Embracing Transformation: Sister Julia Walsh’s Vision Unfolds at The Fireplace in Kenwood
In the heart of Kenwood, The Fireplace, a vibrant Catholic international living community, is thriving as a haven for artists, activists and the spiritually inclined. Started by Sister Julia Walsh in February 2021, this community provides an inclusive space for open dinners, discussions and various activities, attracting guests and organizations alike.
Originally a residence for priests, The Fireplace has evolved into a dynamic center for intentional living. Sister Julia envisions it as a respite for changemakers and creatives, aiming to prevent burnout through community and spiritual support. Despite a decline in church attendance in Chicago, The Fireplace’s network is on the rise, with attendees viewing it as more of a spiritual home than traditional congregations.
Taking inspiration from movements such as L’Arche, Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker Movement and the Franciscan tradition, The Fireplace embodies values of shared life, care for the poor and resistance to oppression. As residents near the Obama Family Home, they extend an open invitation to all, including former presidents, for a home-cooked meal and warm company. The Fireplace stands as evidence to the transformative power of intentional living and communal support.
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