About Shem Center

The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

— RUMI

Seeking peace and unity beyond the differences that divide, and welcoming the sojourners of all spiritual paths, Shem Center takes its place with all who hope and labor toward this sacred purpose.

The historic Parliament of the World’s Religions, hosted in Chicago in 1993 was the occasion of its founding. Some 8,000 people from around the world representing a plurality of religions and spiritual paths gathered to recall and embrace the inclusive spirit of the first Parliament that had taken place in Chicago during the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.

Recognizing this spirit of inclusiveness already present in the interfaith retreat ministry of Br. Jospeh Kilikevice, OP, an organization was established to help further its work. Responding to mandates from the 1993 Parliament to cultivate harmony among the religions of the world, two other sources declare similar calls for its work — The Second Vatican Council, to reach out in respectful dialogue with the followers of the world’s religions, and The Dominican Order of Preachers, with its call for respectful dialogue with the people of all faith traditions.

Here the spiritual sojourners of all faith traditions and spiritual paths are respected and the splendor and diversity that encompasses the story of creation is considered. A rich deposit of spiritual wisdom is discovered and explored. Welcomed are the believers and the questioners, the young and those in their wisdom years.

Shem Center declares that the spiritual journey begins embracing and delighting in the goodness of life and its Creator, and continues in a partnership of compassion, standing with all who long for justice and the peace it brings. Shem Center is a place where a heartfelt quest for God is named. It is a place where ideas change minds and experiences change hearts. Here one is offered a place to pause and notice the Divine splendor found in all life and consider more deeply ways to examine how to proceed on life’s spiritual quest.

Shem Center Director
Br. Joseph Kilikevice, OP is a friar of the Central Province of Dominicans, the founding director of the Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality, Oak Park, Illinois, and a director of interfaith retreats throughout the country. Through the use of ritual, chant, dance and other forms of prayer he seeks to bring peace into the world through interfaith understanding and respect.