Looking Back: “The Last Word,” Arthur Dent, and the Rule (2000)

Brooke Moriarty Benedictine Bridge, Community of Benedict, Looking Back, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict 1 Comment

Sister Bridget got the last word in many issues of Benedictine Bridge. For some, her writings were a favorite as she mingled Benedictine insight with straightforward thinking. It may even be a surprise to find this writing from the Ordinary Times 2000 issue of our newsletter bringing together Douglas Addams’ character, Arthur Dent, and the founder of western monasticism, St. Benedict. Let me say this about that: 1,500 years is a long time. Put another way, one thousand five hundred years is a mindbogglingly long period of time. Remember Arthur Dent? He was the guy wearing a bathrobe who hitchhiked …

Looking Back: ‘Ecumenical Monastic Life Offers Journey into a New Culture’ (2003) by Erica Thiessen

Brooke Moriarty Benedictine Bridge, Community of Benedict, Interfaith Relations, Living in Community, Looking Back, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict 1 Comment

In 2003, Erica Thiessen was a novice of Benedictine Women of Madison. In Issue 12 of Benedictine Bridge from Ordinary Time 2003, she wrote this article reflecting on the value of Benedictine life in relation to her own experiences as a Mennonite. I have been journeying into different lands from almost before I was born. My parents were both Russian Mennonite immigrants to Canada. As a family, we traveled to Ghana and Trinidad where my father taught school. In ways, I became a pilgrim, and for much of my adult life, I have lived and worked around the world. Always …

Looking Back: ‘New Monastic for a New Millennium’ (2000) by Lynne Smith

Brooke Moriarty Benedictine Bridge, Looking Back, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict Leave a Comment

It’s difficult to think of Holy Wisdom Monastery without including the sisters. However, back in 2000, Sister Lynne Smith was just stepping into the life with the Sisters of St. Benedict of Madison. 20 years later, only two days after the anniversary when she committed herself officially to this life, we can return to her thoughts from the beginning. The following post is a direct transcription of the article, New Monastic for a New Millennium by Sister Lynne Smith, as written in our newsletter, Benedictine Bridge, Ordinary Times 2000 issue. I am one example of a new monastic for the …

Monastery bell tower, fall trees and far horizon

St Benedict’s survival kit

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

The following reflections were shared by Sister Joanne Kollasch at a recent Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors meeting, part of the ongoing opportunities for our board to become more deeply rooted in the Benedictine tradition and values at Holy Wisdom Monastery. ____________________________________________ I continue to reflect on what’s happening in our country after the recent political election. The post-election turmoil is raised in many conversations I’m part of. So, what is my response? I found this quotation from Thomas Merton and a beginning answer to my question: “To say that I am made in the image of God …

Rosy Kandathil shares reflections on the Rule of Benedict

Celibate intimacy – a real question

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 2 Comments

“How do you experience intimacy as a celibate?” She looked up at me quizzically from her notebook. The young woman’s question caught me by surprise. I had just finished an interview with Pastor Pete Scazzero at New Life Fellowship church in New York City, where I’d been a member for nine years before coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery. My life at the monastery remained a mystery to many of the people I served at the church, people I still cared deeply about. I hoped that my answers might help bridge the gap for this busy urban church where monastic life might …

Sisters at prayer (Photo © Andy Manis)

Benedictine life: new ways of valuing persons, things and time

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

What contributions has Benedict made to society?—a presentation by Joanne Kollasch, OSB to the Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors, July 26, 2016. I owe a great deal to Mary Collins, OSB for my reflections with you today. Scholars may continue to argue whether Benedict was counter-cultural or not. Settling this question doesn’t really matter so much because, from the beginning, the monastic way of life involved a re-valuation of persons, things and time, according to a set of standards that are different from those of the dominant culture. Monastic re-valuation can be clearly seen in the Rule of …

The Benedictine way of discernment

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

Discernment is a process of making a decision or finding direction in one’s life. At its very heart, discernment is a conversation – with God, with friends, with spiritual mentors and guides – a conversation which leads to more clarity about God’s call for you. Discernment brings into focus one’s deepest life questions: What is the purpose of my life? With whom do I want to live and how will I express my love? How can I use my gifts and talents and whom do I want to serve? Benedict’s emphasis in discernment is on listening with both the head …

An invitation to Benedict’s “little rule for beginners”

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

On March 21 we celebrate the Feast of Benedict and honor this holy man who became the founder of the Benedictine tradition. The beginning of his story is captured in this excerpt from St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, by Sr. Margaret Clarke, OSB: Benedict, whose name in Latin means “Blessed,” was born to a Christian family in the mountains to the northeast of Rome (A.D.480?). The Roman Empire was crumbling and the Goths and Vandals controlled Italy. As a youth, he was sent to Rome for schooling and there experienced a religious awakening which caused him to renounce corrupt secular …

Who is Benedict?

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Rule of Benedict Leave a Comment

I’m delighted to introduce you to Benedict of Nursia. Perhaps you recognize his name as the famous monk and author of the Rule of Benedict. This may be your first meeting with this “holy man of God,” so my desire is to go easy on historical information, and in fact we know little about the 6th century historical Benedict. Rather we learn of him through the influence of two documents, The Rule for Monks, and Gregory the Great’s Dialogues. We can also meet the person of Benedict through the lives of dedicated Benedictine women and men who practice his teachings. …

Scripture in the Rule of Benedict and Benedictine Tradition

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

One of the things that resonated with me when I began exploring community life at Holy Wisdom Monastery was the focus on Scripture that is so much a part of Benedictine life. The Rule of Benedict includes more than 300 quotations or allusions to Scripture — so many that some have described the Rule as the fruit of Benedict’s lectio on Scripture. Communally, we pray all the Psalms over a five-week period at the Liturgy of the Hours and read through the Bible at least once every two years. In addition to what we read in communal prayer, we also …