The Value of Volunteers at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Benedictine Bridge, Volunteers Leave a Comment

The contribution of the many volunteers at Holy Wisdom Monastery on a daily basis helps make the Monastery function. There is so much life that goes beyond the work of the monastic community and co-workers. Volunteering at Holy Wisdom Monastery fits in well with the core Benedictine values that the sisters profess to live, especially building community. On a typical day this spring, you will find volunteers cleaning the new bamboo floors, conducting a prairie burn to help restore it to pre-settlement conditions and planting the vegetable garden. The volunteers are a vital part of everyday life at the monastery. In 2001, the Conference …

Eco-Spirituality: Healing Earth, Healing Souls

Holy Wisdom Monastery Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

“A spirit of reverence for all creation permeates the Rule, together with a sense of oneness with the land, the days and the seasons. Such conscious respect for all created goods makes it impossible to pollute the land, water or air; to waste resources or to forget about the children who will one day inhabit the earth.” – from Of All Good Gifts, a Statement from the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses, June 1980 People relate to the environment in various ways. In years past, humans viewed the environment as the ultimate source of life, a necessary factor in their …

Care for the Earth: A Longstanding Monastery Tradition

Neal Smith Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Care of the earth is nothing new at Holy Wisdom Monastery. As the story goes, three sisters went into the countryside outside of Madison in the early 1950s looking for a site suitable for a new Benedictine monastery. They had come from Sioux City, Iowa at the invitation of the first Bishop of the Madison diocese. What they found was a hilltop in the country with an unparalleled vista of the Madison skyline. After saying a few prayers and burying medals of St. Benedict, they set out to acquire the land. Once they tracked down the current owner, they negotiated for the 42.5 acres …

Leadership in a Benedictine Community

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

“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 Leave a Comment

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 …