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Cornelius Bennhold-Samaan

June 14, 1960 – April 22, 2009

Beloved Husband, Father, Teacher, Spiritual Mentor, and Friend:

A Remembrance by Susan Trout

Fifteen years ago, a 34-year-old man recovering from cancer walked into our Institute in Old Town Alexandria, seeking emotional and spiritual support.  He chose to attend an adult support group oriented to seeing life circumstances in a certain light – that whatever happens to us can be experienced as an opportunity to learn, grow, heal, and serve.  Years later, Cornelius shared with me that, in truth, he had come to the Institute to open his heart.  Having such a strong mind, he said, had kept him in his head, thinking, analyzing and observing, rather than in his heart, feeling and experiencing the depth of his emotions and his spiritual essence.  He said he wanted to learn how to take matters to his heart.  (Anyone who felt the warm glow when he spoke of his beloved wife Laurette and daughter Catalina know that he succeeded in his quest!)

Gradually, after taking many of our classes and trainings, Cornelius felt ready to give back what he had received.  He expanded his participation at the Institute and became one of our active volunteers and one of our most positive and productive leaders, serving as a longtime member of the Board and as Board President.

Cornelius could explain what the Institute was about and what it had to offer like no other.  I saw that he could do this because he imbibed the essence of its teachings and work – he lived what he grew to understand.   He had a way with words that embodied clarity and warmth.  He knew how to listen to another, he said, because he had been listened to.  He knew how to help others stretch their spiritual muscle because he had stretched his own.  In fact, he had planned to teach a class in the coming summer on living life fully as a spiritual man in today’s world, a topic he held close to his heart.

Now Cornelius has been called to his next place where he can be of service and where his Soul can continue to evolve.  Ever will we know that for us here today, the threads of his Spirit will remain with us and inspire us forward.

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