Benedictine Sisters win international Assisi Award for conservation efforts spanning more than 60 years

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Living in Community, Uncategorized 2 Comments

The Benedictine Sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery received the inaugural Assisi Award for faith-based conservation at the 28th International Congress of Conservation Biology’s Opening Ceremony on July 23, 2017 in Cartagena, Colombia in front of nearly 1,500 attendees. The Assisi Award acknowledges organizations and individuals whose work demonstrates that faith-based conservation is contributing significantly to the common global effort of conserving life on Earth. Sisters Mary David Walgenbach and Joanne Kollasch accepted the award on behalf of their religious community located near Madison, Wisconsin. Their community is the first ecumenical Benedictine community in North America where Catholic and Protestant women …

Holy Wisdom Monastery is Travel Green Wisconsin Certified

Toby Grabs Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Hospitality, Meetings Leave a Comment

Holy Wisdom Monastery is recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism On February 28, 2017 a representative of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism presented Holy Wisdom Monastery with a recognition certificate from the Travel Green Wisconsin program. Sisters Mary David Walgenbach, Joanne Kollasch and Lynne Smith accepted the award for Holy Wisdom Monastery with many coworkers in attendance. The program recognizes and promotes organizations dedicated to sustainable practices. In a press release Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett commented, “Wisconsin has a longstanding tradition of conservation and Travel Green Wisconsin is an opportunity for businesses to further distinguish themselves for their sustainable …

Sylvia Marek leading a prairie walk - storing September

Storing September

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Phenology Leave a Comment

As we drank in the sights and sounds of a glorious September day on a recent Wisdom Prairie Walk, Sylvia Marek stopped to share the following poem, Storing September, which she said her mother often read to her. With deep gratitude for all the people and places that show us the way, inspire our hearts and souls, and work to preserve these places and moments of beauty, we share this poem with you: Storing September You ask me what I did today. I could pretend and say, “I don’t remember.” But, no, I’ll tell you what I did today— I stored September. …

New prairie growth

Nature Notes Summer 2016

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes Leave a Comment

A lot has been happening at Holy Wisdom Monastery as we care for the earth this year! Restoring the land The monastery has a master land management plan that calls for the restoration of all of the fire communities of southern Wisconsin. This includes Prairie—a grassland, Savanna—a grassland with a few widely spaced oak trees and Forest—an oak-hickory woods. These natural communities will grade one into the other in a continuum of tree density. None, a few and a lot. Preparing for these communities takes a lot of work. Using the master land management plan as a guide, a list …

aerial view of solar panels at Holy Wisdom - photo by H & H Solar

Update on sustainable building operation at Holy Wisdom

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by Mark Hanson, director of sustainable services, Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc Update, February 24, 2016:  Last November, the Holy Wisdom community decided to begin a new phase of living sustainably. Specifically, we decided to begin using the monastery and retreat and guest house as a living laboratory during the winter of 2015/2016. That included adjusting some temperatures lower during the winter months in different spaces and measuring the impact on energy use and cost. We said that we would monitor the results and report the findings as the monthly bills came in. We have been monitoring the results and …

Nature Notes Winter 2015-2016

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes Leave a Comment

Is it winter yet? It sure doesn’t feel like it as I write this in mid-December. I like the unseasonably mild temperatures because I can get some more work done on the grounds. It also makes me feel rather uneasy. This is not normal and may portend worse things for creation in the future. I do hope those folks in Paris will be able to develop a workable plan for reversing the heating up of the earth’s atmosphere. I believe that the sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery and their hundreds of loyal assistants are contributing to the slowing of climate …

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 …

Prairie naturalist and teacher

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by John A. Van Dinter, Friends of Wisdom Prairie council member Wisdom Monastery is committed to maintaining native prairie and savannas and we’ve been aided by a special person who has a tremendous background and knowledge in local native species and habitats. Nancy Schlimgen, a longtime resident of Westport, has helped the state of Wisconsin, Dane County, Westport Township, Holy Wisdom Monastery and many others restore and rebuild our natural habitats. (She is pictured above, left, as former staff naturalist at Holy Wisdom, working with student interns.) Nancy’s master’s thesis focused on a unique plant, prairie bush clover, which is an …

Spring with the Friends of Wisdom Prairie through a camera lens or two

Car McGinley Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

This spring the Friends of Wisdom Prairie learned about wildflowers at Abraham’s Woods near Albany, Wisconsin. The Friends also burned 85 acres of prairie, removed hedgerows to ready the land for an oak savanna, planted 10 acres of native prairie, searched for birds on the grounds of Holy Wisdom Monastery and were educated about Wisconsin wildlife by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Scott Craven. You are invited to join the Friends on one of their upcoming outings, dinner lectures, workdays and tours this summer. Help care for the earth at Holy Wisdom and learn about sustainable practices you can use where you …

Holy Wisdom Monastery driveway sign in front of tall evergreen trees

Land restoration spanning more than 60 years

Car McGinley Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

The majestic evergreens at the end of the Holy Wisdom Monastery driveway, ranging in size from 50-80 feet tall, started as seedlings growing in strawberry boxes, recalls Sister Joanne Kollasch. “Soon after the sisters came here (in 1953) we planted seedlings from the DNR in the garden. Several years later we transplanted them to several places on the property.” About 20 years ago, these trees were replanted again to the end of the driveway. The monastery garden, also planted that first year, has grown in size and continues to provide fresh produce for sisters and guests. From these early beginnings, the …