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 …

Rodent wrangling and ambiguity

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

This week, on Tuesday morning, a group of us headed over to the garden. We hoped to beat the day’s heat and get some weeding and other work done before it became unbearably hot and humid. Sister Paz Vital and I were working in a fenced-in garden plot that contained rows of okra, cabbage, radishes, kale and a huge grouping of tomato plants. Suddenly, I heard a rustling in the corner of the garden near where we were working. The many, many weeds in that corner shook. A rabbit emerged, bounding through the garden. “BUNNY!” I yelled to Sister Paz. …

A summer walk on the prairie

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 4 Comments

At our recent staff retreat day, I went out for a walk in the prairie. Over the past two years we have been redesigning some of the trails on the property to follow the contours and interest points of the land. On Tuesday, I decided to follow a new trail that begins north of the orchard on the top of the hill. I crossed the gravel road and entered the path through an opening between two evergreen trees that leads into a meadow. The old path wrapped around the outside of the meadow. But this new path takes the walker …

Guests bring a blessing

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

  The sisters at Holy Wisdom have received a lot of guests recently. We greet the groups who come to use our space for their meetings and retreats. We get to know personal retreatants over meals in the community dining room. When I first came to the monastery, as an introvert, I found it taxing to have new people with us at every meal. Now I look forward to meeting them. Saint Benedict says that a monastery is never without guests. Indeed, we wouldn’t really be a Benedictine monastery without guests. We are called to provide hospitality and serve others. …

One last blog

Diane Ray Living in Community 2 Comments

  As my last blog, I am writing to let everyone know about my plans after my sojourner experience (for the few of you I have not already told) and to thank you all for your part in my time at the monastery. After I am done with this six-month program at Easter, I will be living in Madison for a few months. I have the honor and time commitment to be in two wedding parties, so I will stick around until they are done. After that, I hope to move to Illinois to start my Masters in Library Science, …

We are the Body of Christ

Lynne Smith, OSB 65th Anniversary, Living in Community, Sunday Assembly 6 Comments

One of the experiences that profoundly shaped my life as a sister at Holy Wisdom Monastery was the listening sessions we held in October of 2005 with members of Sunday Assembly to hear your input and concerns about the future of Sunday Assembly. The issue we were grappling with was how we would conduct Sunday worship as an ecumenical community. The sisters had discussed this matter for several years with our Ecumenical board. We laid several options on the table. Each sister could go to her own denominational church. We could go as a group to churches of various denominations …

Rooted in faith, transforming lives: people – land – spirit

Janet Neurauter 65th Anniversary, Care for the Earth, Hospitality, Living in Community, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

On March 11, 1953 sisters Monica Black, Annunciata Byrne and Martha Glaser of the Sisters of St. Benedict arrived by train from Sioux City, Iowa where their community had been located for 56 years. While the rest of the sisters stayed in Iowa, these three sisters moved north to Madison, Wisconsin, at the invitation of the Bishop, to build a monastery and open a girl’s high school. Much has changed in the 65 years since the sisters stepped off the train and into a new adventure which would transform lives and land. To celebrate the past, cherish the present and …

Serving others, being served

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

A couple weeks ago when we had snow on a Sunday morning, I got up early to plow the driveways at home. The snow blower on the tractor wasn’t working properly so it took longer than usual. I saw the problem, but couldn’t fix it myself especially in single digit temperatures in the dark of pre-dawn. I made a mental note to contact Paul, our groundskeeper, to see if he could fix the trouble on Monday so it would be ready for the next snow. Later that morning at the monastery, before Sunday Assembly, someone told me of a friend …

The gift of encuentro

Denise West, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

Last November, Sister Lynne Smith, Sister Paz Vital and I headed up to Milwaukee for a conference on the future of religious communities in the United States. The theme of the conference was Encuentro, and the focus was around the great diversity of cultures in this country and the changing face of religious communities as greater numbers of women and men born outside the US join American religious orders. The keynote speaker was Sister Teresa Maya, president-elect of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious. A native of Mexico City, she is a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate …