Experience Benedictine community life

Are you curious about life in a monastery? Would you like to experience ways that Benedictine spirituality might enrich your life? We welcome women of any Christian tradition to visit Holy Wisdom and get to know us. Join us for prayer and worship, come for a special event, a personal retreat, an Exploring Benedictine Community weekend retreat, or a 1-2 week stay—all ways to get to know us better and explore your questions. If you find something special here you might consider living and working with us as a Benedictine Sojourner for six months.

Together with our Benedictine Sojourners we seek God in our everyday rhythm of prayer and work, study and leisure. This program is open to single, Christian women, ages 21-50, in good health, with no dependents. New sojourners begin their six months with us in September of each year.

 women working in the monastery orchard v3What do Benedictine Sojourners do?

  • Experience a rhythm of daily prayer in community.
  • Live a simple, celibate lifestyle.
  • Work in the sisters’ ministries at the monastery 20-25 hours / week:
      • Grow and harvest fruits and vegetables, then prepare and share meals together.
      • Care for our prairie, woods, lake and trails.
      • Prepare for guests in our retreat and guest house.
      • Lead daily prayers and participate in Sunday music and worship.
      • Blog, take photos, write for the sisters’ website and publications.
  • Learn Benedictine community living skills.
  • Receive room and board, and a monthly stipend.
  • Form relationships among Benedictine Sojourners, the sisters and the wider communities connected with Holy Wisdom Monastery.
  • Enjoy leisure time in evenings and on days off.

Spiritual growth as a Benedictine Sojourner

Seek God in the everyday rhythm of prayer and work, study and leisure.

What happens after six months?

Sojourners conversationAt the end of six months as a sojourner you may:

  • Complete the program and take the skills you have learned back into your daily life.
  • Explore further options with the community, including a three-month time of discernment for becoming a sister at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

How to become a Benedictine Sojourner

A new group of Benedictine Sojourners begins in September each year. We are currently receiving inquiries for September 2017. As you consider a sojourner experience, you will want to:

  1. Make arrangements to come and meet us, find out more about being a sojourner. If you live close by, come for evening prayer and conversation over dinner or come to our A Day Away retreat. If you live farther away, plan a weekend visit. Come for an Exploring Benedictine Community Retreat. Or, contact us to arrange for a weekend that works best for you.
  2. Call or email Sister Lynne Smith with any questions you may have (contact information below).
  3. Help us get to know you by filling out an Exploring Benedictine Community inquiry form.
  4. After an initial visit we will help you schedule an extended two-week visit at the monastery—an opportunity to learn and experience even more about the rhythm of life you can expect as a sojourner.
  5. If you are invited to become a Benedictine Sojourner after this two-week visit, we will ask for letters of recommendation and additional health information. You will also need some time to begin planning to be away from your current commitments and responsibilities.

Do you have more questions?

Would you simply like to talk with someone about the possibilities?

Contact Sister Lynne Smith, at lwsmith@benedictinewomen.org, 608-831-9305. We look forward to exploring with you!

Our Benedictine Sojourners tell their stories

Paz Vital and Denise West, our 2015-16 Benedictine Sojourners, invite you to consider becoming a Benedictine Sojourner. They share their experiences here in their own words ~

  • Paz’s blog series:
 Little notes from a prairie journey
  • Denise’s blog series:
Far from home

Have questions?
Start a conversation
with us!

Does the Benedictine Sojourner program interest you? Would you like to know more? Start a conversation with us using the inquiry form below:

Exploring Benedictine Community inquiry form

Or come to a retreat to learn more:

A Day Away RetreatsExploring Benedictine Community Retreats

A former Benedictine Sojourner’s journey

by Rosy Kandathil, OSB

Before joining the community, Sister Rosy Kandathil spent time with us as a Benedictine Sojourner. She reflects on this time:  “Over the course of my time as a Benedictine Sojourner, I have come to joyfully recognize my own monastic calling and desire. I am growing. I love God more each day. My life feels rooted and I am living with my whole heart. For me, the monastic path, as laid out by the Rule of Benedict, is full of delight and treasure.”  

View Rosy’s sojourner blog posts here:

A Benedictine Sojourner’s journey