Renew Yourself on Retreat at Holy Wisdom Monastery?

Jerrianne Bland Benedictine Bridge, Retreats 0 Comments

Consider taking a day or two or even three to experience the quiet, prayerful, spacious ambiance of a retreat in the Retreat and Guest House of Holy Wisdom Monastery. The whirling, swirling, flying snow of these winter days reminds me of the whirling, swirling, busy lives so many of us try to live. A terrific snowstorm in early December forced me to stay home, without a plan. What a gift that day turned out to be! Renewal and rejuvenation from solitude, silence and the beauty of creation brought peace and healing in the days that followed. We can’t count on …

What is Emerging at Holy Wisdom Monastery?

Lynne Smith, OSB Benedictine Bridge 0 Comments

The turn of a new year brings the hope of new beginnings and the anticipation of new possibilities. St. Peter exhorts the Christians in Asia Minor to be ready always to provide a defense for the hope they have (I Peter 3:15). Our reason for hope is the new life we have in Jesus Christ. Our community of Benedictine women is experiencing this hope in a number of areas where we see new life emerging. Membership Two women are discerning a call to the monastic community and several other women have expressed interest in learning more about what it would …

Emerging Gifts and Nesting Dolls

Claudia Porter Benedictine Bridge, Oblates 0 Comments

“Gift”–for me the word continues to bring visions of gaily wrapped packages in colorful paper with great big bows. “Emerging gifts,” on the other hand, present an image of those boldly painted European folk-art nesting dolls. These, unlike wrapped gifts, are not torn into with excitement and anticipation; rather they are slowly and carefully unpacked and savored. There is a certain fascination, even mystery, as each doll is discovered hidden inside another. In a very similar way, Oblate candidates unpack the emerging gifts of Benedictine spirituality during their year of formation. We meet regularly, often with the community of already committed Benedictine Oblates at Holy Wisdom …

The Religious Challenges of Today — the Benedictine Answer

Anne Edwardson Benedictine Bridge, Oblates 0 Comments

250 Oblates from 6 continents and 32 countries gathered in Rome, Italy at the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI for the Second Oblate World Congress. Abbot Primate Nokter Wolf, the symbol of unity among Benedictine communities worldwide, in addressing the assembly suggested that these are special, difficult times of crisis; both in economies and in security and it is hoped that Benedictine Oblates may help respond to these challenges. What was the Benedictine Oblate answer? Contemplation and dialogue…. The Second Oblate World Congress was introduced with a Russian icon, Christ the Light of the World and the comment, “Deep within the human heart is a desire …

New Monastery Education

Neal Smith Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

The new monastery building is completed and everyone is moved in! Benedictines are believers in “life-long learning.” So, what will the new monastery be used for from an educational perspective? There are many facets to be explored and many new ideas as we work to fully utilize the new building. First of all, a committee of co-workers and volunteers developed an education plan focusing on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements. Included were the following: Guided tours will be conducted on an ongoing basis to educate our co-workers, retreatants, oblates, Sunday Assembly members, other guests and the general public about the sustainable and earth-friendly …

Sabbatical Time: Listening to the Spirit Within

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life 0 Comments

I received a three-month Lilly Sabbatical grant for Pastoral Leaders in 2009. The time I chose was April 15 through July 16, closing with a family celebration for my mom’s 96th birthday. The purpose of my sabbatical was to take time to renew, to reflect and to remember: “to bend back” over my community’s journey of becoming the first ecumenical Benedictine monastery in North America. I accomplished my purpose. To begin, I had some special time, meals and conversations with Sisters Joanne, Lynne and Martha. Sister Martha is a retired member of our community who lives in Sioux City, Iowa; it’s always a blessing when the four of …

A New Song

Holy Wisdom Monastery Poetry 0 Comments

Out here you listen to bells   rain   birdsong you listen to snow falling in the pinewoods hum of bees in the tall prairie flowers footsteps, footsteps walking to prayer. Wind rustles a field of big bluestem, a heron cuts across the sky— there is a pulse in everything ordinary; a rhythm to the hours; night and day and night and day; there are hints, everywhere, of Presence. Out here the ear of the heart opens to wisdom: live close to the earth, care for the land, order your days by the seasons. Out here the ear of the …

Practicing Gratitude

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Prayer & Worship 0 Comments

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? This question often starts a conversation about how we will spend a much-loved American holiday. Friends and family members begin naming their favorite traditions. This year maybe you’d like to add a new practice. It may even become a new tradition. Name your favorite “giving thanks” words and images; the more the better (even if you name shopping and turkey). On my list is family gathering, a large round oak dining table, sharing food, good friends, community leisure, prayer, and a generous faithful God. Our community prayer closes at the monastery when the leader gathers the participants’ prayer into a …

Great Friend, Great Gratitude to You

Gloria Krysiak Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life 0 Comments

If you’ve heard the words nature, purpose, structure and function at a parish council, school board or curriculum committee meeting, chances are very good that Sister Barbara Dannhausen, OP (Order of Preachers), was involved in defining their organizational structures. All over Wisconsin and beyond, schools, churches, boards and religious communities have benefited greatly from the strategic planning skills of this Sinsinawa Dominican, but none perhaps as much or as long as Benedictine Women of Madison (BWM). During the early 1980s, Barbara worked with our sisters to assist in defining the focus of the retreat and conference center. Later in the 1990s, during a time of considerable discernment about …

Natural Lighting

Neal Smith Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building 0 Comments

“Why can’t I turn the lights off?  This is a question I’ve frequently heard when touring the new monastery building. Usually we’re just leaving the food service area and one of our energy conscious guests asks this question. The answer I offer is that I forgot to point out the large solar tube in the center of the room. Solar tubes direct outdoor light down a reflective tube to brighten interior spaces. Even on a cloudy day there is enough solar lighting to make people think the lights are on. One of the characteristics of the new building is the use of natural light. Every occupied space in the building has …