Celebrating Advent, Christmas and Epiphany at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Holy Wisdom Monastery Prayer & Worship, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

(Selections from the Liturgy of the Hours used by Benedictine Women of Madison, Holy Wisdom Monastery, Middleton, WI) Anticipating Christmas with the O Antiphons During the last week before Christmas, we begin the daily singing of the   O Antiphons, an ancient practice that embraces the sense of longing and anticipation for Christmas which swells with each day.  These antiphons are sung prior to the Magnificat, the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55, in our evening prayers throughout this week.  Each antiphon begins by addressing God with a name that expresses God’s loving design for people of all times and places.  Each …

Great love and great suffering

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community, Spirituality Articles 8 Comments

The people of east Aleppo have been in my prayers and on my mind this fall as they undergo the siege of their city. They are especially on my heart because a couple of years ago, a husband and wife and their triplet sons worshipped with us at Sunday Assembly for some months after they had fled Aleppo. In one conversation I had with Nael, he said, “Pray for us, the Syrian people. We don’t understand why this fighting is going on. We want to live in peace.” The images in the news of the destruction of the city keep …

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 …

the light of faith and hope seen in the candle, cross and window of the oratory

Faith and hope

Ann Moyer Prayer & Worship, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

How often the scripture and additional readings during the Liturgy of the Hours compliment each other and bring new light, new insights, new faith and hope. Today, as we honored and remembered Mary, Martha and Lazarus as companions of Jesus, we heard and prayed the following: From the writings of Louis Boyer: By his words “I am the resurrection and the life” Jesus condemns the mistake of faith without hope. He is its living refutation, because, in this incarnate person, he is the incursion of the invisible world. He is the resurrection and life. Faith is directed to him, to …

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 …

portion of Icon of Mary Magdalene by Robert Lentz, ofm

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to the Apostles

Holy Wisdom Monastery Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

In celebration of the feast of Mary Magdalene, July 22, the following reading comes from All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time, by Robert Ellsberg: “Mary Magdalene was one of the original Galilean disciples of Jesus and the most eminent among the many women who followed in his itinerant ministry.  Little can be said about her origins; she is characterized simply as “a woman from whom seven demons had gone out,” a statement subject to various interpretations.  It was St. Gregory the Great who identified Mary with the woman, “a sinner,” who sought Jesus in the home of …

Bee resting on a pink clover head

Lectio divina on the “book of creation”

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Building Community, Living in Community, Spirituality Articles 3 Comments

This post is transcribed from an oral presentation made by Sister Joanne Kollasch to the Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors on March 29, 2016, part of the sisters’ continuing mission to build community and share Benedictine values. A Spirituality for the Easter Season by Joanne Kollasch, OSB In morning prayer today we recited these words: Let all creation bend to you: For you spoke, and they took shape; you breathed: they came alive. Nothing can resist your voice. Or, in words recently shared by Margaret Mandernach, OSB:  “There is only one life, one love, one energy…namely, God. All of creation …

Sister Joanne speaking to an oblate gathering

A call to justice: Benedictine perspectives on listening, right relationships and public witness

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Building Community, Living in Community, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

The Oblate retreat, February 19-21, 2016, brought together 66 Oblates of Holy Wisdom, women and men from near and far, to learn from the sisters about the ways justice is expressed in Benedictine life through listening, right relationships and public witness. The following reflections come from a presentation given by Joanne Kollasch, OSB, on February 19, 2016 (pictured above). Today if you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart. —Prologue, Rule of Benedict There are many ways to hear God’s voice if we are silent and listening, if we are able to “welcome one another with the courtesy of love.” …

Lectio divina: the art of prayerful listening

Holy Wisdom Monastery Prayer & Worship, Spirituality Articles 0 Comments

“Listen!” is the first word in the Rule of Benedict. While a natural ability for most individuals, it is something that Benedictines hone throughout their lives. They believe that good followers and good leaders are good listeners, who listen not only to themselves and other individuals, but also to God. Lectio divina is one of the daily practices in Benedictine life that helps individuals emphasize the unity of being and doing. Lectio divina is a prayerful reading of scripture, a way of spending time with the Word of God. Readings are slow and deliberate, allowing the Word to resonate within …