by Mary Ann Erdtmann, oblate class of 2008
|Mary Ann Erdtmann|
My journey as a Benedictine Oblate began in December, 1997, when my late husband, Ralph and I made a 6‐day TIME (Together in Monastic Experience) retreat at Holy Wisdom Monastery. I fell in love with the rhythm of Centering Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, work, meals with the sisters and guests, and study of the Rule of Benedict. We took long walks, holding hands and basking in the beauty of God’s nature. After the third day, I said to Ralph, “I am so happy that it’s not ending yet, and we have three more days to go.” We continued to come for retreats.
After Ralph passed away in 2000, the monastery became one of my main grieving places. In 2001, my family and I built a bench in Ralph’s memory, which now sits overlooking the prairie because Ralph loved gardening and nature so much. I came to the monastery several times a year, each time feeling as if I were coming to my spiritual home.It seemed only natural to become officially affiliated with the monastery, so in 2008, I became an Oblate. The year of formation increased my love as I learned more about the Rule of Benedict. My six fellow classmates were inspiring and still are to this day.I read and try to incorporate one aspect of my five–pronged personal rule each day. Those five prongs are: invite God (always present and loving) into my life, moving into a deeper intimacy with God, be humble, be open to God’s peace, reach out, and work in community.
With my personal rule and daily reflection on the Rule of Benedict, I am challenged and motivated to live fully each moment with a spirit of “enoughness” and sense of gratitude to all my brothers and sisters in the Benedictine community.
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I was married to Ralph for 37 years until his death in 2000. We are the parents of 7 and the grandparents of 13. A retired journalist and Montessori teacher, I am now a lay minister at my parish, Good Shepherd in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. I teach English to Burmese refugees and facilitate Centering Prayer at Repairers of the Breach homeless shelter in Milwaukee. I am a member of the Milwaukee regional oblate circle.
NOTE: Oblates and candidates, register for the November retreat by October 23, 2015.