Welcome to the April 2014 Edition
of the Laconneau Quarterly Newsletter.


• Sentier de Laconneau 2014
• Feature Article
• La Maquisarde
• Laconneau Spring Festival
• Laconneau Magdalene Festival
• Recommended Reading
• Recommended Film
• Regional News
• Upcoming Laconneau Classes & Seminars
• Upcoming Local Circle Events
• Contact Laconneau


Saturday, September 20 – Monday, September 29, 2014


Students frequently ask where did the Tradition called Laconneau originate? Who started it? What is its real history? The answers to those questions lie in the Tradition’s mythology, a story inseparably intertwined with the history of the Languedoc itself. Starting nearly two thousand years ago on a beach in southern France, from the first footsteps on the seashore near what is now the little town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the founders then wound their way through the highlands of the Massif de la Sainte-Baume and, from there, westward into the mountain heartland of southwestern France then called Roman Gaul.

Since then, like the country itself, the Tradition has had a long, turbulent and, at times, bloody history. It has survived wars, crusades, invasion and centuries of persecution. It witnessed the blossoming of Occitan culture, and the rise and fall of Les Cathares, their tragic and deadly persecution, culminating in what is commonly perceived as their final extermination on the pyres of the Inquisition at Montsegur. The centuries that followed these terrible events saw the systematic destruction of Occitan culture at the hands of the Northern invaders and the Roman Inquisition, and the subsequent horrors and atrocities of the wars of religion. All through the centuries, silently and hidden in plain sight, Laconneau survived and continued its work, and its history and symbolism is written for all to see in the rocks and ruins of the Languedoc.

This autumn we are pleased to announce the Sentier de Laconneau, a pilgrimage aimed at taking its participants on a living journey through the history of the Tradition. Starting at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, we will retrace the steps of the Tradition’s founders that led eventually to its final home deep in the mountains of the Languedoc.

Our view of pilgrimage is a journey undertaken, not in an air-conditioned coach, but rather on foot in a manner that allows the participant to truly experience the land and its history. Participants on the Sentier de Laconneau will walk the trails and mountains that have for so long been the Tradition’s home and perhaps in so doing even discover something of great value hidden deep within themselves. We will also cater for those who, either by choice or necessity, would prefer a more relaxed and less strenuous trip. Each day, apart from our traditional hiking activity, those who wish to avail themselves of a less strenuous form of transportation than on foot will be able to tour the same sites by car in the company of a qualified guide who will provide historical background information and lectures on each site. All costs for both groups will remain as advertised.

For more information or to reserve your place, contact Alex at alexg@laconneau.org.


US human rights record chastised in UN report
By Matthew Weaver
Thursday 27 March 2014

The UN has delivered a withering verdict on the US's human rights record, raising concerns on a series of issues including torture, drone strikes, the failure to close Guantánamo Bay and the NSA's bulk collection of personal data.

The report was delivered by the UN's human rights committee in an assessment of how the US is complying with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], which has been in force since the mid 1970s.

The committee, which is chaired by the British law professor Sir Nigel Rodley, catalogued a string of human rights concerns, notably on the mass surveillance exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

It said the collection of the contents of communications from US-based companies under the Prism program had an adverse impact on the right to privacy. It added that the legal oversight of such programs had largely been kept secret and failed to protect the rights of those affected.

The UN committee urged the US to overhaul its surveillance activities to ensure they complied with US law and conformed to US obligations under the ICCPR.

The comments come as the Obama administration sets out how it proposes to end the mass collection of Americans' phonecall data and make the searching of records held by telephone companies subject to a court order.

In its 11-page report, the committee also criticised the US for failing to prosecute senior members of its armed forces and private contractors involved in torture and targeted killings.

It noted that only a "meagre number" of criminal charges had been brought against low-level operatives. It also expressed concern that all investigations into enforced disappearances and torture conducted under the CIA's rendition programme were closed in 2012, and that the details of the programme remained secret, creating barriers to accountability and redress for victims.

The US is urged to "ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention, or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in command positions, are prosecuted and sanctioned".

