What is your image of a monastery?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

In honor of women who are gathering at Holy Wisdom Monastery next week for an Ever Wonder? retreat (or those who may still be thinking of testing the waters of this community), I would like to share this personal reflection written by Mary Lynn Adams, associate member of our community: What is your image of a monastery?  An ancient building, with thick, stone walls?  Monks covered in rough dark cowls, noiselessly passing along the edges of corridors?  Solemn prayers?  Stark living conditions?  Being cut off from family, friends and community? Well, take that image, and set it to one side. …

Come Holy Spirit

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

This Sunday we, along with Christians throughout the world, will celebrate Pentecost: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4) This, in fulfillment of Jesus’s promise recorded in the Gospel of John (14:16): “And I will ask Abba God, who will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever.” The images and power of …

Green Twigs of Hope

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

Our Midday Prayer at Holy Wisdom Monastery always includes a Gospel reading and a non-scripture reading.  Currently we are reading from Hope in the Midst of Darkness, a publication of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.   A reading this week, written by Marcia Allen, CSJ from Concordia, KS, is entitled God’s Horizon. It begins with these quotes: “Everything is possible for one who believes, still more for one who hopes, even more for one who loves.”          – Brother Lawrence “Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is …

How has monastic life changed me?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life 1 Comment

As we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand, and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. ~ Prologue to the Rule of Benedict Women exploring community are often curious to know, after 10 or 20 or 50 years, how monastic life has changed us. In the video we made a few months after my first profession in 2000, I mentioned that one of my reasons for coming to community was to grow. Then with a big smile and great emphasis, I declared: “I didn’t know how much I would grow!” This has …

Listening with the Heart

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Spiritual Guidance, Spirituality Articles, Women Exploring Community 8 Comments

What are you doing after you graduate? I disliked that question when I was in college. I didn’t know for certain what I was going to do after graduation. There were so many choices and so many things I was good at and wanted to do. It was hard to settle on something. I wasn’t sure how to decide or who could help me sort out what to do. Two things I did know. I wanted my life to make a difference in the world, and I wanted to please God. Through the years, I have learned that this kind …

Wisdom for Our Times from the Benedictine Tradition

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Oblates Leave a Comment

The Benedictine tradition, which has thrived for over 1500 years, contains deep wisdom for today. The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses published a study booklet entitled Wisdom from the Tradition: A Statement of North American Benedictine Women in Response to Our Times. In it they bring wisdom from the lived experience of Benedictines through the centuries to respond to some of the pressing issues of our times. To address the fear, alienation, domination, exclusion and violence of our times, they offer five dimensions of monastic wisdom: Extending respect and reverence to others will overcome our fears and theirs. Community-building will counteract …

Benedictine Spirituality in the 21st Century

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

“Benedictine spirituality is the spirituality of the twenty-first century because it deals with the issues facing us now.” –  Joan Chittister, OSB The Rule of Benedict has helped people around the world develop a deeper understanding of their own spirituality through the Benedictine tradition. Written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, the Rule inspired many Christians in their search for God, leading to the formation of Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe. These holy places served as witnesses to God’s love during the dark periods in history. Today, the Rule is the basis for a spirituality that is much more …

Lynne Smith, OSB's Homily from Easter Vigil, April 23, 2011

Lynne Smith, OSB Homilies, Living in Community Leave a Comment

The following homily was delivered by Sister Lynne Smith, OSB, at the Easter Vigil at Holy Wisdom Monastery on Saturday night, April 23, 2011. Lynne is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a member of Benedictine Women of Madison. She served congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for sixteen years before coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery. She has been a member of Benedictine Women of Madison since 2000. An artist friend once told me that art is about learning to see. So wanting to grow in awareness, I took a basic drawing class this winter. In the first class the teacher …

Good Friday and Earth Day

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

This year Earth Day coincides with Good Friday. Since we are observing the Easter Triduum during these days, we will mark Earth Day on Sunday, May 1, with special prayers during the Eucharist. It seems fitting, however, to reflect on Earth Day from a Good Friday perspective. We read from the prophet Jeremiah today at Morning and Midday Prayer. In his writings he laments the desolation of Judah due to the people’s corruption, idolatry and injustice. He draws a link between the people’s greed and oppression of the poor and the desolation of the natural environment.

Holy Week at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

A procession with palm branches, water splashing over your feet, the darkened assembly room, the seven last words of Christ from the cross, silence, waiting, prayer, a joyful alleluia, bread and wine shared with friends and strangers – these are some of the experiences we will have in the monastery during Holy Week next week, experiences we wish to share with you. We begin our Palm Sunday worship at 9 am by blessing palm branches, hearing the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and processing around the building and into the assembly room. There, we listen to the story of …