Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary 3 Comments

Week 26 As I head into my final weeks as a Benedictine Sojourner at Holy Wisdom Monastery, two quotes keep coming to mind. One of them is an inclusive language version of Greek philosopher Heraclitus that says, “No woman ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and she’s not the same woman.” The other is from novelist Thomas Wolfe who iconically asks, “Don’t you know you can’t go home again?” Perhaps you are sensing a theme here. There are a great many things I am unsure of at this moment, but there is one …

How justice can start from joy

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

About a month ago, I had a conversation about justice for a podcast with Christina Roberts, an oblate of Holy Wisdom and pastor at foundry414, a non-denominational Christian church in Madison, WI, and Dave Schmelzer, executive director and co-founder of the Blue Ocean Faith network. This month, instead of writing a blog, I share our conversation with you. In our conversation I shared some of the relationships with people coming to the monastery from Syria, India, and Guatemala that have touched my heart. It’s entitled, How justice can start from joy. You can listen here: https://www.blueoceanfaith.org/media/683449-2862709-1774550/131-how-justice-can-start-from-joy

Preferring Christ

Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary Leave a Comment

Today begins my 23rd week as a Benedictine Sojourner. Where did the time go? In the beginning, six months seemed like forever, but the time has passed much too quickly and I feel like there is so much to say about my time here. I’ve been having some amazing and transformative experiences which is incredibly exciting, but at the same time, it has also proven to be a significant challenge to pin them down and turn them into brief, winsome blog posts on a regular and timely basis. I’ve discovered that it can be difficult to grasp and articulate the …

Reflections on the Feast of Saint Scholastica

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

In an article, “Keeping a Journal Can Reduce Stress,” in the Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday, February 10, 2019, psychologist Howard Weissman states, “Journaling is a way of slowing down our limited lease on life and appreciating with gratitude that which makes life meaningful and joyful and worthwhile.” The article states that journaling can be a way to “pause and reflect how [we] got where [we] are.” (p. E6) Weissman’s thoughts made me think of the purpose of leisure and contemplation in Benedictine life. An important part of Benedictine life is slowing down to take time to notice and reflect on …

Sojourner Diary—embracing simplicity

Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary 4 Comments

Week 17 (of 26) I have a confession to make. Some days I really miss my highlights. When I started this journey, I was a golden, sun-kissed blond. For most of my adult life I have been one of the countless partakers of the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry that (sometimes) lets us reclaim what nature so heartlessly steals from us as we age. In our youth-oriented and appearance-conscious culture, the chance to look bright and fashion-forward can be an almost irresistible temptation. But, since moving in with the sisters, I’ve gone au natural, which sometimes leaves me feeling as drab as …

Beginning another chapter

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

On January 10, 2019, we welcomed the Rev. Nancy Enderle and the Rev. Jerry Buss, the co-directors of the Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal to the coworkers at the monastery. Joanne remarked to me: “This begins another chapter.” Her comment set me thinking about the chapters in our community’s story. The sisters’ community has authored many chapters in its life. They are a testimony to the sisters hearing and responding to the needs around them. If I were to write a summary of the chapters, it might go like this. Chapter 1 – Hospital When the Sisters of Saint …

Sojourner diary—hopeful expectations

Rachel Olson Living in Community, Sojourner diary 2 Comments

Advent is a season of hopeful expectation. Nowhere is that more clearly illustrated for us than in the Gospel stories of mother-to-be Mary as she surrenders herself to God and then patiently waits for the Divine plan and purpose for her life to develop and emerge within her. I’m guessing from my own childbearing experiences that it wasn’t always easy or comfortable. For Mary, saying yes to the Spirit was risk. It was a guarantee that her life would change and that some of that change would bring pain. But, say yes to God also meant that she would be …

Learning to hope

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

In the sisters’ chapter meeting last week we began reading an article entitled “Advent Currents,” by Sr. Bede Luetkemeyer, OSB, from a 2004 issue of the magazine Spirit and Life. In the article Sr. Bede reflects on the advent themes of hope, patience and desire. In the section on hope, she quotes Lutheran theologian Jürgen Moltmann. “True hope—which means the hope that endures and sustains us—is based on God’s call and command. We are called to hope. It is a command: a command to resist death. It is a call: the call to divine life. Enduring hope is not something …

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 …