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 …

Midday Prayer in Community

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 0 Comments

The Liturgy of the Hours is a practice that forms the rhythm of our daily life as Benedictine sisters. As a community we gather for Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer. All are welcome to join us during any of these times of prayer. Midday prayer always includes a non-scripture reading for meditation as well as a reading from the Gospels. We have most recently been reading selections from The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, excerpts from the works of Father Thomas Keating, compiled by S. Stephanie Iachetta. The readings are usually short, but full of substance for contemplation. In July …

Benedictine Life: A Journey of the Heart

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

In September of 1996, I read two ads and an article about the new ecumenical Benedictine women’s community, Benedictine Women of Madison, Wisconsin. By the time I saw the third ad welcoming women of any Christian denomination to join, I thought, “That means me. I have to check this out.” That’s how my journey in Benedictine life began. After months of visits and discernment with the sisters, I came to the monastery in June of 1998 and made first profession two years later. Benedict begins his Rule “Listen carefully, my child, to my instructions, and attend to them with the …