In Vancouver, we had the chance to join the Wednesday Study Group for their evening meeting. Having already had the opportunity to spend time with Michael Roboz and Monica Gold, we had a sense of the depth of this community. It was so interesting to see how wonderful they were with each other in the group. In our time with these individuals, we also got a sense of the beautiful gifts each one has to offer. So alive they all are in their own strivings! When we came together with the group and expressed the special quality that we experienced there, one member asked, “Do you know what Ita Wegman said about this area?” We had to admit that we did not, though we had heard that there was a strong Wegman impulse there. “She said, ‘You should go to British Columbia. There you can heal.’ ”
From this guidance, many founding anthroposophists of the community came to Vancouver out of the influence of Ita Wegman. In that area, there are both strong nature forces and strong social forces, a harmonious working tolerance. Examples of other strong social initiatives in Vancouver are Tao Café, run by Agathe Mathieu, and the Environmental Youth Initiative.
Though we came together on a Tuesday, the group we met is a Wednesday evening group that was initially formed in 1954 as the Albert Steffen Group, founded by Michael’s father, Steven Roboz. On Monday nights, there is a Class reading, and artistic activity on Thursdays. There is also a group that meets to focus on the Bible. Despite the vibrancy of anthroposophical activity in Vancouver, they do not actually have an official Branch of the Society. They do have a beautiful meeting space and library right in the center of activity, and initiatives are thriving.
At the group, we got to learn a bit about Patricia Smith, who is the Executive Director of the Cascadia Society. She had been teaching speech when she came to the West Coast Institute, where there is a teacher training program. She is also the Class holder for the area. Patricia was 21 when she went looking for community and found her way to a kibbutz in Israel. From there, she went traveling through Europe and was hitchhiking in Switzerland when she was picked up by an American anthroposophist. When asked who it was. Patricia responded, “Frank Thomas Smith.” She went along with him to the Goetheanum, where the spark was kindled for her future work. She studied the Philosophy of Freedom and met Steven Roboz. She then studied Occult Science and joined a study group around it. When asked what anthroposophy is to her, she responded: “A sustaining force in my life. I don’t know where I would be without anthroposophy.”
We soon agreed that, instead of continuing with the regular study, we would go with Patricia to visit the Camphill community. We are so glad that we did and will soon share more about the beauty and hope we encountered there!