Holy Wisdom Monastery – LEED Education Plan

Neal Smith Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building Leave a Comment

Public Education & Outreach – Sustainable Design and Construction Intent Provide public and co-worker education focusing on sustainable design and construction strategies, green buildings as a financially viable building solution, and the need for proactive management of green buildings. Requirements To take advantage of the educational value of the green building features of Holy Wisdom Monastery and to earn an Innovation in Design credit, a narrative detailing the activities and instructional elements of our education and outreach program is provided. Two of the three elements defined in the 9/24/01 CIR are included in the Education and Outreach program: 1. Guided tours will be conducted on …

"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. …

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 …

Holy Wisdom Monastery building overlooking woods and lake in distance

Creating a living lab for sustainable building operation

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth Leave a Comment

by Mark Hanson, director of sustainable services, Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications. There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ Caring for the earth requires thoughtful decisions in design, construction and ongoing operation or stewardship of a building and the land it’s on. Holy Wisdom Monastery was diligent in building a new monastery building in 2009 and has since added considerably more solar energy generation. The …

Winter preparations

Paz Vital Little notes from a prairie journey, Living in Community 8 Comments

It has been two months since I arrived to Holy Wisdom Monastery. I moved here because I wanted to change. I am not sure if the changing process has already started or not, but I am preparing myself. I am preparing the same way we prepare the land for winter. It is the advent of my life, the expectant waiting and preparing for the new, the birth of a new life. There is a lot of excitement here at the monastery because winter is coming. We finished the work at the garden. First, we cleaned the garden—there are no more …

candle light and plain, bare Christmas tree await Christmas Eve services in the assembly room

Christmas in community

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community Leave a Comment

Reflections by Joanne Kollasch and Lynne Smith, co-directors of formation  The Christmas Eve liturgy is a highlight of the season for our community. Soft candle light flickers around the assembly room. We sit in muted silence before the service begins. This is a time for quiet meditation, time to take in the Christmas tree and crèche scene surrounded by poinsettias. Our Advent liturgies dwell on the theme of anticipation of Christ’s coming rather than rushing to Christmas. Christmas Eve is the culmination of our anticipation, ushered in by the cherished music of Christmas. This is the beginning of the celebration …

Sister Joanne and retreatant looking together at prayer books used for daily prayer

Building community through shared Benedictine values

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community 1 Comment

Sister Joanne will be quick to tell you that Benedictine spirituality does not exist in the abstract. It only comes alive as people embody it. It is learned and passed on person to person through relationships. Having lived this life for over sixty years, Joanne embodies the Benedictine values of the monastery in her unique way. Joanne is passionate about passing on the Benedictine way of life to everyone with whom she comes into contact. You have probably experienced the values of hospitality, respect, simplicity and beauty through Joanne. She embodies Benedictine values in the way she greets guests, in …

Paz and the sisters at midday prayer

Having a hard time with the psalms

Paz Vital Little notes from a prairie journey, Living in Community 9 Comments

At the monastery we pray the psalms three times a day during the Liturgy of the Hours. At morning and evening prayer, we pray two psalms each, one singing and another recited, at midday we recite a psalm. This is a total of five psalms a day, which is a lot for me. Since I can remember, back in Mexico, I used to attend mass every single Sunday and I never heard a psalm that asked God for the punishment of the wicked or to kill and banish my enemies from the earth. When I first moved to Houston and …

Sisters and guests gathered in prayer in the oratory.

 Viviendo momentos difíciles con los salmos

Paz Vital Pequeñas notas de un viaje a la pradera 2 Comments

En el monasterio rezamos los salmos tres veces al día durante la Liturgia de las Horas. En la oración de la Mañana y en la oración de la tarde, oramos dos salmos cada vez, uno cantado y otro recitado. En la oración de mediodía recitamos un salmo. Esto nos da un total de cinco salmos al día, lo cual es demasiado para mí. Desde que puedo recordar, todos los domingos asistía a misa con mi familia en México y nunca escuché un solo salmo que pidiera a Dios por el castigo de la gente mala o que pidiera la muerte …

Sister Joanne speaking to an oblate gathering

A call to justice: Benedictine perspectives on listening, right relationships and public witness

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

The Oblate retreat, February 19-21, 2016, brought together 66 Oblates of Holy Wisdom, women and men from near and far, to learn from the sisters about the ways justice is expressed in Benedictine life through listening, right relationships and public witness. The following reflections come from a presentation given by Joanne Kollasch, OSB, on February 19, 2016 (pictured above). Today if you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart. —Prologue, Rule of Benedict There are many ways to hear God’s voice if we are silent and listening, if we are able to “welcome one another with the courtesy of love.” …