Holy Wisdom Monastery to Restore Lost Landscape

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  This November Holy Wisdom Monastery will begin restoring 30 acres of its land to oak savanna, considered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to be Wisconsin’s rarest plant community. Oak savanna is characterized by widely spaced oak trees (between 10-50% tree canopy) with primarily grasses covering the ground. Before European settlement it was one of the most common plant communities in Wisconsin but now only a fraction remains. “Before Europeans arrived, oak savanna was more common than forest or prairie in southern Wisconsin,” explained Holy Wisdom Monastery’s Director of Land Management and Environmental Education, Greg Armstrong. After European …

Lynne Smith’s Homily for November 5, 2017

Lynne Smith, OSB Homilies 1 Comment

All Saints/All Souls                                                                                           November 5, 2017 Rev. 7:9-17; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12 Thomas Merton wrote: “To be a saint is to be yourself.” When I say that, I imagine, right away, there is a voice that goes off in our heads saying, “I’m no saint.” We have probably heard from lots of people: “You’re no saint.” Sometimes we mistakenly think we are not good enough or it’s not safe to be ourselves. So we try mightily to be something or someone else. We build a persona made up of who others tell us we should be, or we put …

Colleen Hartung’s Homily for October 22, 2017

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The Daughters of Zelophehad — #METOO   I know for a fact that there are at least a few of you here who are almost totally, technologically unplugged.  You are avoiding TV news coverage because it is just too upsetting.  You have an allergic aversion to social media and you don’t’ check your emails.  You know who you are.  This is one way to create a contemplative Benedictine space.  But if you are paying attention at all to the digital craziness out there, either because you feel like it is your civic duty or you are a little addicted — …

New books in the library—November 2017

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Enrich your mind and spirit—visit the monastery library! November 2017 Blustery winds stir bare tree branches. Piles of leaves and grinning jack-o-lanterns line the curbs. Plumes of smoke waft from chimneys and geese honk overhead as they make their way to warmer climes. The newspapers are full of Christmas ads…It must be November! It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to turkey dinners, pumpkin pies, and Black Friday shopping. Have I forgotten something? Besides football games? Yes! November is the month to be thankful for all the above and for all we’ve received throughout the year and throughout …

What do surfing and Benedictine spirituality have in common?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

In a recent class with Sister Paz Vital and Novice Denise West, we discussed the Benedictine promise of stability. Sometimes stability is thought of as staying in the same place with the same people for the rest of your life. Stability has that aspect to it, but there is more. Michael Casey, Cistercian monk from Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia, uses the image of a surf boarder to describe the dynamic character of Benedictine stability. A surfer needs both a strong center and an ability to adjust her weight and position of her feet on the board in order to maintain …

Art gallery guidelines and call for submissions

Holy Wisdom Monastery Art exhibits 2 Comments

Submissions due Friday December 11, 2017 for the spring and fall 2018 exhibits. Benedictine Women of Madison at Holy Wisdom Monastery sponsor two art exhibits every year as part of their mission. Held in the spring and fall, these exhibits hang in the Gathering Area of the LEED-certified monastery building. Selected artwork is in keeping with the monastic environment and reflects the Benedictine values of beauty, balance, simplicity, contemplation, and reverence for creation. Exhibits at Holy Wisdom Monastery seek to: Highlight creativity as an aspect of our spiritual lives Encourage a ‘new way of seeing’ by the viewer Open our …

Steve Zwettler’s Homily for October 15, 2017

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Homily October 15, 2017 28th Sunday of the Year By: Steve Zwettler Readings:  Is. 25-1-9 Phil: 4-1-9 Matt:  1-14   Leaning Into God   Ronald Rolheiser, an priest and marvelous spiritual writer, seems to always touch my soul.  His beautiful book, “The Holy Longing,” is a spiritual classic.  Somewhere in his writing he expressed this very interesting insight into spirituality.  He wrote:   “Spirituality is more about whether we can sleep at night, Than about whether or not we go to church.”   In light of this interesting insight I offer this Homiletic Meditation this morning—which is really a rather …

Mary Gordon’s Homily for October 8, 2017

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Sermon 10/8/17 Isaiah 5 1-8 Matthew 21: 33-45     Originally, Paul Knitter, our preside, was meant to be today’s homilist as well  and when I spoke to him about my difficulties with today’s readings he said, “I was so glad you had to speak about them and not me.”  Thanks a lot, Paul. The eminent feminist scholar of the Hebrew Bible, Phyllis Trible, has written a book called Texts of Terror, and today’s texts are indeed texts of terror, or more properly described, terrible texts. They are among those Biblical texts that I for one, wish weren’t there, For …

October phenology

Car McGinley Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Phenology Leave a Comment

By Sylvia Marek Phenology is a science focused on observing and recording biological events from year to year and their relationships to the change of seasons and climate. These are the “normal” phenology events we expect to see here and in the Madison area this month. We would love to hear about what you are seeing on the grounds of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Please comment on this post with what you are observing, where at Holy Wisdom and the date you observed the event. October Phenology The following favorite observations are from notes I have kept for many years. October …

Libby Caes’ Homily from October 1, 2017

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Libby Caes October 1, 2017 Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 Philippians 2:1-13 Matthew 21:23-32   A few times during my former career as a hospital chaplain a staff person would say that a difficult patient needed a heart transplant. That always caught my attention. It wasn’t that the patient literally needed a new heart. What was implied was that the patient was really hard to work with, A radical attitude adjustment was needed. Ezekiel might have said the same thing. God’s people are constantly grumbling and whining that God’s ways are not fair. An attitude adjustment is needed. I can imagine God …