Holy Week at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

A procession with palm branches, water splashing over your feet, the darkened assembly room, the seven last words of Christ from the cross, silence, waiting, prayer, a joyful alleluia, bread and wine shared with friends and strangers – these are some of the experiences we will have in the monastery during Holy Week next week, experiences we wish to share with you. We begin our Palm Sunday worship at 9 am by blessing palm branches, hearing the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and processing around the building and into the assembly room. There, we listen to the story of …

Tips for Creating an Effective Meeting Agenda

Drew Howick Meetings Leave a Comment

We provide space – quiet, relaxed and inviting space – for meetings at Holy Wisdom Monastery. We recognize the value of good planning for these meetings, and so we share the following suggestions from Drew Howick, a former director of our Benedictine Life Foundation board. This simple framework has helped us plan many of our own meetings here at the monastery. The following was adapted with permission from the book “The New Compleat Facilitator: A Handbook for Facilitators,” written by Drew Howick, Stuart Daily, and Abby Sprik, and published in its second edition in 2002 by Howick Associates. Over 20,000 …

Nature Notes Spring 2011

Greg Armstrong Nature Notes 1 Comment

My childhood memory of red-winged blackbirds is one of hot sweltering days in the wetlands around my home. I heard a red-winged blackbird singing, just now at the spring equinox, when it was cold and dreary out with some snow still on the ground. My mind had a hard time dealing with a red-winged song in this weather. It just didn’t seem right. However, in fact it is right, since the red-winged blackbirds do come back north early in the spring after a winter in the southern US or Mexico. Come to the monastery to see and hear these wonderful …

What are you reading for Lent?

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

In the Rule, Benedict writes: “during this time of Lent each one is to receive a book from the library, and is to read the whole of it straight through.” It continues to be our practice to choose a book to read during Lent. Sister Joanne and I share reflections on our Lenten reading below. Sister Joanne: Mary Gordon, the author, comes to Holy Wisdom Monastery when she travels to Madison.  On a recent visit she presented the sisters with an autographed copy of her latest book, Reading Jesus.  It was my choice for Lent; I gained new insights into …

Libby Caes' Homily from April 3, 2011

Holy Wisdom Monastery Homilies Leave a Comment

Libby Caes delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on April 3, 2011. Libby Caes is the oncology and palliative care chaplain at UW Hospital and Clinics. She is ordained by the Mennonite Church USA but makes herself at home in the larger ecumenical community. She received her M.Div. at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in Philadelphia, PA. Have you ever gone to one of your favorite restaurants and  hard time deciding what to order because there were so many wonderful choices? It has happened to me! How decide? What am I in the …

Mass Emails from Holy Wisdom Monastery through Vertical Response

Holy Wisdom Monastery Communications & Information Technology 2 Comments

The communications department at Holy Wisdom Monastery recently switched mass email providers to Vertical Response. The main reason we switched was to save money, although Vertical Response offers some handy features that we are excited about as well. If you haven’t already signed up for our Benedictine Bridge e-newsletter or Living in Community e-newsletter, you can click on these links and do so.  Benedictine Bridge is the monthly e-newsletter of Holy Wisdom Monastery sent out on (or around) the 15th of each month, that contains one or two spirituality articles, and information on upcoming retreats and events at the monastery.  …

"Learn everyday of your life"

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

This week my attention has been focused on how on-going growth and integration is basic to the monastic life. Benedictine life asks that we “learn everyday of our lives” and that learning is not just about intellectual knowledge. In her book, Seeking Life, Esther de Waal notes that Benedict is always addressing the whole self – body, mind and spirit. Benedict tells us in the Prologue that we must “prepare our hearts and bodies.” So as we seek to open ourselves more deeply to God during Lent, we might attend to each aspect of our person as de Waal suggests. …

Jim Penczykowski's Homily from March 27, 2011

Holy Wisdom Monastery Homilies Leave a Comment

Jim Penczykowski delivered the following homily at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on March 27, 2011 – the Third Sunday of Lent. What do we seek when we tentatively cross the threshold of a worship space for the first time? When you enter a church or chapel for the first time what do you hope for? Do you expect to meet God face-to-face? Do you expect an ecstatic experience? Do you expect your life will be laid bare before you? Do you expect an invitation to intimacy that might be a little bit scary? Or, do you expect something …

How is Lent going for you?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

During Lent, the Scripture readings and antiphons we sing with the Psalms remind us of our need to examine our lives and renew our relationships with God and others. A few years ago at a retreat here,  Joan Chittister, OSB, author of Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, shared this simple, wisdom distilled from the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict. These could provide guidance on our Lenten journey. Listen Wake up Do no harm Do good Trust in God Prepare your heart and your body Learn every day of your life The two nuggets of wisdom that catch my attention today …

Sister Act

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Media Coverage, Monastic Life 3 Comments

Download a PDF version of this article with color photos. This article is reprinted with permission from Sojourners, (800) 714-7474, www.sojo.net Benedictine women in Wisconsin are practicing new (and ancient) ways to save the earth, starting with the home front. By Betsy Shirley New growth has a history of springing to life at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wisconsin — and that’s just fine with the Benedictine sisters there. The ancient Benedictine motto “succisa virescit” (“cut down, it ever grows green”) is appropriate for a monastic tradition that has survived more than 1,500 years of church history, rooted in stability, yet …