Green Twigs of Hope

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

Our Midday Prayer at Holy Wisdom Monastery always includes a Gospel reading and a non-scripture reading.  Currently we are reading from Hope in the Midst of Darkness, a publication of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.   A reading this week, written by Marcia Allen, CSJ from Concordia, KS, is entitled God’s Horizon. It begins with these quotes: “Everything is possible for one who believes, still more for one who hopes, even more for one who loves.”          – Brother Lawrence “Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is …

How has monastic life changed me?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life 1 Comment

As we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand, and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. ~ Prologue to the Rule of Benedict Women exploring community are often curious to know, after 10 or 20 or 50 years, how monastic life has changed us. In the video we made a few months after my first profession in 2000, I mentioned that one of my reasons for coming to community was to grow. Then with a big smile and great emphasis, I declared: “I didn’t know how much I would grow!” This has …

Listening with the Heart

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Spiritual Guidance, Spirituality Articles, Women Exploring Community 8 Comments

What are you doing after you graduate? I disliked that question when I was in college. I didn’t know for certain what I was going to do after graduation. There were so many choices and so many things I was good at and wanted to do. It was hard to settle on something. I wasn’t sure how to decide or who could help me sort out what to do. Two things I did know. I wanted my life to make a difference in the world, and I wanted to please God. Through the years, I have learned that this kind …

Wisdom for Our Times from the Benedictine Tradition

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Oblates Leave a Comment

The Benedictine tradition, which has thrived for over 1500 years, contains deep wisdom for today. The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses published a study booklet entitled Wisdom from the Tradition: A Statement of North American Benedictine Women in Response to Our Times. In it they bring wisdom from the lived experience of Benedictines through the centuries to respond to some of the pressing issues of our times. To address the fear, alienation, domination, exclusion and violence of our times, they offer five dimensions of monastic wisdom: Extending respect and reverence to others will overcome our fears and theirs. Community-building will counteract …

Benedictine Spirituality in the 21st Century

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

“Benedictine spirituality is the spirituality of the twenty-first century because it deals with the issues facing us now.” –  Joan Chittister, OSB The Rule of Benedict has helped people around the world develop a deeper understanding of their own spirituality through the Benedictine tradition. Written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, the Rule inspired many Christians in their search for God, leading to the formation of Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe. These holy places served as witnesses to God’s love during the dark periods in history. Today, the Rule is the basis for a spirituality that is much more …

Lynne Smith, OSB's Homily from Easter Vigil, April 23, 2011

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

The following homily was delivered by Sister Lynne Smith, OSB, at the Easter Vigil at Holy Wisdom Monastery on Saturday night, April 23, 2011. Lynne is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a member of Benedictine Women of Madison. She served congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for sixteen years before coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery. She has been a member of Benedictine Women of Madison since 2000. An artist friend once told me that art is about learning to see. So wanting to grow in awareness, I took a basic drawing class this winter. In the first class the teacher …

Good Friday and Earth Day

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

This year Earth Day coincides with Good Friday. Since we are observing the Easter Triduum during these days, we will mark Earth Day on Sunday, May 1, with special prayers during the Eucharist. It seems fitting, however, to reflect on Earth Day from a Good Friday perspective. We read from the prophet Jeremiah today at Morning and Midday Prayer. In his writings he laments the desolation of Judah due to the people’s corruption, idolatry and injustice. He draws a link between the people’s greed and oppression of the poor and the desolation of the natural environment.

Holy Week at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Prayer & Worship Leave a Comment

A procession with palm branches, water splashing over your feet, the darkened assembly room, the seven last words of Christ from the cross, silence, waiting, prayer, a joyful alleluia, bread and wine shared with friends and strangers – these are some of the experiences we will have in the monastery during Holy Week next week, experiences we wish to share with you. We begin our Palm Sunday worship at 9 am by blessing palm branches, hearing the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and processing around the building and into the assembly room. There, we listen to the story of …

What are you reading for Lent?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life Leave a Comment

In the Rule, Benedict writes: “during this time of Lent each one is to receive a book from the library, and is to read the whole of it straight through.” It continues to be our practice to choose a book to read during Lent. Sister Joanne and I share reflections on our Lenten reading below. Sister Joanne: Mary Gordon, the author, comes to Holy Wisdom Monastery when she travels to Madison.  On a recent visit she presented the sisters with an autographed copy of her latest book, Reading Jesus.  It was my choice for Lent; I gained new insights into …

"Learn everyday of your life"

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

This week my attention has been focused on how on-going growth and integration is basic to the monastic life. Benedictine life asks that we “learn everyday of our lives” and that learning is not just about intellectual knowledge. In her book, Seeking Life, Esther de Waal notes that Benedict is always addressing the whole self – body, mind and spirit. Benedict tells us in the Prologue that we must “prepare our hearts and bodies.” So as we seek to open ourselves more deeply to God during Lent, we might attend to each aspect of our person as de Waal suggests. …