The committee was also scathing about Washington's legal justification for targeted killings using drones. The US claims such strikes, which have killed dozens of insurgents and civilians, are an act of self-defence as part of armed conflicts with al-Qaida and the Taliban. The committee criticised such justifications as too broad, and said it was unclear what precautionary measures were taken to avoid civilian deaths.

It urged the US to review the legal justification for drone strikes and said they should be subject to independent oversight.

The committee chides Obama for his failure to fulfil a commitment to close Guantánamo Bay. It notes that many detainees have been held there, and in military prisons in Afghanistan, for more than a decade without charge or trial. It calls on the US to speed up the transfer of detainees and ensure that any criminal cases are dealt with by the US justice system rather than a military commission.

The committee also expressed alarm about the continued use of the death penalty in 16 states, the "still high number" number of fatal shootings by certain police forces, notably in Chicago and the high proportion of black people in the country's jails.

Weaver, Matthew. US human rights record chastised in UN report. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/27/us-human-rights-record-chastised-un-report, March 27, 2014.


La Maquisarde is a political pamphlet, produced by women, to inspire political awareness and action at this critical point in human history. We welcome all women to submit articles, political opinion pieces and other political writings on topics about which they are passionate for publication in this pamphlet. We believe it is a critically important time for women to stand up, speak out and act! For more information and to submit articles and ideas, please contact Kristyn at kjohnson1737@gmail.com.


Friday, May 2 – Sunday, May 4, 2014
Greenville, NC
For students who have completed the Level I Course, "Teachings" Seminar, or "Enlightenment" Seminar

Spring Festival marks a time of rebirth in the natural world. As with the Autumn Festival, this is a time between dark and light, night and day, winter and summer. As with so many other spiritual traditions who celebrate this time of year, Laconneau has historically marked this time of the year with one of its three annual festivals.

This year, we are again holding the Spring Festival in full accord with the principles of our Tradition. Come join us for this wonderful weekend of community, workshops, Feminine Spirituality and festivities. Lend your voice to the power and love of other sisters and brothers who feel a burning need to see change in this world

For more information, please contact Rai at festival@laconneau.org.


Friday, July 18 – Sunday, July 20, 2014
Woodstock, VT

Each year our Tradition celebrates the feast of Mary Magdalene, to honor both the woman herself and the teachings she left behind in the form of The Gospel of the Beloved Companion, and also to remember our history and in particular the dreadful day when nearly 20,000 of our people were slaughtered by the Roman church and its crusaders at the town of Beziers on July 22, 1209. 

The festival is open to our larger community, both female and male, so that all Laconneau students can participate in this special event.

For more information, please email Renee at festival@laconneau.org.


by Jacques Lusseyran

And There Was Light is the little-known but thoroughly luminous autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, a blind man who discovered the gift of inner sight after losing his vision in a childhood accident--and then put his gift to use in the struggle against Nazism. Lusseyran allows us to glimpse both heaven and hell on Earth through the eyes of a man who has lived through both. His description of what it is like to ‘see’ as a blind man is fascinating and inspiring; his account of Buchenwald, where he was condemned to the living hell of the ‘Invalids’ Barracks,’ is one of the most anguishing fragments of Holocaust testimony that I have ever encountered.
~ Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times




50 Million Americans – 1 in 4 children – don't know where their next meal is coming from. A Place at the Table tells the powerful stories of three such Americans, who maintain their dignity even as they struggle just to eat. In a riveting journey that will change forever how you think about the hungry, A Place at the Table shows how the issue could be solved forever, once the American public decides - as they have in the past - that ending hunger is in the best interests of us all.


News from the Carolinas:
In the first quarter of 2014, the Greenville Circle has shown the films Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, I Am and The Good Fight. The Circle has commenced an ongoing discussion on God Makes the Rivers to Flow: Selections from the Sacred Literature of the World by Eknath Easwaran.

Every Friday, Greenville Circle members are invited to attend a Community Meditation, from 5:30PM to 6:15PM in the Chapelle. If you would like to use the Chapelle at other times, please contact Kathy at 252.933.3798.

The Greenville Circle is pleased to host the seminar entitled Enlightenment: The Magdalene’s True Legacy? on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00PM and continuing on Wednesday, April 30 at 7:00PM. This is the first time this seminar has been presented in North Carolina! We invite women and men to attend this remarkable seminar. For more information and to register, please contact Kathy at the.carolinas@laconneau.org.

