Spaces become sacred through the value they hold for people and their communities. Sharing this value can reduce social tension and cultural misunderstanding while building bridges of trust.
"If interreligious dialogue is to bear fruit--the fruit of mutual understanding, respect, and peace--it needs to be rooted in the specific spiritual space or milieu of each religious tradition. If we are willing to enter into and even dwell for a time in another spiritual space, we will be able to return to the space we call home, enriched by the gifts we have received and prepared to live in peace with those who dwell in a spiritual space that is very different from our own."
– Benoit Standaert, Benedictine monk at St. Andrew's Abbey in Bruges, Belgium
For a religious/spiritual community, their sacred space:
*is a reflection of their religious or spiritual identity.
*is a focal point for community life.
*presents an opportunity to promote positive community relations.
Sacred Space Ambassador
Ms. Suzanne Morgan is the Parliament of the World's Religions Sacred Space Ambassador. She joined the Parliament in the spring of 2011.
Ms. Morgan is a retired architect with an expertise in liturgical design who consults and gives presentations on religious architecture. She believes that a space becomes sacred through the meaning it holds within its community. Sharing that meaning can reduce social tension and cultural misunderstanding and build bridges of trust and hope.
Ms. Morgan is the Founder and Director Emeritus of Sacred Space International (SSI). SSI was founded in Chicago in 2002 to encourage interfaith dialogue and cultural diversity by sharing sacred spaces. A secular organization, SSI sought to draw awareness to the diversity of faith traditions within Chicago and bring secular spaces to light for an expanded public audience.
In 1992, Suzanne graduated from the pilot program at the CTU (Catholic Theological Union) in liturgical design. In 2000, she started “The Upper Room,” an interfaith prayer space housed within a Chicago skyscraper suite. After noticing the drop-off in attendance after the events of September 11th, she began thinking about how religious architecture and sacred space could be connected to interfaith dialogue. Thus, she founded Sacred Space International (originally called "The Center for Religious Architecture") in 2002 ito begin this process.
An AIA member, Ms. Morgan has held architectural licenses in five states in the US. She has worked at many prominent firms in the Chicago area including SOM and Loebl, Schlossman, Hackl and has been a sole practitioner providing interior and architectural services for clients. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
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