Celebrating the Feast of Scholastica

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

Today we celebrate the Feast of Scholastica, said to have lived from 480 to 543, the twin sister of Benedict. She is a patron of Benedictines throughout the world. Scholastica led a form of consecrated life with a group of Christian women, following the spirit of the Rule of Benedict. We know of her life only from legend and from a brief story in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great. Gregory tells us that she traveled each year to meet her brother at a small house midway between their residences. On one occasion, after a day filled with deep and …

Lenten Devotional

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Monastic Life Leave a Comment

The following entry is reprinted from the 2012 John Knox Presbytery Lenten Devotional, a booklet containing real life stories from people across the Presbytery in addition to Scripture and prayer. The entry was submitted by Sister Lynne Smith, OSB from Holy Wisdom Monastery and we have permission to reprint it here. Week of March 5, 2012  “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in …

Gain or loss?

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

“Didn’t you have to give up a lot to become a sister?”  This question, which was posed to me recently, seems to be a common perception of religious life. The question might come from the image of monks “leaving the world” to live in the desert or from the image of religious life as made up of strict ascetical practices. However, something in me resists thinking about religious life in terms of giving something up. To be sure, one does give up some things to enter a community and there is asceticism involved in religious life. The practice of asceticism …

What Shall I Do With My Life?

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

Many people come to the monastery with that question on their hearts. Whether they are about to graduate from school, make a career change, are pondering a significant relationship or a possible call to religious community, the question is the same. “How do I decide what to do?” Intuitively, they sense that coming to the monastery can help them discern their life choice. Their intuition is correct. Monasteries have a long tradition of helping people discern how God is active in their lives. Discernment is becoming a more common word these days though what it involves still remains a mystery …

Radical Gospel Living

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

Sr. Mary David and I are excited about attending the Radical Gospel Living: Monasticism Today conference at Ohio Wesleyan University over the weekend! Joan Chittister and Shane Claiborne are keynote speakers. We are presenting a workshop entitled “Building Community Outside the Box.” We will be there with other “radical” folks living the Gospel in traditional and new monastic communities. Over 200 people are attending. What fun! I’ll post on Facebook from the conference. We’ll share more about the conference in the next Benedictine Bridge.

Sacred Space

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Retreats 12 Comments

Over the past weekend, I met several guests out walking on the grounds of the monastery. One retreatant spoke about how meaningful it has been for her to walk the grounds, to sit and reflect. Her comments spoke to me of our ministry at Holy Wisdom Monastery as holding sacred space. Spaciousness and leisure are important in our lives to allow room for the deeper meaning of our experiences to surface. Monasteries fulfill an essential service to society by providing this space. Monastic space, both indoors and out, is shaped by the values of silence, solitude, beauty, use of natural …

Lynne Smith, OSB featured on A Nun’s Life podcast!

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

Last week I traveled to Chicago to speak to the Episcopal Service Corps about our ecumenical monastic community.  On Thursday evening, September 29, 2011, I was invited by Sisters Julie Vieira, IHM (left) and Maxine Kollasch, IHM of  anunslife.org to participate in their weekly podcast, Ask Sister.  It was a wonderful opportunity to see Julie and Maxine in action, as well as to share with their listeners about my own call to become a Presbyterian (USA) minister and a sister with the Benedictine Women of Madison.  We chatted about my initial discernment process to become ordained, the amazing opportunity to …

Learning from the environment

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

When I was in formation for community life, Sr. Joanne would say to me on occasion, ”The environment will teach you.” At first, I took this as referring to the outdoor environment. I knew this to be true before I came to the monastery. To walk in the woods or in a park, to spend time working in the garden or simply sitting outside listening to the birds and crickets is healing for me. The sounds of nature calm me down when the noise of machinery or too many words have set me on edge. When I sit by Lost …

Returning to Volunteer in Community

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

Who are these women, celebrating their new-found strength from days of working on the prairie or in the garden at Holy Wisdom Monastery? These are some of our 2009 Volunteers in Community (VIC). Sara Jo Emmerich, second from the right in this picture, returned again this summer and did some blogging about her second VIC experience. She has offered to let us share her posts on our website, and she sets the stage for her first post with these words: Back to Being a Prairie Fairy For the next week I have returned to Holy Wisdom Monastery to participate in …

The way we answer doors

Lynne Smith, OSB Hospitality, Living in Community, Monastic Life 2 Comments

The way we answer doors is the way we deal with the world.  ~ Wisdom from the Tradition, Conference of Benedictine Prioresses How else can we bring a divided world together except by providing the open hearth where all feel warm and safe enough to speak their truths and listen from their hearts.  ~ An Extravagant Love, Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB These reflections on Benedictine hospitality are found in Wisdom from the Tradition, written by the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses. Insights into the wisdom to be found within the Benedictine tradition were gathered from Benedictine women’s communities throughout the US …