The Greenville Circle is also preparing to host the Laconneau Spring Festival, which will take place from Friday, May 2 to Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The Greenville Circle hosts regularly scheduled film screenings, meditations, day hikes, and community meals. Through these efforts, we continue to build a community of strong women dedicated to changing themselves and the communities in which they live. All women are invited to attend any Laconneau event and men are welcome at select Laconneau events. For more information about Laconneau events in the Carolinas, please contact Kathy at The.Carolinas@laconneau.org.

Colorado News:
In January, the Denver Circle hosted an evening book discussion of the Gospel of the Beloved Companion: The Complete Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Participants were engaged in the readings and the discussion about the Gospel was lively.

In February, the Denver Circle hosted the seminar entitled The Gospel of the Beloved Companion: An Introduction as well as a Level I Introductory Course.  Both the seminar and the class were well attended by enthusiastic participants. On the Friday evening prior to these two events, the Denver Circle hosted an “Author Meet & Greet” as an introduction to The Gospel of the Beloved Companion and Laconneau. This event was also well attended and well received.

The Denver Circle has initiated community meditation nights, which began in March. Meditations are being held on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at a private residence in old Englewood. For more information about our meditation evenings, please contact Jude at CO@laconneau.org.
The Denver Circle looks forward to hosting another weekend of classes beginning on Friday, August 22, 2014. Specific details about the classes will be sent out prior to that weekend, but if you would like additional information, please contact Jude at CO@laconneau.org.

Georgia News:
Since January, the Georgia Circle has hosted Women’s Circles, Community Circles and film screenings. We screened Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, I Am, and The Good Fight. The films have been followed by discussions that serve to inform and fuel the political action that we are taking. We will continue to show a range of films throughout the year. Please refer to the Georgia calendar for specific information about the upcoming film screenings, or contact Carol at GA@laconneau.org.

In accordance with our increasing focus on political activism and our commitment to furthering the cause of social justice locally, three members of the Georgia Circle completed a class with a local organization that is committed to ending Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) throughout the United States. We look forward to continuing our training and our involvement with this important issue.

On Saturday, April 5, 2014, the Georgia Circle hosted the seminar entitled Enlightenment: The Magdalene’s True Legacy?. Then, on Sunday, April 6, 2014, we hosted a Laconneau Level I Introductory Course. Both classes were well received by all who attended.

The Georgia Circle continues to host regularly scheduled film screenings and discussions, meditations, art history outings, archery, and hikes to which all women are welcome. Please refer to the Georgia calendar on the Laconneau website for specific information about upcoming Laconneau events in Georgia.

For more information about Laconneau events in Georgia, please contact Carol at GA@laconneau.org.

Illinois News:
The Chicago Circle has held monthly film screenings and meditations since June 2013. Women in attendance have expressed that these events and the growing sense of community have contributed in a meaningful way to their lives. Specifically, one community member said, “It brings me back to a part of myself I used to express a lot more.” Another woman who has attended several events expressed: “I love the idea of a community of like-minded women who are supportive and kind to one another.”

Our first weekend of classes took place March 22 and 23rd, 2014 with the seminar, The Gospel of the Beloved Companion: An Introduction and a Laconneau Level I Introductory Course. It was a very successful weekend! The attendees were highly engaged and expressed their interest in and gratitude for the Teachings.

Our next weekend of classes will take place in August with The Gospel of the Beloved Companion: An Introduction on Saturday, August 2, 2014 and the Level I Introductory Course on Sunday, August 3, 2014. For more information about the August classes, please contact Seoka at illinois@laconneau.org.

The Chicago Circle continues to host regularly scheduled meditation, film screenings and Women’s Circles. In addition, we are planning hiking events as well as a community service project in the coming months.

For more information about Laconneau events in Illinois, please contact Seoka at illinois@laconneau.org.

