Lent: Discovering Who We Are and Reorienting Our Lives

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Living in Community Leave a Comment

Our lives are filled with journeys, seeking to find out who we are and what our purpose is. Describing this inner journey is like describing a landscape. Imagine an expanse of land with great variety: valleys, hills, smooth plains and endless desert. Each of these places can serve as an image that helps us know the inner and outer terrain of our journey. Images also reveal how we feel about where we are. On a given day, in a moment of mindfulness, the many dimensions of our life are like a joyful mountaintop experience or a seemingly endless trek across …

Hospitality: All Are Welcome at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Benedictine Bridge, Hospitality, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

Hospitality is one of the core values that the sisters live at Holy Wisdom Monastery. One way they do this is by welcoming all to participate in the activities at the monastery. Among the many guests of the monastery, members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer (GLBTQ) communities in Madison and beyond find a place of spiritual comfort and refuge here. Sunday Assembly has a number of gay and lesbian members. Jim Green and Bill Diederich have been worshipping and attending retreats with the sisters since the early 1970s. Bill and Jim recently celebrated their 40th anniversary together …

The Prairie Never Hibernates

Greg Armstrong Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Natural Resources, Nature Notes 1 Comment

The cold and snow of winter dramatically changethe landscape at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Snowy days have a soft beauty about them as nearly everything gets covered with snow, and the plants and landforms become smooth and round. The softness even muffles sounds. When the sun comes out, these subtle forms glisten in the light. How different from the warm, sometimes steamy scenes of summer. Although cold, it is a very beautiful time to visit the prairies, woodlands, and wetlands of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Come and enjoy the beauty and calm of winter by participating in a personal retreat or walking on the nature trails. The …

Sisters Receive Many Commendations from the Federation of Saint Gertrude

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life Leave a Comment

From December 12-14, Benedictine Women of Madison received a visit from Joella Kidwell, OSB, President of the Federation of Saint Gertrude; and Margaret Michaud, OSB, St. Bede Monastery. Every monastery belonging to the Federation of Saint Gertrude receives a visit from the federation president every five years. It’s a time to check in about what is going well at the monastery and a time to evaluate what might be improved. Sisters Joella and Margaret made 11 commendations for the work at Holy Wisdom Monastery, including: The successful creation of an ecumenical monastic community since their last visit and the admission of one …

Advent: The Season of Waiting at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Benedictine Bridge, Prayer & Worship, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

November 28 marked the first Sunday of Advent for this calendar year, simultaneously marking the first day of the new church year on the liturgical calendar. Advent stems from the Latin word Adventus, meaning ‘coming.’ In the Christian tradition it is a reminder of the time period that the Hebrews spent waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. The celebration of Advent at Holy Wisdom Monastery with the Sunday Assembly community stems from the sisters’ visions and values as an ecumenical Benedictine community. In 2001, the Benedictine Women of Madison established the Monastic Ritual Team, which oversees all prayer and worship activities at …

Reflections on Formation in Community

Lynne Smith, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

My work as director of membership and monastic formation has prompted me to reflect on my own formation lately. Formation is different for each woman who comes to community, yet the process is similar. Prayer, common work and dialogue, study, leisure and the practices of hospitality, listening, obedience and humility invite a woman into the on-going conversion at the heart of monastic life. Some stories from my own early years in community may shed light on the process of Benedictine formation. An ordinary event soon after I moved to the monastery revealed a portion of God’s agenda for my formation. …

Monastery Building Campaign: Closing the Gap!

Drew Howick Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building, Main Leave a Comment

It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since the “Restore the Land, Renew Your Spirit” building campaign began. Under very challenging economic conditions, more than $1.1 million has been raised toward the $2 million goal. Since last fall, campaign donors met not one, but two $100,000 matching gifts. This generous outpouring of support is truly inspiring and a testament to the commitment of more than 870 people. Between now and the end of the campaign on December 31, 2010, the work of the Benedictine Life Foundation and everyone connected with Holy Wisdom Monastery is clear: get as close …

Sister Asella Returns to Korea

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Hospitality, Monastic Life Leave a Comment

In June 2009, Sister Asella Kim, a Missionary Benedictine from Seoul, Korea, came to live with the sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery. She was here on a year’s sabbatical after serving a Korean and American parish in New Jersey for six years. Asella has known us since 1994 when she spent four years here learning English and continuing her education. Because Sister Asella is a kindred spirit we count her as part of our community. She especially enjoyed walking in the prairie and working in the garden. She even requested a three-month extension of her sabbatical so she could help bring in the produce …

Benedictine Women Welcome First Associate at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

On September 1, 2010, Benedictine Women of Madison welcomed Mary Lynn Adams as the first associate member of Holy Wisdom Monastery. An Associate Member seeks God by following the Rule of Benedict as expressed through the mission and values of Benedictine Women of Madison, and by participating in the common life of the monastery. The associate lives, works and prays at Holy Wisdom Monastery; she is not a professed member of the community. With the successful completion of a six month probationary period, the associate and community enter into a covenant, which can be renewed annually. Through this covenant, the …

Contemplation: Seeing the Silent Center of Love

Beth O'Brien Benedictine Bridge, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

Today it is the sixty-three purposeful steps to my roadside mailbox. Each step offers the on-going gifts of the journey: the tiniest of red mites dancing circles on rain-frayed hollyhock leaves like turning kaleidoscopes of life, the yarrow’s responsive swoop and spill mimicking the deep yearnings of the world, and from the top perches of the steady oak the gargled call of the red-bellied woodpecker replying in synchronicity to the measured jumps of a startled, wood-house toad. The harsh corners of the world are momentarily set aside to embrace these reminders that all of life is one continuous, interconnected, flow …