How has monastic life changed me?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life 1 Comment

As we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand, and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. ~ Prologue to the Rule of Benedict Women exploring community are often curious to know, after 10 or 20 or 50 years, how monastic life has changed us. In the video we made a few months after my first profession in 2000, I mentioned that one of my reasons for coming to community was to grow. Then with a big smile and great emphasis, I declared: “I didn’t know how much I would grow!” This has …

Jim Penczykowski's Homily from May 22, 2011

Holy Wisdom Monastery Homilies Leave a Comment

The following homily was delivered by Jim Penczykowski at Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery on May 22, 2011. In what way could we say that stones are living? I am wondering if any of the younger members of the congregation know, or can guess, what it is that holds the bricks in place on the outside of this building? Mortar is kind of muddy glue.  When it hardens around bricks or stones it holds them together. Bricks and stones can sometimes stay together without the mortar. Usually the pieces have to fit together very tightly and in a certain …

Leora Weitzman's Homily from May 15, 2011

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The following homily was delivered by Leora Weitzman at Sunday Assembly on May 15, 2011.  The lectionary readings for the day included Acts 2:42-47, 1 Peter 2:19-25, and John 10:1-10. Leora Weitzman is a former philosophy professor and musician and an oblate at Holy Wisdom.  She currently practices and teaches intuitive bodywork and loves “listening” for things that you have to be very quiet to hear. Here in Wisconsin, cows are more common than sheep, so let’s leave the shepherds alone for a while and talk cowboys. The cowboys featured in Westerns are a good example of what Walter Wink calls “the …

Seeds of Change: Musings of 50 Years of Monastic Profession

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life Leave a Comment

One of my most cherished experiences from childhood was going to the “preacher’s house” to buy a bridle for my pony. I had my pocket full of “egg money,” saved from each sale. Placing the money on his very large wooden desk made me wonder if I had enough. Rev. Doctor looked at it and me, and with a big smile said, “That’s about right,” and shook my hand and handed me the bridle. I sensed it was a matter of trust and respect, not money, that made the sale. Little did I know that this childhood inter-denominational experience would …

Listening with the Heart

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Spiritual Guidance, Spirituality Articles, Women Exploring Community 8 Comments

What are you doing after you graduate? I disliked that question when I was in college. I didn’t know for certain what I was going to do after graduation. There were so many choices and so many things I was good at and wanted to do. It was hard to settle on something. I wasn’t sure how to decide or who could help me sort out what to do. Two things I did know. I wanted my life to make a difference in the world, and I wanted to please God. Through the years, I have learned that this kind …

Wisdom for Our Times from the Benedictine Tradition

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Oblates Leave a Comment

The Benedictine tradition, which has thrived for over 1500 years, contains deep wisdom for today. The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses published a study booklet entitled Wisdom from the Tradition: A Statement of North American Benedictine Women in Response to Our Times. In it they bring wisdom from the lived experience of Benedictines through the centuries to respond to some of the pressing issues of our times. To address the fear, alienation, domination, exclusion and violence of our times, they offer five dimensions of monastic wisdom: Extending respect and reverence to others will overcome our fears and theirs. Community-building will counteract …

Benedictine Spirituality in the 21st Century

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

“Benedictine spirituality is the spirituality of the twenty-first century because it deals with the issues facing us now.” –  Joan Chittister, OSB The Rule of Benedict has helped people around the world develop a deeper understanding of their own spirituality through the Benedictine tradition. Written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, the Rule inspired many Christians in their search for God, leading to the formation of Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe. These holy places served as witnesses to God’s love during the dark periods in history. Today, the Rule is the basis for a spirituality that is much more …

Socially Responsible Investing Through the Benedictine Coalition for Responsible Investment

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Justice Leave a Comment

Like many religious communities around the world, the Benedictine Women of Madison maintain an investment portfolio. Some of the sisters’ assets are held as stocks in companies in an effort to promote socially responsible practices. The sisters are able to do this through their involvement in the Benedictine Coalition for Responsible Investment (BCRI). In 2003, the BCRI was launched, and shortly thereafter the sisters joined. It is a coalition of Benedictine monasteries that invest in stocks in publicly held companies and work collaboratively to effect corporate change as investors in the companies by exercising their shareholder rights. The coalition is …

Building a Climate for Meaningful Conversation

Drew Howick Meetings Leave a Comment

We provide space – quiet, relaxed and inviting space – for meetings at Holy Wisdom Monastery. We recognize the value of good planning for these meetings, and so we share the following suggestions from Drew Howick, a former president of our Benedictine Life Foundation board. The following was adapted with permission from the book “The New Compleat Facilitator: A Handbook for Facilitators,” written by Drew Howick, Stuart Daily, and Abby Sprik, and published in its second edition in 2002 by Howick Associates. Over 20,000 copies have been sold to date. Here are some helpful tips for building a climate for meaningful …

Lynne Smith, OSB's Homily from Easter Vigil, April 23, 2011

Lynne Smith, OSB Homilies, Living in Community Leave a Comment

The following homily was delivered by Sister Lynne Smith, OSB, at the Easter Vigil at Holy Wisdom Monastery on Saturday night, April 23, 2011. Lynne is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a member of Benedictine Women of Madison. She served congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for sixteen years before coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery. She has been a member of Benedictine Women of Madison since 2000. An artist friend once told me that art is about learning to see. So wanting to grow in awareness, I took a basic drawing class this winter. In the first class the teacher …