Sojourner diary

Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary 1 Comment

Sojourner Diary Day 6 of Week 9 Today is the sixth day of the ninth week of my Benedictine Sojourner experience. I’ve been living in the community for two full months now, which isn’t all that long in the grand scheme of things, but somehow it feels like a great deal has happened to me in that time. Many things have changed and I can’t help feeling that once my sojourn is over, no matter what the future holds, I will not be quite the same person I was before I came here. This is a good thing. In my …

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 …

Stories shape us

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

“It is the telling of the story of the gesture of Francis which gives the heritage the power to traverse time and to be creative. It is not constitutions, not norms that do this. A movement without a legend spends its energy in ensuring its survival.” – Francis of Assisi Today, by Christian Duquoc   The quote above was part of our reading at midday prayer on October 4, 2018 for the commemoration of Francis of Assisi. What struck me was how important story is in shaping our lives. Benedictines are great story tellers. Besides reading the Rule of Benedict, …

Sojourner diary

Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary Leave a Comment

Monday, October 15 Dear Reader(s), Back when Sisters Joanne Kollasch and Lynne Smith were in the process of discerning with me about becoming a Sojourner, I suggested that I should keep a journal as part of my three-month monastic experience. At the time of that well intended suggestion, I was envisioning myself being rested, relaxed and in a reflective state of mind. I imagined that I would be sitting serenely in some sunny corner of Bingen House with my journal in front of me and a pen in hand. I pictured having time to freely open my mind, spread out …

Restoration and hope

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Living in Community Leave a Comment

Restoration is a powerful antidote to despair. Restoration offers concrete means by which humans can once again enter into positive, creative relationship with the more-than-human world, meeting responsibilities that are simultaneously material and spiritual.  –Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer (p. 328)   I made a quick trip to Illinois to visit my brother and his wife and my sister and her husband last week. It was fun to see them and get caught up even if for just a few days. It rained the three days I visited my brother and his wife in Naperville, Illinois. Since we couldn’t go …

Agridulce or bittersweet

Paz Vital, OSB Justice, Living in Community Leave a Comment

My experience at the Hispanic Summer Program (HSP) in Dallas was agridulce or bitter-sweet. It was dulce-sweet because I was able to be around people who look like me. My teachers and most of my fellow students looked like me and spoke Spanish like me. I was able to speak Spanish. I was able to worship in my native language. It was very natural for all of us to go back and forth speaking Spanglish. We shared common stories and experiences. The topics of our classes were all about Latin@theology and the way Latin@s express our religiosity. It was very …

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 …

Hospitality and a safe space

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

“One of the most challenging tasks of the Christian is to create the space where people can meet each other without fear, share the human pains and joys which transcend their differences and discover each other as belonging to the same human family.” –Henri Nouwen Al Heggen, retired Lutheran pastor and friend of Holy Wisdom Monastery, recently shared the above quote with me. I was struck by how much this kind of space is needed today. I think of what we do at Holy Wisdom as creating the space where people can meet and be present to themselves, others, nature and …

Practicing kinship at the monastery

Kate Stel Care for the Earth, Living in Community 1 Comment

As a student of theology and ministry studies, I’m often busy reading and writing theological propositions, exercising my critical eye as a reader, and learning the arts of ministry like preaching and spiritual care. I find myself thoroughly convinced of the veracity of many theological arguments and of the necessity to rethink traditional models and modes of religious community. I know many things to be true and spend an exorbitantly large amount of time demonstrating it. Such is the life of a graduate student. Since coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery, I’m wondering if I feel any of those well-reasoned propositions …

Living our intention

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

“Ceremony focuses attention so that attention becomes intention. If you stand together and profess a thing before your community, it holds you accountable.” Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, p. 249. On July 15, 2018, we celebrated the first profession of Denise West as a sister at Holy Wisdom Monastery during the Eucharist on Sunday morning. Denise has been with us about three years, and this is the next step in making a commitment to community life with the sisters at Holy Wisdom. Benedictines are good at ceremony; we call it liturgy or ritual. In the profession ritual, Denise stood before …