By Phileena Heuertz and Caroline Triscik

Phileena Heuertz: Contemplative Activism

“I couldn’t help but just stop and pause and consider, what would it be like if I had adopted similar spiritual practices [to those of Mother Teresa] that could really sustain my presence and my work in the world? And thus began this exploration really around the connection between contemplation and action. — Phileena Heuertz


In July at The Well, we had the opportunity to share excerpts from a book we enjoyed and learned from this year.  We caught up with Phileena Heuertz, author of Mindful Silence: The Heart of Christian Contemplation, to chat about her journey from justice work to contemplation and the “mixed life” for this episode of the podcast. One of the reasons we were attracted to this book is the number of women we meet who have been formed in their relationships with Phileena and her work in the world and with prayer. We hope you learn from her invitation to contemplation as well.
 

"Last summer (for the first podcast I ever hosted!), I interviewed Kathy Khang about her book Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up. To prepare for that episode, I read her book sitting in the lobby of a dance studio while my daughter was in her tap dance lesson, to the sound of children tapping their hearts out on the wood dance floor. This summer, fittingly, I read Mindful Silence while my daughter took ballet lessons, much calmer and quieter than tap. Phileena’s book invites us to slow down and consider contemplative practices to connect with Jesus.

"So to conclude our summer special at The Well, join us in listening in on our interview with contemplative activist Phileena Heuertz as she offers thoughts on the way she avoids burnout and finds Christ as the source of her strength through contemplative practices."

Caroline Triscik

You can listen on iTunes or at All Shall Be Well: Conversations with Women in the Academy and Beyond. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Links mentioned in this interview: 

About the Author

Phileena Heuertz is the author of Pilgrimage of a Soul and a founding partner of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism. For nearly twenty years she and her husband, Chris, codirected an international nonprofit in more than seventy countries, building community among victims of human trafficking, survivors of HIV and AIDS, abandoned children, and child soldiers and war brides.

Spiritual director, yoga instructor, public speaker, retreat guide, and author, Phileena is passionate about spirituality and making the world a better place. She has led contemplative retreats for a number of faith communities, including Word Made Flesh, World Vision International, and Compassion International. In addition, she is sought after as a speaker at universities, seminaries, and conferences such as Q, Catalyst, Urbana, and the Center for Action and Contemplation. Phileena was also named an “Outstanding Alumni” by Asbury University and one of Outreach magazine’s “30 Emerging Influencers Reshaping Leadership.”

Caroline has served with InterVarsity since 2002 as a campus staff member in northwest Indiana and most recently in central Pennsylvania. She received her bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on creative writing from Purdue University in 2002 and is currently working toward a master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Messiah College. Caroline, her husband, John, and their three children live in “the sweetest place on earth,” otherwise known as Hershey, Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she likes to read, discover new music, and attempt to train her uncontrollably exuberant Labrador retriever, Pax. Caroline is an associate with Women in the Academy and Professions.

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