In 2022, the Collegeville Institute returned to hosting in-person writing workshops and resident scholars while remaining attentive to pandemic numbers. In 2021-22 we continued our Emerging Writers Mentorship Program with five writers who expanded our community in wonderful ways and added depth to our content in Bearings Online. These writers, who work closely with a Collegeville Institute writing mentor for a year, are represented among our “most read” articles of the year.
There was no question the themes of many essays this year, including the most read ones, were grief, suffering, and loss. We are maybe more aware of these things given the stress and losses that have taken place during the pandemic, but also the essays offered ways of looking forward and drawing on faith. Toward the end of the year, we began receiving more pitches rooted in the word “hope,” and there is a feeling that a new day is breaking, including maybe new ways of being in meaningful community together as people of faith.
As you peruse the lists below, we hope you enjoy looking back at the Bearings Online articles and poems that our readers and staff have most enjoyed this year.
Top 5 articles published in 2022*
In this deeply personal essay, Christine Valters Paintner reflects on the impact of chronic illness on one’s vocation.
In a deeply divided country, Kai Ngu shows compassion for her immigrant parents’ beliefs and navigates their faith and relationships.
Shelly Matthews shares the insights of feminist biblical scholars into the Resurrection, especially as they explore questions of justice, authority, and presence.
A young couple receives an unthinkable cancer diagnosis. In addition to treating the cancer, they find ways to cope with, and even embrace, their grief.
Gerald Schlabach offers an ecumenical response to controversial church actions: It’s best not to justify your own tradition by comparing your own ideals to another’s realities.
Staff favorites from 2022
We asked several staff members to highlight an article or poem from this year that particularly resonated with them. Below are their responses.
The piece that particularly spoke to me this year was the lovely poem, “Are you Grieving?” by Marge Barrett. I read it numerous times and let the words sink into my soul.
My pick for this year is Duncan Hilton’s essay, “Reflections on Downward Mobility.” As someone who resigned from a good, stable university position to serve in the Appalachian Region of eastern Kentucky for the better part of a decade, one of the poorest regions of our country, I, too, have asked myself many of the questions Duncan posed in the essay. I, too, have reflected deeply on how to best live out my vocational calling. I, too, have struggled with what the gospel message calls me to. Thank you, Duncan, for helping me continue to think through and about what downward mobility means for me.
I love the way Ellie Roscher invites readers to pay closer attention to the gift of our bodies in her essay, “Crafting Your Body Story as Spiritual Experience.”
My favorite poem was “On the Holiest Day of the Year” by Bruce Black. I asked him in the summer for poems we could print during the high holy days of the Jewish calendar and was so happy by what he sent. In coming years, I’d love to feature poems on other traditions’ religious holidays.
Happy New Year from all of us here at the Collegeville Institute.
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