What are you reading for Lent?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life 0 Comments

In the Rule, Benedict writes: “during this time of Lent each one is to receive a book from the library, and is to read the whole of it straight through.” It continues to be our practice to choose a book to read during Lent. Sister Joanne and I share reflections on our Lenten reading below. Sister Joanne: Mary Gordon, the author, comes to Holy Wisdom Monastery when she travels to Madison.  On a recent visit she presented the sisters with an autographed copy of her latest book, Reading Jesus.  It was my choice for Lent; I gained new insights into …

"Learn everyday of your life"

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

This week my attention has been focused on how on-going growth and integration is basic to the monastic life. Benedictine life asks that we “learn everyday of our lives” and that learning is not just about intellectual knowledge. In her book, Seeking Life, Esther de Waal notes that Benedict is always addressing the whole self – body, mind and spirit. Benedict tells us in the Prologue that we must “prepare our hearts and bodies.” So as we seek to open ourselves more deeply to God during Lent, we might attend to each aspect of our person as de Waal suggests. …

How is Lent going for you?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 0 Comments

During Lent, the Scripture readings and antiphons we sing with the Psalms remind us of our need to examine our lives and renew our relationships with God and others. A few years ago at a retreat here,  Joan Chittister, OSB, author of Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, shared this simple, wisdom distilled from the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict. These could provide guidance on our Lenten journey. Listen Wake up Do no harm Do good Trust in God Prepare your heart and your body Learn every day of your life The two nuggets of wisdom that catch my attention today …

Sister Act

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Media Coverage, Monastic Life 3 Comments

Download a PDF version of this article with color photos. This article is reprinted with permission from Sojourners, (800) 714-7474, www.sojo.net Benedictine women in Wisconsin are practicing new (and ancient) ways to save the earth, starting with the home front. By Betsy Shirley New growth has a history of springing to life at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wisconsin — and that’s just fine with the Benedictine sisters there. The ancient Benedictine motto “succisa virescit” (“cut down, it ever grows green”) is appropriate for a monastic tradition that has survived more than 1,500 years of church history, rooted in stability, yet …

Lent: Discovering Who We Are and Reorienting Our Lives

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Living in Community 0 Comments

Our lives are filled with journeys, seeking to find out who we are and what our purpose is. Describing this inner journey is like describing a landscape. Imagine an expanse of land with great variety: valleys, hills, smooth plains and endless desert. Each of these places can serve as an image that helps us know the inner and outer terrain of our journey. Images also reveal how we feel about where we are. On a given day, in a moment of mindfulness, the many dimensions of our life are like a joyful mountaintop experience or a seemingly endless trek across …

Early History of the Madison Benedictines

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Living in Community 0 Comments

On March 11, 1953, Mother Monica Black, Sister Annunciata Byrne and Sister Martha Glaser came to Madison, Wisconsin from Sioux City, Iowa. For fifty years St. Vincent Hospital in Sioux City had been the work of the Sisters of St. Benedict. In 1953 Bishop O’Connor of Madison invited them to establish a high school for girls. With this invitation our sisters decided to move the community to Madison. In search of land for a new beginning, they eventually bought 40 acres of hilly farmland in the Fox Bluff area overlooking Lake Mendota and the city of Madison. First views of …

I Don't See Where the Sisters Live at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community

Guests at the monastery often ask one of us sisters, “Where do you live?” The question usually means do you live in the monastery building. The sisters’ monastic residence is located in the woods a short walking distance from the monastery building. For us the entire monastery is the place where we pray, work, minister, study, receive guests, recreate and find solitude and nightly rest. It is also the place of our final rest. Holy Wisdom Monastery is the home for all of these activities. The monastery building, the Retreat and Guest House, the grounds, prairie and Lost Lake we …

Making New Year's Resolutions?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 0 Comments

The following reading from midday prayer on January 3 sheds a gentle light on New Year’s resolutions: Benedict believes the question “Who longs for life?” is asked every day, and every day offers a new opportunity to respond positively. New Year’s resolutions may be a cliche, but the new year is an opportunity to think about new beginnings. Make a very short and realistic list this year, keep it where you will see it often, and check your progress (or lack!) regularly. Benedict reminds us not to dwell on it, but to thank God if today was good, ask forgiveness …

Advent Meditation

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 0 Comments

As we travel through these days of Advent, I would like to share the following poem with you as an Advent meditation. This poem comes from A Tree Full of Angels, Seeking the Holy in the Ordinary, by Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB.: Climbing down through the stars to the stars on earth The divine face meshing with the human Heaven touching earth We call it Incarnation! You came as a star led by a star through the stars to the stars We never knew we were stars until you came. O God, we welcome you We lovingly share our frail human …

Discernment

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 0 Comments

Discernment is a word often used to refer to a process of making a decision or finding direction in one’s life. For those of us who have made a commitment of stability to the Benedictine life, discernment is a fundamental and on-going practice as we seek God in community. I would like to share some reflections on discernment with you. Benedict begins his Rule or guide for life in community by encouraging each monk to “Listen … with the ear of your heart.” In The Rule of Benedict, Insights for the Ages, Joan Chittister, OSB, comments on this fundamental Benedictine …