Pennsylvania News:
The Philadelphia Circle hosted a film screening of Sophie Scholl: The Final Days in January that was followed by a lively discussion about the importance of standing for one's convictions. In February, the Philadelphia Circle hosted a film screening of I Am. The screening was very successful having been well received by all. It inspired extensive and productive discourse concerning the difference one person can make. Then, in March, the Philadelphia Circle screened The Good Fight, which provided the opportunity to continue our ongoing conversation about socio-political activism. All women are invited to attend all of our film screenings. We look forward to screening A Place at the Table in April. For more detailed information about our upcoming film screenings, please refer to the Pennsylvania calendar on the Laconneau website or contact Dana at PA@laconneau.org.

The Philadelphia Circle hosts regularly scheduled meditations that provide a space for individual spiritual growth while also building community and comradeship. These events are well attended and well received. We invite all women to participate.

Women in the Philadelphia Circle are involved in the publication of La Maquisarde. We are currently writing articles and promoting the upcoming publication.

The Philadelphia Circle is pleased to announce it will be holding classes in the Philadelphia area on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1. The seminar entitled Mary Magdalene: The Beloved Companion will take place at 10:00AM on Saturday, May 31 and the Level I Introductory Course will take place at 10:00AM on Sunday, June 1. For more specific information and to register, please contact Dana at PA@laconneau.org.

Please refer to the Philadelphia calendar on the Laconneau website for detailed information about our upcoming events. The Philadelphia Circle hosts regularly scheduled meditations, film screenings, Women's Circles and book discussions to which all women are welcome.

For more information or to attend any of the Laconneau events in Philadelphia, please contact Dana at PA@laconneau.org.

Washington, DC News:
The Washington, DC Circle hosted the seminar entitled Enlightenment: The Magdalene's True Legacy? on Saturday, March 8, 2014 and a Laconneau Level I Introductory Course on Sunday, March 9, 2014.  Participants came from Vermont, Philadelphia, and North Carolina, as well as the Metro DC area.

In addition to regularly scheduled Community Circles and Women's Circles, the Washington, DC Circle is regularly hosting open meditations to which all women are invited. These meditation evenings have been very well received. The next open meditation will take place on Monday, April 21 at 7:30PM in Washington, DC.

The Washington, DC Circle invites all women to attend its classes and events. For more information about the Laconneau events in Washington, DC, please contact Rebecca at WashingtonDC@laconneau.org.


APRIL 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Enlightenment: The Magdalene's True Legacy? 7:00PM
Greenville, NC
For more information, please contact the.carolinas@laconneau.org

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Enlightenment: The Magdalene's True Legacy? (Continued) 7:00PM
Greenville, NC
For more information, please contact the.carolinas@laconneau.org

MAY 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014
Mary Magdalene: The Beloved Companion 10:00AM
Philadelphia, PA
For more information, please contact PA@laconneau.org

JUNE 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014
Level I Introductory Course 10:00AM
Philadelphia, PA
For more information, please contact PA@laconneau.org


To view the calendar of Laconneau events in your area, please refer to your regional calendar online.

For events in Colorado, visit:
Colorado Region Coordinator: Jude – CO@laconneau.org

For events in Georgia, visit:
Georgia Region Coordinator: Carol – GA@laconneau.org

For events in Illinois, visit:
Illinois Region Coordinator: Seoka – illinois@laconneau.org

For events in North Carolina, visit:
Carolinas Region Coordinator: Kathy –  the.carolinas@laconneau.org

For events in Pennsylvania, visit:
Pennsylvania Region Coordinator: Dana –  PA@laconneau.org

For events in South Carolina, visit:
Carolinas Region Coordinator: Kathy –  the.carolinas@laconneau.org

For events in Washington, DC, visit:
Washington, DC Region Coordinator: Rebecca – WashingtonDC@laconneau.org


Please contact your coordinator with questions or updated regional information.

In France: Region Coordinator (Coordonnateur de Région): 
Martine - contact@laconneau.org

Laconneau Adminstrator: Alex - alexg@laconneau.org

In the Carolinas: Kathy - the.carolinas@laconneau.org

In Colorado: Jude – CO@laconneau.org

In Georgia: Carol – GA@laconneau.org

In Illinois: Seoka – Illinois@laconneau.org

In Pennsylvania: Dana - PA@laconneau.org

In Washington, DC: Rebecca -WashingtonDC@laconneau.org

Contact Information Online:

Please visit our website, http://www.laconneau.org, for the complete calendar, further articles, Laconneau’s history and additional information.