A network of support

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

I’ve recently been reading ’s book, The Hidden Life of Trees. In his chapter on “Social Security” he notes that trees of the same species like to grow close together. It turns out that beech trees, with which Wohlleben is most familiar, share resources with each other. Researchers found that they share the sugar produced among them through their root systems. The trees growing in better conditions passed some of the sugar they produced to those growing in less favorable conditions so they could each grow into the best tree they can be. Forests form communities of support through their …

Beginning another chapter

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

On January 10, 2019, we welcomed the Rev. Nancy Enderle and the Rev. Jerry Buss, the co-directors of the Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal to the coworkers at the monastery. Joanne remarked to me: “This begins another chapter.” Her comment set me thinking about the chapters in our community’s story. The sisters’ community has authored many chapters in its life. They are a testimony to the sisters hearing and responding to the needs around them. If I were to write a summary of the chapters, it might go like this. Chapter 1 – Hospital When the Sisters of Saint …

Sojourner diary—hopeful expectations

Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary 2 Comments

Advent is a season of hopeful expectation. Nowhere is that more clearly illustrated for us than in the Gospel stories of mother-to-be Mary as she surrenders herself to God and then patiently waits for the Divine plan and purpose for her life to develop and emerge within her. I’m guessing from my own childbearing experiences that it wasn’t always easy or comfortable. For Mary, saying yes to the Spirit was risk. It was a guarantee that her life would change and that some of that change would bring pain. But, say yes to God also meant that she would be …

Knowing who we are journeying with

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

Last Friday, the Servant Leadership class from UW Extension held its monthly class at the monastery. Toby Grabs, our operations manager, gave the class a tour and introduction to the monastery. I met with them to talk about how we exercise leadership in the monastery. I lifted up three principles that have guided us and served to move us into the future: listening to others collaboration and community. Because we have always been a small community and because we value collaboration and community building, we have consulted with and involved others in our ministry and decision-making through the years. In …

Pathways to wisdom

Kate Stel Care for the Earth, Living in Community, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

“Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate. To fix one’s thought on her is perfect understanding, and one who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every …

Susan Pearson receives a hug from Sister Mary David Walgenbach with Sister Lynne Smith standining close by.

Providing opportunities for transformation

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community 2 Comments

Over the years when people have worked with the sisters on marketing and getting the word out about the monastery, they often ask, “What is your product?” They are trying to help us articulate clearly the benefit the monastery provides to the public. It is a good marketing question, but it has never felt as if it quite fits what the monastery does. At the recent oblate retreat when the oblate candidates were sharing their personal rules and their experiences during the candidate year, it came to me that the “product” the monastery provides is transformed people. Actually that is …

Discernment and the Spiritual Life: Prayer, Mindfulness, and Community

Holy Wisdom Monastery Leave a Comment

In the midst of life’s mysteries and difficulties, the process of sorting through our feelings, experiences, and choices can be challenging. How do we make those choices? What is discernment? How is discernment practiced within the spiritual life? Gaining insights from such stories as Jesus’ temptation in the Gospel of Luke and others, we will explore these questions as we experience the process of discernment through lectio divina (divine reading), contemplative prayer, community, and mindfulness. Lunch is included. Dr. Andre B. Heuer  D. Min. LICSW has supported and challenged individuals for 40 years as a psychotherapist, educator, and pastoral minister working …

Oblates gathering in community

What is community?

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community Leave a Comment

People often come to the monastery looking for community. Community is a slippery word that is used with a wide range of meanings and lots of unspoken expectations. We talk about community around the monastery because community is central to Benedictine life. But the question remains: what is community? We probably each have different understandings and expectations of what it means. I recently came across one definition that seems simple and helpful. It doesn’t say everything, yet it is a place to start. Charles Vogl, in his article, “Behind every strong leader is a strong community,” defines community as: “a …

The creative tension of opposites

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community Leave a Comment

I recently read a quotation on creative tension that has me intrigued. It was entitled: The Tension of Opposites and the Power of Love: “… all our lives we are faced with the task of reconciling opposites which, in logical thought, cannot be reconciled… How can one reconcile the demands of freedom and discipline in education? Countless mothers and teachers, in fact, do it, but no one can write down a solution. They do it by bringing into the situation a force that belongs to a higher level where opposites are transcended—the power of love… Divergent problems, as it were, …

4 sisters gathered around deep dish pizza

Milestones

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 13 Comments

I was turning 40. There was no avoiding it, but for the weeks leading up to my birthday I tried not to indulge a creeping sense of dread. Although I could laugh over the prospect of having to check the “40 and over” survey box, I also felt anxious about crossing a threshold into middle age. There is something about milestones that force reflection, self-assessment, and in my case—mild depression. What had I accomplished with my life? I would be turning 40 at a monastery, with nothing to my name. All the accomplishments of a legal career built during my …