Welcome to the July 2013 Edition of the Laconneau
Quarterly Newsletter.


COMING SOON!!! La Maquisarde

• Vermont Community News
• Feature Article
• Laconneau Magdalene Festival
• Reflections on the 2013 Sentier de Vermont
• Recommended Reading
• Recommended Film
• Regional News
• Upcoming National Laconneau Classes/Seminars
• Upcoming Local Circle Events
• Contact Laconneau


Laconneau Vermont Project
Becomes the First
Laconneau Vermont Community

Barely eight months after the first exploratory meeting, in Greenville, NC, during the Autumn Festival, a Laconneau Vermont Community is taking shape. Drive three miles from The Green in Woodstock Village (out along an unpaved road), and you'll find an L-shaped house on 40 acres, where the first wave of Laconneau settlers are taking up residence this summer. Ten Sentier de Vermont participants chose the property in February, and four of us pooled our resources and bought it in May. Renée lives there now; June and Marge will arrive around August 1st; and Betty will be in before the Autumn Equinox.

"Green Mountain State" Makes Sense at Last
When the residents-to-be reunited in Woodstock this spring to buy the house, we were all, for the first time, seeing Vermont green—and intensely green, rich and lush. On the land we bought, lilacs at the height of their annual two-week riot threw fragrance everywhere, and we found blooming phlox, lots of foot-high perennials getting under way, apple trees in blossom, fat buds on the peonies near the house and, on the other side of the pond, carpets of pale-blue forget-me-nots.

We see lots of possibilities for the garden plots and pasture, the spring-fed pond, and the small mountain north of the house. We intend to create a Laconneau Chapelle, and to host the Magdalene Festival starting in July 2014. With the old-fashioned pre-Monsanto gardening now known as Permaculture(1), we plan to raise wholesome, organic veggies for ourselves and others, and keep bees, and grow mushrooms(2). We're investigating vermiculture (yup, worms). We'll work toward self-sufficiency and sustainability, and we are delighted that our electricity is generated from cow manure.(3)

We all look forward to communal life, living by the principles of our shared Laconneau Tradition. We intend for this house and land to always remain within the Tradition, to support our Work. We look forward to your questions and ideas, and your visits, and especially to the next waves of Laconneau settlers. We'll do everything we can to help you join us in Vermont, for a brief stay or for the rest of your life.

—Betty, Marge, Renée, and June

Consulted Works
1. "Permaculture Design Principles," David Holmgren and Richard Telford. http://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/, accessed July 2, 2012.

2. "Waitsfield Farmer Is Spreading the Word That Maple Log Grown Mushrooms Are Better," Burlington [Vermont] Free Press, October 7, 2011; accessed July 2, 2013. http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20111007/LIVING06/111006021/Waitsfield-farmer-spreading-word-maple-log-grown-mushrooms-better

3. "Green Mountain Power: Cow Power: How It Works," http://www.greenmountainpower.com/renewable/cow/how-it-works/, accessed June 1, 201


By Queen Rania Al Abdullah, CNN
Monday, June 17, 2013 

Editor's note: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah is queen of Jordan and has been an advocate for children's education for years in her country, across the region and around the world, working with such groups as UNICEF. This open letter to the girls of the world is part of the "Girl Rising" project. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world.

Dear Girls of the World,

Some of you will be familiar with the childhood rhyme, "What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of."

Marketing and stereotyping combine to have us believe that you're also made of pink dresses, pigtails, dolls, ringlets, ribbons, bows and tiaras. That you like cupcakes. That all you will want to be are wives and mothers. That you're more "inclined" to the arts and "better suited" to caring professions like teaching and nursing.

And, maybe, that's true for some. But my daughter Salma teaches me every day that there's so much more to you -- and for you.

Salma is 13, and I can count, on one hand (in fact, on one finger!), the occasions she's worn a dress -- and they've never been pink! Dolls always stayed on the shelf. She's happiest dribbling a soccer ball past her brothers and scoring goals or building model airplanes with her father. She dreams of being an engineer. That's my Salma; that's why I love her.

So, when I think about girls rising, I think of girls like her and her sister, Iman. I think of the millions of courageous girls all over the Arab world and beyond who, every day, summon inner strength, surmount barriers and make a difference in their communities.

Let me tell you about 16-year-old Wafa Al-Rimi.

Some days in Yemen, there's less than one hour of electricity, so studying is tough.

