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. …

How is Lent going for you?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

During Lent, the Scripture readings and antiphons we sing with the Psalms remind us of our need to examine our lives and renew our relationships with God and others. A few years ago at a retreat here,  Joan Chittister, OSB, author of Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, shared this simple, wisdom distilled from the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict. These could provide guidance on our Lenten journey. Listen Wake up Do no harm Do good Trust in God Prepare your heart and your body Learn every day of your life The two nuggets of wisdom that catch my attention today …

Sister Act

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Media Coverage, Monastic Life 3 Comments

Download a PDF version of this article with color photos. This article is reprinted with permission from Sojourners, (800) 714-7474, www.sojo.net Benedictine women in Wisconsin are practicing new (and ancient) ways to save the earth, starting with the home front. By Betsy Shirley New growth has a history of springing to life at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, Wisconsin — and that’s just fine with the Benedictine sisters there. The ancient Benedictine motto “succisa virescit” (“cut down, it ever grows green”) is appropriate for a monastic tradition that has survived more than 1,500 years of church history, rooted in stability, yet …

Lent: Discovering Who We Are and Reorienting Our Lives

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Living in Community Leave a Comment

Our lives are filled with journeys, seeking to find out who we are and what our purpose is. Describing this inner journey is like describing a landscape. Imagine an expanse of land with great variety: valleys, hills, smooth plains and endless desert. Each of these places can serve as an image that helps us know the inner and outer terrain of our journey. Images also reveal how we feel about where we are. On a given day, in a moment of mindfulness, the many dimensions of our life are like a joyful mountaintop experience or a seemingly endless trek across …