The Collegeville Institute is committed to exploring and strengthening the link between ecumenical and cultural work. This commitment might best be expressed by Collegeville Institute board member and longstanding leader within the ecumenical movement, the late Br. Jeff Gros, FSC, as he defined direct ecumenism:
“Direct ecumenism is not merely theological. It also deals with images and art, providing a reconciling vision in fiction, music, poetry and the variety of visual arts; with events, especially, but not only with, worship; with rituals like pilgrimages, family practices, civic witness, and so forth; and a host of other elements of the human project informed by and directed toward the ministry of reconciliation.”
The Collegeville Institute’s commitment to cultural undertakings is expressed, much like our commitment to ecumenism, through lived relationships and daily life. In our residential program, we welcome resident and short-term scholars who are not only committed to academic scholarly work but also those committed to the arts. In 2011 we welcomed our first Artist-in-Residence, James Powers. During his full year stay, James, a visual artist, offered an exhibition of his work entitled, The Rendering of Other Worlds: An Exhibition of Computer Art. Most recently, we have welcomed painters, woodworkers, and illustrated journal artists.
The natural beauty of the Institute’s setting, its relationship to the monastic communities, and its connection to the university and college make the Collegeville Institute ideal for those committed to cultural work. Saint John’s Abbey and University is home to renowned master potter, Richard Bresnahan; the recently completed, hand-written, hand-illuminated Saint John’s Bible; the 150 year-old practice of sustainable, handcrafted woodworking; and numerous shows, concerts and exhibits through the Fine Arts Series.