"We were tired of darkness," Wafa said in an interview.

Rather than accept defeat, though, she built foundations under her dreams. With help from business mentors, she formed an all-female company that created solar-powered lights. They won INJAZ Al-Arab's Best Company of the Year in November.

Wafa and her friends are part of a new generation of independent-thinking Middle Eastern girls: torch-bearers and trail-blazers.

Today, almost as many girls as boys attend primary and secondary school. In the majority of Arab countries where there's data, women outnumber men at university, and more women than men study science.

I see and I hear that determination to succeed every day in Jordan.

Recently, I visited a girls' school in the south of Jordan where 12-year-old Noor told me about her grandmother, a famous storyteller who narrated other people's stories. Noor was proud of her "teta," but she had her own dream.

"I want to be mayor," she said. "I want to build a library full of books; I want to build a park so that children can play safely."

Noor wanted to write her own story. I knew then that she, and girls like her, would write a new chapter for our region.

It won't be easy. We have a long way to go. Increases in girls' attendance at school and university are not yet reflected in politics, the job market or society's mindsets. And there are still 5 million girls out of primary and secondary school across the Arab world.

But as the political, social and economic plates shift and settle around our region, there's never been a better time for girls to rise up and share their talents with society. And, girls! Society has never needed you more.

We know that in every country around the world, healthy, educated girls can play a crucial role in stabilizing societies, resolving conflicts, bolstering democracies, strengthening economies and nurturing healthy and educated children.

But they can't do it alone.

Role models can inspire. Campaigns can motivate. But if we want all girls everywhere to rise up, then we must find them, befriend them and support them.

That means going outside our comfort zones. Maybe they're recovering from civil war in Sierra Leone, like Mariama -- now educated and a popular radio DJ. Maybe they're trapped in servitude in Nepal, like Suma -- now an activist working to free others. Maybe they're living in slums in India, like Ruksana -- now strong and in school. (Find out more about their stories.)

And it means using our voices to speak up for those who cannot yet be heard. Lobbying for girl-friendly policies. Working with governments, non-governmental organizations, U.N. agencies and the private sector to create momentum for change.

Will it be easy? No.

Will it be as hard as studying in the dark or sleeping on a pavement? Enduring slavery or rebuilding a life after war? Going to school hungry and still achieving good grades? Certainly not.

And if we falter in our resolve, let's remember the strength and dignity of Wafa, Noor, Mariama, Suma, Ruksana and girls everywhere who, every day, fight for their right to education and opportunity.

If one girl with courage is a revolution, imagine what feats we can achieve together.

-- Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah
Al Abdullah, Queen Rania. A Queen's message to girls: More than tiaras and cupcakes. http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/11/world/girl-rising-jordan-queen/index.html, June 17, 2013.


Friday, July 19 -- Sunday, July 21, 2013
Greenville, NC
For students who have completed the Level I Course, "Teachings" Seminar, or "Enlightenment" Seminar

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.

The fee for the festival is $275.00. Please also budget $25.00 per day to cover lunches and other expenses. Housing is available in the homes of the Greenville sisters and in hotels in the area. Please contact Rai at the.carolinas@laconneau.org for more details.


The annual Laconneau Sentier de Vermont took place from February 17 to February 23, 2013. A group of sisters and one brother from the South through the Northeast gathered in Chittenden, Vermont for a week of study, discussion, Vermont community planning, creative expression and camaraderie.  Innkeeper Susan Smart welcomed us to the Fox Creek Inn and made our stay there most agreeable. What follows are the thoughts of some of the participants in this year's Sentier.

The Sentier de Vermont was even more rewarding than I expected, and in a totally different way.  It was a bit of a whirlwind in looking at properties for the community's expansion and exciting that we are moving forward at a whole new level.  We are a growing community in every sense of the word.

I met a lot of kind Vermonters who are warm, and open hearted.  And the snow-covered countryside was so beautiful when snowshoeing. The healing silence and quiet of a winter mountain soothed my soul.

The Fox Creek Inn is now under new management and is as welcoming as anyone could hope for. The food was beyond delicious and I appreciate all of Emma and Anna's hard work in the kitchen.

After spending a week together with Jehanne, my sisters and brother, I have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the principles of Laconneau and a determination to continue doing this Work.

~ Greenville, NC 

For me, this Sentier de Vermont was about Home... being in it and the establishing of a Laconneau community Home in Vermont.

