It surprises many that North America is experiencing a rapid and significant increase in intergenerational living arrangements. Some are choosing to live intergenerationally out of need. Others are embracing what is termed “cross-generational communities” that welcome toddlers to seniors, promising each age cohort the support and resources needed to thrive.
What of Religious Life today? Religious Life has always been intergenerational, yet the generations were more equally distributed across membership. In 2020 CARA reported that 87% of perpetually professed members are 60, while almost half of those in initial formation are under age 30. CARA also reports that new members strongly cite charism and community life as the factors that influenced them “very much” in entering Religious Life.
Religious Life is uniquely poised to intentionally embrace intergenerational living, making it a defining characteristic of its way of being in the world; choosing to make intergenerational relationships integral to its mission from “generation to generation.” This Pre-Congress workshop is designed for leadership, vocation and formation ministers, as well as those engaged in ongoing, life-long formation programs. The workshop we will explore some of the current research into the value and challenges of intergenerational living. Using a theological lens, we will examine this topic through the writings of Pope Francis, as well as the reflections of new members who have published their experiences of intergenerational living.
Topics will include:
• intergenerational community: “boomers” to “zoomers”
• fostering a culture of intergenerational living
• intergenerational living as “relational learning”
• intergenerational solidarity and the grace of resilience
• intergenerational dialogue: blessings and challenges
• and, best practices for healthy and holy communities.