Sister Rosy after first profession and in the garden

Becoming a Sister – Rosy

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 12 Comments

“So, do you go by ‘sister’ now?” The question never fails to pulls me up short, hesitating. In the uncomfortable silence that ensues, I wrestle internally to come up with an accurate response. My first profession was over 9 months ago, so the answer is technically yes. But the truth is more complex. The question touches an emerging part of my identity that is still feeling its way into the world. I struggle to introduce myself as “Sister Rosy” without pinching myself in disbelief. Whose life is this?  What’s in a name? First profession marks an important transition from the …

Painting of St Thomas inspecting the wounds in Jesus's side

An awkward season

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 6 Comments

The beginning of spring is always awkward. Saturday, I woke up to snow. Sunday morning, the sun was shining in a warm blue sky, putting the chase to winter. But by Monday morning, I could see frost on my window panes again; it was 27 degrees. With all these clumsy up and downs, I can’t figure out what season we’re in. I haven’t written for a while. To tell the truth, it’s been a long and draining semester. I’ve felt buried by schoolwork and haven’t had the energy or motivation to reach out. Most of my resources have been focused …

Pre-dawn sky and sliver moon shining over treetops

The power of commitment

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 3 Comments

Inwardly cursing, I bundled up against the cold and headed out into the early winter morning. The sky was dark, and a frigid wind kicked up to greet me as I trudged through the snow past Lake Sagatagan toward campus. I had made a pact with a friend to go to the gym here on campus three times a week, and our schedules required early mornings or late evenings.  Going to morning prayer at the Abbey at 7:00 am and then heading for the gym seemed like a good idea in the bright light of day.  But it was a …

brightly lit, snow-covered tree branches casting shadows on the snow

Home for the Holidays

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community Leave a Comment

My first semester at St John’s School of Theology ended with a whimper. Although I was officially back at the monastery for winter break, I had a final paper and an exam yet to submit online. It was confusing: my body was home, but my head was still at school. On the fourth Sunday of Advent, with two hours to my deadline, I finally pressed the send button and breathed a sigh of relief. It was done; all of my assignments were in. Now I can relax, I thought. The semester had been long and challenging in unexpected ways. It …

Statue of St. Benedict at Saint John’s University, covered in a dusting of new snow

Advent in a time of terror

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 5 Comments

With the snow beginning to fall, I was running late to class. Skipping the stairs, I decided to take the elevator to the 4th floor. In the car with me was a young undergraduate. As we rode up together, he covered his face with his hands and groaned. Startled, I looked over at him. Shooting me a look through his fingers, he said gloomily: “I’m just not ready for this.” I smiled, suddenly understanding. I murmured something that I hoped was funny and consoling about the end being near. Exiting the elevator together, we shared a commiserating glance and headed off to …

"Lean on Me," a Stickworks art installation by Patrick Dougherty - woven stick chapel-like structures leaning against each other.

Loving commitments that shape our lives

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 10 Comments

Last weekend, I traveled to San Francisco to celebrate the wedding of a dear friend (at St Marks Lutheran Church, pictured here). Just a few weeks earlier she had been in the congregation that witnessed my first monastic profession at Holy Wisdom Monastery. It had been a long time since I’d last been a bridesmaid and as I carefully packed my dress and heels, I had to smile. I remembered my friend asking nervously whether my Benedictine sisters would mind if I wore the strapless dress she had chosen for the ceremony. Although we both had laughed heartily over the …

Sign reading "St John's welcomes you"

Orientation, disorientation, new orientation

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community 11 Comments

The beauty of the fall colors are just beginning to blaze along Lake Sagatagan.  Every day as I walk to class, I marvel over the progression of yellow, orange and red in the trees.  It’s been about a month since I arrived at Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville, MN to begin a Masters in Theology with a concentration in Scripture.  In the midst of my classes, I flew back to Holy Wisdom Monastery to make the biggest commitment of my life: first monastic profession.  On September 20, 2015, surrounded by friends and family and the …