From the coziness of our Home at the Fox Creek Inn and its warm inviting hostess, food extraordinaire extraordinaire extraordinaire, fireplaces, winter wonderland views, we all mused though the dreams, ideals, practicalities, disappointments, clarifications and finally agreements about initiating a communal home for Laconneau.

From the beauty and rather rugged roads of the Vermont mountains in winter, we criss-crossed east central Vermont in convoy and "house-hunted" to the astonishment of several listing real estate agents, gasping at 10 "potential buyers" stomping through their clients homes.

The home of choice made itself known and the process of negotiations unfolded in a seamless manner. The morning of departure, the agreement on the purchase was complete.

The hand of Spirit was all over the collective process we were in during this week in Vermont. What a perfect way to proceed in establishing a Home for what we earlier termed the LVP (Laconneau Vermont Project).  PERFECT!

~ Washington, DC 

Because expectations can keep me from seeing what is in front of my face, I'm practicing curbing my expectations.  So I went to Vermont knowing two things: there was new ownership at Fox Creek Inn, and we would learn more about how a Laconneau Community would work and how we could get one started. Well, that wasn't the half of it.

First, the new ownership turned out to be Susan, a recent widow, grieving but resolved to keep the inn and make a go of it even without her husband, the co-owner and chef.  The way she said the neighbors rallied around her after his sudden death showed me again that Vermont is a special place. Susan related how even the trashman offered support: he is in his eighties, he told her, and can't do everything, but will do anything for her that he can.  In lots of other places, you never even meet your trashman.
And every day brought something else unexpected:
• The generosity and joy with which Emma and Anna pitched in to cook delicious meals for us all ...
• Everybody else's willing hands in serving, clearing, and cleanup ...
• Encouragement and sharp advice ("Don't buy anything on the first look") from Rosie, our most seasoned entrepreneur ...
• The deep down-to-earth knowledge of the experienced homesteaders among us ...
• Profound practical teachings ... Keep it simple (or, Don't complicate things) ... Don't look too far ahead ... Figure out what you need now ... Take Honor as your basis ...
• Commitment and help from those who want to see this community get on its feet, even if they can't move to it now ...
• Community defined as empowering right action, as well as sharing resources, sharing labor, dealing directly with others in the group and caring for one another's needs ...

All of these ingredients grew my understanding of what our Tradition's community was and what a modern Laconneau community must be ... and it's no surprise at all. In fact, it feels wonderfully familiar, and I can't wait to get back to it.

~ Washington, DC

This year's Sentiér de Vermont was fabulous, fun filled, and educational. Vermont's weather didn't disappoint by delivering us a picturesque winter wonderland. I enjoyed camaraderie with my sisters and brother, teaching/learning experiences, and fantastic food. My taste buds were in overload with all the culinary delights. It was an action-packed week with never a dull moment. I learned valuable lessons regarding community and look forward to opportunities ahead to put those principles into practice. I particularly enjoyed cross-country ski lessons and personally learned a great deal on my Laconneau "death march" through the woods and across the reservoir. The inn's new owner was very hospitable and a very gracious hostess. All in all, an A+ experience. 
~ Greenville, NC

The Sentier de Vermont 2013 was a wonderful opportunity for experiencing the synergy of community in a beautiful setting.  Seeing the Fox Creek Inn for the first time, in all its snow-covered beauty, is indelibly etched in my heart's memory as I appreciated the quiet serenity of the winter scene. What a comfortable setting for a week of teachings and exploring areas to establish a Laconneau community! Emma and Anna, chefs extraordinaire, spoiled us with gourmet meals that I will always remember. As we listened to the teachings, I deepened my understanding of Yeshua's and the Migdala's lessons about the need to have awareness to have choice and that trust means to have no expectations.

I thoroughly enjoyed our property search outings and the people we met along the way. I know we probably were an interesting crew to encounter but everyone was so gracious to us. In addition, I found Woodstock to be a lovely town with many wonderful shops and will always cherish our times at the Daily Grind.

One of the many joys of Laconneau is the feeling of camaraderie with my sisters and my brother; the time in Vermont was no exception. The gift of understanding of community as lived by the members of our Tradition is one I cherish. I believe the pioneers are going to be a guiding light for us all. I consider myself blessed to have been a small part of this process.

~ Atlanta, GA

I have now participated The Sentier de Vermont in for the 5th year.  The teachings vary from year to year and there are always lessons for participants. I think it is fair to say the sense of community this year was stronger than ever as we drew together around shared lessons and a common mission. The Inn is always warm and welcoming - a place I feel at home.  The food was extraordinary. I came home with new friends met along the way in Vermont, and a deepened relationship with others I have known for some time. What a difference a week can make!
~ Washington, DC

My Sentier de Vermont experience was life changing. The food, exquisite; the camaraderie, pure; the weather, bracing; the skiing, exhilarating; the lessons, invaluable.  The images play like snapshots, trying to form the picture -- profound appreciation for the depth and richness.  The teachings prove true and life begins anew.
~ Greenville, NC

I found the venue in Vermont to be lovely and very conducive to learning in a relaxed atmosphere. I found the teachings to be extremely inspirational.  The effort in which we were all engaged to find appropriate property for the pioneer community was fulfilling as we felt the hand of The Mother in the process.  We all enjoyed our stalwart chefs, Emma and Anna, as they "slaved" to bring gourmet dinners each night.  Overall, I felt the week with all the sisters and the learning experiences afforded me tremendous growth.
~ Atlanta, GA


By: Nechama Tec

"The prevailing image of European Jews during the Holocaust is one of helpless victims, but in fact many Jews struggled against the terrors of the Third Reich. In Defiance, Nechama Tec offers a riveting history of one such group, a forest community in western Belorussia that would number more than 1,200 Jews by 1944--the largest armed rescue operation of Jews by Jews in World War II.

Tec reveals that this extraordinary community included both men and women, some with weapons, but mostly unarmed, ranging from infants to the elderly. She reconstructs for the first time the amazing details of how these partisans and their families--hungry, exposed to the harsh winter weather--managed not only to survive, but to offer protection to all Jewish fugitives who could find their way to them. Arguing that this success would have been unthinkable without the vision of one man, Tec offers penetrating insight into the group's commander, Tuvia Bielski. Tec brings to light the untold story of Bielski's struggle as a partisan who lost his parents, wife, and two brothers to the Nazis, yet never wavered in his conviction that it was more important to save one Jew than to kill twenty Germans. She shows how, under Bielski's guidance, the partisans smuggled Jews out of heavily guarded ghettos, scouted the roads for fugitives, and led retaliatory raids against Belorussian peasants who collaborated with the Nazis.

Herself a Holocaust survivor, Nechama Tec here draws on wide-ranging research and never before published interviews with surviving partisans--including Tuvia Bielski himself--to reconstruct here the poignant and unforgettable story of those who chose to fight."
~From Barnes and Noble


Based on the book by Nechama Tec, Defiance tells the story of Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.



Two substantial properties, totaling 60 acres, have been purchased in the mountains of central Vermont for the purpose of establishing the first full-time Laconneau community in the United States. The building of this community in Vermont represents the completion of the first stage in a five-year plan which, after the expansion of other such communities around the USA, will culminate in the establishment of aLaconneau community in the Languedoc region of southwestern France.

News from the Carolinas:
In early April, the Greenville circle met for an afternoon of archery and meditation. On the weekend of April 26th - 29th, the circle once again hosted the Spring Festival.  The Festival was well attended, with participants coming from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, DC, Illinois and various parts of North and South Carolina.

Upcoming events for the Greenville circle include the Magdalene Festival July 19th - 21st. It is advisable to register for the Festival as early as possible because space is limited. A dinner and movie night will be held on Friday, August 23 at 6:00PM when we will screen Peaceful Warrior.

The Chapelle is open every Friday evening, from 5:30PM to 7:30PM for those who have completed a Level I class. You do not need to contact us before you come. The Chapel is also available for meditation at other times. If you would like to meditate in the Chapelle at another time, please call in advance.

The Greenville circle continues our community outreach by collecting food at all Laconneau events to help stock the food pantry at First Born Community Development Center in Grimesland, NC. Please remember to bring non-perishable food items to Laconneau events to help the needy in our community.

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. Additionally, please welcome friends, family, spouses, and significant others to join us for film screenings, hikes, and seminars.

For more information about Laconneau events in the Carolinas, please contact Kathy by email at the.carolinas@laconneau.org.

Georgia News:
The Georgia circle hosted a variety of events and classes this last quarter.

In April we began to have monthly book discussions on The Dhammapada, by Eknath Easwaran. It was decided by the group to continue with this book because of the abundance of useful material to discuss. We are taking a summer break from the book discussions and will begin again in September.

