Showing posts from May, 2017


My NADI experience was full of blessings. A few moments in particular stand out; here's one. On our day of service, we spent time at St. Paul Hermitage. St. Paul Hermitage, a ministry of the Benedictines in Beech Grove, offers apartment living, assisted living, and nursing care. Many retired priests and sisters live there. I spent my afternoon with Sr. Teresine, who came from Ferdinand, IN to the newly-forming Beech Grove community when it was established in the middle of the twentieth century. I told her who I was and explained that there were seven novices visiting for our NADI experience. Her elated response: "Oh, yay! Seven new Benedictines!" It only made me more excited to enter into this tradition.

NADI provides an opportunity for all the novices and directors in Benedictine communities across the nation to gather together for a formative experience. We listened to presentations on topics ranging from hospitality to stewardship to prayer, as well as other Benedicti…

Comings and Goings

I am home from Indiana. It was a wonderful experience, and I am excited to tell you about it, but today I must focus on Erin, our volunteer from the Benedictine Women Service Corps. She has spent the last nine months with us, and tomorrow she heads back to Minnesota to the Benedictine community there to debrief her experience before heading home to her family.

Over the past nine months, I have been the recipient of many of Erin's gifts: music in the form of piano lessons and pieces played at liturgy, humor in the form of witty jokes and puns, shared meals in the form of co-chef, bike rides and runs in the form of half-marathon training, and much patience in the form of I don't have as much as she does. This is only the start of the list.

I will greatly miss her, but it's time for her to share her gifts with others, so I'll try not to pout too much. Instead I'll send her away with the blessings of Spirit as her story continues to tell itself.

Thanks, Erin. It's …

Greetings From Indiana!

Here I am in Beech Grove, IN attending the Novice and Director's Institute, NADI. Posting might be light for the next 1.5 weeks as I take in the experience of being with some of the other novices and formation directors from different Benedictine communities across the country. 
Hold me in prayer, as I will hold you. Enjoy the irises, daisies, and salvia already in bloom!
Let us walk in the holy presence. 

The Times They Are A-Changin'

We begin with Tracy Chapman singing "the title song":

Yesterday Carol Zinn, SSJ came to the Mount to speak to local women religious on the topic of "Religious Life for the Life of the World." Our bishop also responded, and I found the morning to be enlightening and hopeful.

Sister Carol emphasized that religious life is not just for our congregations or communities, nor is it just for the Church. No, this life that we live is a life offered for the life of the world; it is a life that is a particular take on the gospels. I found these ideas connected well with what we heard from Nancy Schreck two weeks ago at Villa Maria. The vows that make up religious life are the deepest articulation of who we are; they offer a different way of being in the world. And, similar to Nancy, Carol stressed that this is a life of going to the people of God on the peripheries - Carol went so far as to call them her mentors. I liked that.

For women religious, this going to the peripheri…

O Happy Fault

This past week, we reached the end of the study of the Rule of Benedict -- formal novitiate study, at least. For my homework, I read a sort of summary of the themes in the Rule: table, oratory, authority, mutual service, and a few others.
One idea in the piece I read from Margaret Malone, SGS's book, One Heart, One Soul, was about how monastic communities might give witness to a different way of being in the world. In this part, she references Roger Housden's book, Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living, listing each of the sins and the implications of "committing" them:
1. The Pleasure of All Five Senses (Sensuality) – because then we will treasure and savour all of God’s creation, and live fully the implications of the incarnation and our sacramental sense.

2. The Pleasure of Being Foolish (Foolishness)– because then we will relax and enjoy our lives, and not be caught up in competitiveness to be always successful and always on top.
3. The Pleasure of Not Knowing (Ignora…

A Recommendation

Happy lilac season, everyone! (Even amidst relentless rain.)

The bush outside my window is now in bloom.
Two weeks ago we had our spring community weekend. Our presenter, Edith Bogue, OSB, used the theme of a camino to talk about how to enter into the future of religious life by intentionally preparing while also staying open to the unexpected. She had a great presentation, using the artwork of the Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig a few times along the way.

I recognized the work because I recalled a combination of a picture and poem of his that I received via email a while ago:

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.

A quick Google search will bring up some great results from the artist. Here is another favorite - The Wo…

The Love of God Impels Us

This past weekend, the women in initial monastic formation travelled to Villa Maria, PA for a weekend on the topic of obedience called "The Love of God Impels Us." We, with the wonderful and insightful presenter Nancy Schreck, OSF as our guide, explored the vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience as they relate to religious life in present times - with a focus on obedience. We no longer live in the days of depriving ourselves of goods, suppression of emotions, or unquestioning submission to power, after all (and thank goodness!).

Sister Nancy gave us a new framework for examining the vows - through living them out as prophets and mystics - as people of action and of contemplation. She reminded us that the vows are the clearest articulation of who we are as women and men religious, but it is our rootedness in God's love for us and our love for God that gives us the energy and hope we need to live the vows now and into the very unknown and very likely messy future.

The vo…