Monastery bell tower, fall trees and far horizon

St Benedict’s survival kit

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

The following reflections were shared by Sister Joanne Kollasch at a recent Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors meeting, part of the ongoing opportunities for our board to become more deeply rooted in the Benedictine tradition and values at Holy Wisdom Monastery. ____________________________________________ I continue to reflect on what’s happening in our country after the recent political election. The post-election turmoil is raised in many conversations I’m part of. So, what is my response? I found this quotation from Thomas Merton and a beginning answer to my question: “To say that I am made in the image of God …

Rosy Kandathil shares reflections on the Rule of Benedict

Celibate intimacy – a real question

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 2 Comments

“How do you experience intimacy as a celibate?” She looked up at me quizzically from her notebook. The young woman’s question caught me by surprise. I had just finished an interview with Pastor Pete Scazzero at New Life Fellowship church in New York City, where I’d been a member for nine years before coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery. My life at the monastery remained a mystery to many of the people I served at the church, people I still cared deeply about. I hoped that my answers might help bridge the gap for this busy urban church where monastic life might …

Sisters at prayer (Photo © Andy Manis)

Benedictine life: new ways of valuing persons, things and time

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

What contributions has Benedict made to society?—a presentation by Joanne Kollasch, OSB to the Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors, July 26, 2016. I owe a great deal to Mary Collins, OSB for my reflections with you today. Scholars may continue to argue whether Benedict was counter-cultural or not. Settling this question doesn’t really matter so much because, from the beginning, the monastic way of life involved a re-valuation of persons, things and time, according to a set of standards that are different from those of the dominant culture. Monastic re-valuation can be clearly seen in the Rule of …

The Benedictine way of discernment

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

Discernment is a process of making a decision or finding direction in one’s life. At its very heart, discernment is a conversation – with God, with friends, with spiritual mentors and guides – a conversation which leads to more clarity about God’s call for you. Discernment brings into focus one’s deepest life questions: What is the purpose of my life? With whom do I want to live and how will I express my love? How can I use my gifts and talents and whom do I want to serve? Benedict’s emphasis in discernment is on listening with both the head …

An invitation to Benedict’s “little rule for beginners”

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

On March 21 we celebrate the Feast of Benedict and honor this holy man who became the founder of the Benedictine tradition. The beginning of his story is captured in this excerpt from St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, by Sr. Margaret Clarke, OSB: Benedict, whose name in Latin means “Blessed,” was born to a Christian family in the mountains to the northeast of Rome (A.D.480?). The Roman Empire was crumbling and the Goths and Vandals controlled Italy. As a youth, he was sent to Rome for schooling and there experienced a religious awakening which caused him to renounce corrupt secular …

Who is Benedict?

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Rule of Benedict 0 Comments

I’m delighted to introduce you to Benedict of Nursia. Perhaps you recognize his name as the famous monk and author of the Rule of Benedict. This may be your first meeting with this “holy man of God,” so my desire is to go easy on historical information, and in fact we know little about the 6th century historical Benedict. Rather we learn of him through the influence of two documents, The Rule for Monks, and Gregory the Great’s Dialogues. We can also meet the person of Benedict through the lives of dedicated Benedictine women and men who practice his teachings. …

Scripture in the Rule of Benedict and Benedictine Tradition

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

One of the things that resonated with me when I began exploring community life at Holy Wisdom Monastery was the focus on Scripture that is so much a part of Benedictine life. The Rule of Benedict includes more than 300 quotations or allusions to Scripture — so many that some have described the Rule as the fruit of Benedict’s lectio on Scripture. Communally, we pray all the Psalms over a five-week period at the Liturgy of the Hours and read through the Bible at least once every two years. In addition to what we read in communal prayer, we also …

Wisdom from the Rule of Benedict

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

One of my greatest joys is in sharing the richness of the Rule of Benedict.  Along with the Gospels, the Rule holds the foundational wisdom that forms every Benedictine community.  The wisdom of Benedict has also been embraced by spiritual seekers throughout the world for its fundamental clarity and insights. Periodically we welcome women to our Exploring Benedictine Sojourners retreats, an opportunity to immerse themselves in our Benedictine way.  What follows is some of the wisdom of the Rule I share with them. Sister Joan Chittister, author of Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Living the Rule of Benedict Today, once shared this …

Benedictine Spirituality in the 21st Century

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

“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 …

Saint Benedict’s Rule: Guide for the Ages

Holy Wisdom Monastery Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

“Listen, child of God, to the guidance of your teacher. Attend to the message you hear and make sure that it pierces to your heart…” –Prologue to the Rule While living in Italy during the 6th century, Benedict of Nursia wrote a guide for community life, which he called a “little rule for beginners.” The Rule of Benedict quickly became the foundation for monastic communities across Europe, giving direction for ordinary people wanting to live extraordinarily well. The spirituality of the Rule is essentially lay in its origins. Eager disciples came to Benedict’s small cave, seeking guidance in their search …