Oblates and sisters share Benedictine spirituality

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

On Sunday, November 24, 2019, Sisters Paz, Denise and I drove to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Milwaukee. We had been invited to make a presentation on the Rule of Benedict and Benedictine spirituality at their GIFT (Generations in Faith Together) program. This is an inter-generational faith formation program held 10 times a year for singles, families, adults and children of all ages who gather after the Eucharist for social time, a meal and a program. We arrived in time for mass and were delighted to see that the congregation was diverse in terms of ethnicity and age. …

Stability

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

The sisters spoke on a panel at the November oblate retreat on the topic of stability and care for the earth. We each shared what stability means for us at this point in our monastic lives and what is compelling to us about caring for the land. Stability has several layers of meaning. The most obvious definition of stability is staying in the same place with the same people. That’s how we begin practicing stability in community.  For Benedict, community life is the ascetic practice. We don’t need to wear hair shirts and eat sparingly to discipline our bodies and …

Spirituality on the prairie

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Living in Community Leave a Comment

“When we enter the landscape to learn something, we are obligated, I think, to pay attention rather than constantly to pose questions. To approach the land as we would a person, by opening an intelligent conversation. And to stay in one place, to make of that one, long observation a fully dilated experience. We will always be rewarded if we give the land credit for more than we imagine, and if we imagine it as being more complex even than language. In these ways we begin, I think, to find a home, to sense how to fit a place.” – …

What is the Day of the Dead?

Paz Vital, OSB Living in Community, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

The celebration of the dead is a tradition deeply rooted in Mexican life. More than five hundred years ago, before the conquest, the festival of the dead lasted more than a month and was celebrated during the harvest season. The Catholic authorities, allied with the conquerors, moved this celebration to early November to coincide with All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Thus the conquerors gained more working hours to exploit the people. The consequence of taking these actions was that the official church merged indigenous traditions with the Christian feast days and the …

Meeting new members of the prairie community

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Living in Community Leave a Comment

On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk in Wisdom Prairie. Friend of Wisdom Prairie member Ron Endres was harvesting prairie seeds along the path, so I stopped to find out what he was picking. He was gathering seed from anise hyssop and placed a seed head in my hand with the instructions to rub my hands together and then smell them. Sure enough, it smelled like anise or licorice. Anise hyssop isn’t very plentiful and Ron was glad to have come across a small patch of it. It is one of only a few prairie plants …

That all may be one or unity in diversity

Paz Vital, OSB Hispanic Ministry, Living in Community Leave a Comment

In a frame above the main entrance door of Holy Wisdom Monastery it is written, “That All May Be One.”  On July 20, 2019, I had a glimpse of what this looks like when around 100 Hispanic people visited the monastery for the first time and mingled with the Holy Wisdom communities. It was a beautiful diversity of colors and languages. It reminded me of the prairie in bloom, the very way it looks right now. I saw hundreds of flowers of many different colors and sizes in bloom outside and inside the monastery. I saw unity in diversity. I have heard …

Finding the presence of goodness

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 1 Comment

In our morning chapter meetings we are reading an article by Demetrius Dumm, OSB, “On Religious Community.” It was published in Benedictines, in 1976. Dumm was a Scripture scholar from St. Vincent’s Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was steeped in the Benedictine way of life. The quote below caught my attention this week.  “In those large areas of human experience that can be described as ambiguous, the believer will assume the presence of goodness. This assumption allows the latent goodness to appear and the situation can be ‘redeemed.’” (p. 75) So much of what we hear about in the news …

Seeing the Grace of God

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 1 Comment

“When [Barnabas] arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord. Act 11:23 Doing lectio divina (divine reading) recently on the passage from Acts 11, I was struck by the verse above, especially the phrase: he “saw the grace of God.” Barnabas saw the grace of God in the Greeks of Antioch who had received the Gospel about Jesus. This was an unexpected development. Prior to this, the Gospel had only been proclaimed to Jews. Rather than seeing this new development as a problem or something to be resisted, Barnabas …

A network of support

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

I’ve recently been reading ’s book, The Hidden Life of Trees. In his chapter on “Social Security” he notes that trees of the same species like to grow close together. It turns out that beech trees, with which Wohlleben is most familiar, share resources with each other. Researchers found that they share the sugar produced among them through their root systems. The trees growing in better conditions passed some of the sugar they produced to those growing in less favorable conditions so they could each grow into the best tree they can be. Forests form communities of support through their …

Prayer and work

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Living in Community 2 Comments

It was 73 degrees in Middleton on Monday, April 8, 2019. Since Monday is a day of leisure for the sisters, I spent a large part of the day outside. I raked up the sticks dropped by the oaks during the winter in the front yard at Bingen House and listened to the birds. This will be the last week of free meals for the birds. The squirrels have learned how to climb down onto the feeder from the roof of the house, hang from the upper perches by their back feet and eat their fill from the lower seed …