewal of the world.
Rooted in Contemplative-Active Spirituality, the purpose of the Institute is to respond to the concerns and needs of the Church and Society through Contemplative Dialogue which leads to a deeper reflective understanding that guides practical Action resulting in Transformation of the person and society.
Contemplative Dialogue begins with prayer that nurtures and sustains lives of service and transformation. It calls those engaged in the Dialogue to reflect on the world and on the social issues of our time in much the same way as Blessed Mary Angela considered the people of her time who were in need or who had been forgotten by society.
Contemplative Dialogue challenges those who are engaged in it to listen reflectively to all sides of an issue and to search for the words that best express the needs of those who may be voiceless in our society. Contemplative Dialogue brings us into conversations that are intended to shape relationships rooted in the cooperation with Christ in the spiritual renewal of the world and at times, in the transformation of the ways in which we live and work and are in relationship with one another. Contemplative Dialogue opens pathways for consideration of Restorative Justice in difficult situations, either personal or social and allows for all involved to have a voice in the work of transformation.
The Felician Core Values for Ministry serve to inform and transform the work of the Institute in as much as all dialogue rooted in prayer becomes expressive of a respect for human dignity that leads to taking a compassionate stance of solidarity with the poor and vulnerable as actions grounded in Contemplative Dialogue are also grounded in a desire for peace and justice and doing the work of restorative justice so that true transformation can occur within the individual and with the societal issue(s) being examined.
As part of Felician University, The Blessed Mary Angela Institute will invite members of the University community and the local communities to engage in the process of Contemplative Dialogue that leads to Transformative Action. The Institute will engage and collaborate with the various Schools, programs and co-curricular activities to assist individuals and groups in examining on-going projects and activities in ways that bring about a deeper, richer understanding of the University’s Felician Franciscan mission. The Institute will also develop opportunities for examining the ways in which both Contemplative Dialogue and Restorative Justice can bring about peaceful resolution to conflict. Contemplative Dialogue in these instances may lead to action within the University that enables members of the community to develop a deeper understanding of the Felician Core Values. It can also become a conduit for outreach to the community and the larger society as reflection leads to action and transformation. This outreach can take the form of service to the poor; advocacy for those who are not able to voice their own needs and servant leadership, just to begin to name the possibilities.