The first Saturday in June we hosted the seminar, Enlightenment: The Magdalene's True Legacy? On Sunday we sponsored a Level III Advanced Course.  The feedback from the attendees was that the classes were dynamic and profound.

The Georgia circle looks forward to its August film screening of Miss Representation on Sunday, August 4 at 3:00PM. Sunday afternoons in the summer are a great time to get out of the hot humid weather and go indoors to watch great films and have stimulating discussions.

On Saturday, September 7, we will host the seminar, The Gospel of the Beloved Companion: An Introduction. Then, on Sunday, September 8 we will host the Level I Introductory Course. For more information and to register for one or both of these remarkable courses, please contact Elaine by email at GA@laconneau.org.

The Georgia circle continues to welcome all men and women who desire to meditate and work together to heal themselves, their communities and the world. We welcome all who want to participate in our regularly scheduled community circles.

For more information about Laconneau events in Georgia, please contact Elaine by email at GA@laconneau.org or by phone at 252-258-0495.

Pennsylvania News:
On Saturday, June 15 the Philadelphia circle hosted a very successful Level II Intermediate Course with women in attendance from as far south as Georgia. If you are interested in learning more about future courses held in Philadelphia, please contact Anna by email at PA@laconneau.org or by phone at 301.275.4054.

The Philadelphia circle looks forward to its next film screening in Lawrenceville, NJ featuring the first part of the documentary Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide on Friday, August 9 at 7:00PM. All women are welcome to attend this event. The second half of the above documentary will be viewed during the Film Screening scheduled for September 13 also in Lawrenceville, NJ.

To help address the problem of hunger in Philadelphia, the circle collects non-perishable food at all events to donate to the Hunger Coalition.  Please remember to bring non-perishable food items to any Philadelphia Laconneau events that you attend.  In addition, we are organizing to volunteer for the Philabundance program, "Fresh for All".  The "Fresh for All" program is a mobile food market that sells fresh produce, which is one of the most expensive types of food for low-income families.  If you are interested in participating in this volunteer effort, please contact Dana at dlh0906@gmail.com.

The Philadelphia circle hosts regularly scheduled meditations, film screenings, discussion evenings, Women's Circles and Community Circles. Please refer to the Philadelphia calendar for more detailed information about our upcoming events.

For more information or to attend any Laconneau events or courses in Philadelphia, please contact Anna by email at PA@laconneau.org or by phone at 301.275.4054.

Washington, DC News:
Four area women attended Laconneau's Spring Festival, in Greenville, North Carolina. In addition to teachings and archery and comradeship, the weekend included an update on steps under way toward establishing a Laconneau community in Vermont.

The DC circle was pleased to host the Gospel of the Beloved Companion: An Introduction seminar and a Level I Introductory Course in Washington in June. Both classes were very well attended and enthusiastically received by all who participated in them.

In addition to regularly scheduled Community and Women's Circles, the DC circle will begin hosting regularly scheduled open meditations to which all women are invited. The next open meditation will take place on Sunday, July 28 at 7:30PM.

The Washington circle invites new and returning participants to attend its classes and events. For more information, please email Rebecca at WashingtonDC@laconneau.org.



Saturday, September 7, 2013
The Gospel of the Beloved Companion:
An Introduction
Atlanta, GA

Sunday, September 8, 2013
Level I Introductory Course 10:00AM
Atlanta, GA


Saturday, October 12, 2013
The Gospel of the Beloved Companion...
Awaken the Beloved 10:00AM
Denver, CO

Sunday, October 13, 2013
Level I Introductory Course 10:00AM
Denver, CO

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Level I Introductory Course 7:00 PM
Greenville, NC

Wednesday, October 30, 2014
Level I Introductory Course (Cont.) 7:00PM
Greenville, NC

To view the upcoming Laconneau classes and seminars by date, please visit: http://www.laconneau.org/CalendarClassTitle.html

To view the upcoming Laconneau classes and seminars by location, please visit: http://www.laconneau.org/CalendarClassLocation.html


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

For events in Georgia, visit:
Georgia Region Coordinator: Elaine - GA@laconneau.org

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

For events in Pennsylvania, visit:
Philadelphia Region Coordinator: Anna - 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 Georgia: Elaine - GA@laconneau.org

In Pennsylvania: Anna - 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.