Holy Wisdom Monastery Receives a $1 Million Grant to Create an Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal

Car McGinley Hospitality, Prayer & Worship, Press release Leave a Comment

MIDDLETON, WI, October 19, 2018 — Benedictine Women of Madison, a religious community of women, received a grant of $1 million to help establish an Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal (ECCSR) at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin. It’s part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving in Ministry, an initiative that supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they create or strengthen programs that help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative.

The purpose of the ECCSR is to offer spiritual renewal to pastors from a wide range of Christian denominations through two immersion experiences into the rhythms, people, and sacred space of Holy Wisdom Monastery, which is situated on 130 acres of restored prairie, oak savanna, and woods. Focusing on the spiritual practices of silence, listening with the ear of the heart, Liturgy of the Hours, study (Lectio Divina), Sunday ecumenical worship, centering prayer and work, each immersion aims to support clergy in renewing their spiritual practice and their sense of call to pastoral ministry. In addition the ECCSR will create a monastery without walls that will strengthen relationships among clergy, sustain clergy spiritual vitality, and offer support for the cultivation of spiritual depth and renewal within their congregations.

Holy Wisdom Monastery’s Prioress, Sister Mary David Walgenbach, OSB, speaks for the whole community when she says:

“Since opening our retreat and guest house more than 50 years ago, many individuals and groups from a variety of faith backgrounds have come here for spiritual renewal. Our mission weaves prayer, hospitality, justice, and care for the earth into a shared way of life. Giving back what we’ve been given, our intent is to help clergy thrive in their ministry by nourishing the ‘monk within’. The receipt of this grant to establish an Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal is a great blessing to us and to those who will arrive. We are deeply grateful.”

Benedictine Women of Madison is one of 78 organizations located in 29 states that is taking part in the initiative. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States. This has been a grantmaking priority at Lilly Endowment for nearly 25 years.

“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including Benedictine Women of Madison’s Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr.—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state Indiana. Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.

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Please contact Rachel Olson at 608-836-1631, extension 120 or rolson@benedictinewomen.org if you would like additional information about the Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal, Benedictine Women of Madison, Holy Wisdom Monastery, or the Lilly grant. She can also set up an interview with Sister Mary David Walgenbach.

More information at: https://HolyWisdomMonastery.org/ecumenical-center/

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