That all may be one or unity in diversity

Paz Vital, OSB Hispanic Ministry, Living in Community Leave a Comment

In a frame above the main entrance door of Holy Wisdom Monastery it is written, “That All May Be One.”  On July 20, 2019, I had a glimpse of what this looks like when around 100 Hispanic people visited the monastery for the first time and mingled with the Holy Wisdom communities. It was a beautiful diversity of colors and languages. It reminded me of the prairie in bloom, the very way it looks right now. I saw hundreds of flowers of many different colors and sizes in bloom outside and inside the monastery. I saw unity in diversity. I have heard …

Finding the presence of goodness

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 1 Comment

In our morning chapter meetings we are reading an article by Demetrius Dumm, OSB, “On Religious Community.” It was published in Benedictines, in 1976. Dumm was a Scripture scholar from St. Vincent’s Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was steeped in the Benedictine way of life. The quote below caught my attention this week.  “In those large areas of human experience that can be described as ambiguous, the believer will assume the presence of goodness. This assumption allows the latent goodness to appear and the situation can be ‘redeemed.’” (p. 75) So much of what we hear about in the news …

Seeing the Grace of God

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 1 Comment

“When [Barnabas] arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord. Act 11:23 Doing lectio divina (divine reading) recently on the passage from Acts 11, I was struck by the verse above, especially the phrase: he “saw the grace of God.” Barnabas saw the grace of God in the Greeks of Antioch who had received the Gospel about Jesus. This was an unexpected development. Prior to this, the Gospel had only been proclaimed to Jews. Rather than seeing this new development as a problem or something to be resisted, Barnabas …

A network of support

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

I’ve recently been reading ’s book, The Hidden Life of Trees. In his chapter on “Social Security” he notes that trees of the same species like to grow close together. It turns out that beech trees, with which Wohlleben is most familiar, share resources with each other. Researchers found that they share the sugar produced among them through their root systems. The trees growing in better conditions passed some of the sugar they produced to those growing in less favorable conditions so they could each grow into the best tree they can be. Forests form communities of support through their …

Prayer and work

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Living in Community 2 Comments

It was 73 degrees in Middleton on Monday, April 8, 2019. Since Monday is a day of leisure for the sisters, I spent a large part of the day outside. I raked up the sticks dropped by the oaks during the winter in the front yard at Bingen House and listened to the birds. This will be the last week of free meals for the birds. The squirrels have learned how to climb down onto the feeder from the roof of the house, hang from the upper perches by their back feet and eat their fill from the lower seed …


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:

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 …