Hospitality requires many hands

LaRae Gavic Benedictine Bridge, Volunteers Leave a Comment

A very successful outcome to the annual Holiday Fair and Angel Tea on November 8, 2015, is a testament to our volunteers! An English High Tea was served to 170 people and approximately 400 people mingled through the wares at the Holiday Fair. This event was carried out smoothly thanks to nearly 100 volunteers who contributed in a variety of different roles. January, 2016 will be a very busy month here at the monastery. Over 300 people are scheduled to attend group retreats. In addition, 20 people are scheduled for personal retreats in the guest house and hermitages. This means there will …

Nature Notes Summer 2015

Greg Armstrong Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes, Volunteer Opportunities, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Although I just turned 72, when I think of summer, visions of getting out of school and having months to run around outdoors and also work alongside my parents in field and garden come to mind. How glorious to have such freedom to be outside. At the monastery, many volunteers, Paul Boutwell and I will be enjoying that freedom together—being outside and looking after the sisters’ bounty of land and nature. It’s truly a great adventure implementing this grand plan to restore all of the fire communities of southern Wisconsin at Holy Wisdom Monastery; prairie, savanna and oak woodlands. To …

Friday volunteering at the monastery

Jill Carlson Benedictine Bridge, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Madison native Susan Pearson says it’s great to be back home after living in Florida and Massachusetts for 20 years. After getting settled from her move last fall, Susan began looking for a job and a volunteer opportunity. Holy Wisdom Monastery immediately came to her mind because of a visit she made here years ago. “An article in the Capital Times on the completion of the new building prompted a friend and me to explore the monastery and hike the trails. The serenity and beauty stayed with me and that’s why I applied for the volunteer monastery receptionist opportunity on …

Prairie Planting at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Homepage, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Paraphrased from a document written by Ron Endres and Greg Armstrong for the Wisdom Prairie Planting Day The Friends of Wisdom Prairie had a very successful prairie planting on nearly 20 acres of what was agricultural land. We planted this prairie at this time of year so that the seed can over-winter in the soil and germinate in the spring. In general, this is the most successful time to plant. Fall plantings take advantage of cold moist conditions to break seed dormancy. We spread the seeds by hand so that the frost works the seeds into the soil, instead of …

Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Bate—Caring for the Bluebirds

Jill Carlson Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Karen Bate monitors the bluebird boxes at Holy Wisdom Monastery.  Karen Bate has been caring for the bluebirds for 15 years. A Madison-native, Karen began coming here after the death of her daughter Robin. The bench at the top of the hill by the apple orchard is a memorial to Robin. Paul Boutwell, monastery groundskeeper suggested Karen would enjoy caring for the 19 bluebird boxes located around the property. Karen quickly learned about bluebirds, their habits and predators and is a wealth of knowledge. Before the bluebirds return from the south in March or April, Karen cleans the houses and …

Nature Notes Summer 2014

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Nature Notes, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Prairie dock growing at Holy Wisdom Monastery We had a spring with lots of moisture. The good news is that all the plants are growing vigorously, providing cover and lots of food for all the critters that live at Holy Wisdom Monastery. The bad news is that the weeds, those non-native invaders of the prairie, savanna and woods, are also growing vigorously. So Paul Boutwell, many volunteers and I have been busy trying to rid the natural lands of these weeds. Garlic mustard in the shady places and reed canary grass in the open areas, are a couple of examples. …

The Prairie Has Much to Teach Us

Ann Moyer Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Monastic Life, Volunteers Leave a Comment

The prairie teaches us to take time to slow down, develop and nurture deep roots.  The prairie has much to teach us. During the winter months prairie plants experience an important period of dormancy. With spring will come a rush of new growth, but first the prairie rests, gathering strength, while nature lies in a deep freeze. What a privilege to be surrounded by the restored Wisdom Prairie lands here at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Restoration of native species provides spaces with unique beauty, a balm for souls and healing and care for the natural environment, especially our precious lakes. Prairie …

Community Workdays Provide Opportunities to Help

Jill Carlson Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Help spring clean the prairie at an upcoming Community Workday. (Photo by Brit Cerdena) One Saturday per month, Paul Boutwell, groundskeeper and restoration ecologist at Holy Wisdom, holds a workday so that volunteers who enjoy helping on the prairie and grounds or with cleaning tasks can provide help. Held April through November, the day starts out at 8:30 am when participants meet in the monastery gathering area. Introductions and a synopsis of the tasks to be accomplished are shared. If participants wish, they can start the day with community prayer at 8:00 am on the lower level of the monastery building. Paul …

Volunteer Spotlight: Phyllis Lobdell

Jill Carlson Benedictine Bridge, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Phyllis Lobdell volunteers at the monastery front desk each week. She answers the phone, greets guests, prepares mailings and helps with a multitude of other tasks.  On Wednesdays, Phyllis Lobdell can be found staffing the monastery reception desk where she spends five hours helping with clerical work in support of the development department. Phyllis began volunteering at Holy Wisdom about a year ago after she moved to Madison from Illinois. “I enjoy doing simple, repetitive clerical projects because I find it to be peaceful and I know I’m helping the staff and saving them time. This type of work gives me the time …

Volunteer Spotlight: Robert Bruck

Jill Carlson Benedictine Bridge, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Robert Bruck (right) listens as Paul Boutwell (center) explains how the huge Christmas tree will be lifted up. For the past four years, Robert Bruck has helped to put up the Christmas tree in the assembly room. He says he has a great employer who gives him the latitude to leave work when necessary such as when it’s time to help with the tree. Robert says that the satisfaction of being part of the greater good is what makes him volunteer here. “Time is a finite commodity and one that can be given when monetary donations are more difficult.” He also …