Leadership in a Benedictine Community

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict 0 Comments

Respectful listening is the first and foremost quality for leadership according to St. Benedict. He begins his Rule with “Listen.” For anyone seeking to grow in relationship to God, self and others, attentive listening is key for a whole and holy life. Two premises support the understanding of leadership in the Rule of Benedict (RB). The first is that Christ is the ultimate authority and second that the abbot represents Christ in a special way for the community. The leader, either prioress or abbot, is chosen by the community and receives what Benedictines believe to be the grace of office. …

Benedictine Sisters Share Leadership at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Lynne Smith, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life 0 Comments

In Sister Mary David’s preceding essay, she guides us in St. Benedict’s understanding of leadership. “Consultation, respectful listening and speaking humbly,” are values the sisters strive to practice in our ministry at Holy Wisdom Monastery. On Saturday evenings one of the sisters leads our communal practice of lectio divina: listening to the scripture together and sharing their meaning for our lives. We often have guests with us, so our leadership is important in helping them participate fully. On Sundays, we share leadership in worship with members of our Sunday Assembly. We serve as communion ministers, lectors, presider or homilists. Prayer is …

“As soon as you drive up that drive, the rest of the world disappears”

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Benedictine Bridge, Retreats 0 Comments

Rev. Jenny Gleichauf, ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA and pastor at Winnetka Congregational Church in Winnetka, Illinois, first discovered Holy Wisdom Monastery when she was a seminary student at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Our own Lynne Smith, OSB, attended McCormick, and the community has fostered a relationship with the seminary for years. Jenny came here for a silent retreat, and always looks forward to her return visits. “As soon as you drive up that drive, the rest of the world disappears,” she says about the turn off County Highway M and onto the 130 acres of prairie land at the Monastery. “The …

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 …