Confessions of a racist nun* #3 spiritual tools

Denise West, OSB Living in Community, Racist nun 2 Comments

In my first blog post in this series, I diagnosed myself with the disease of racism. Some of my symptoms of this disease are denial of and defensiveness around racism as well as obliviousness to painful experiences of Black folks and other people of color. Simply put, most times we can’t handle listening to reality, so we don’t. We make the topic off-limits and go on enjoying the fruits of hundreds of years of systemic racism that has led us to a life of racial comfort. The problem is, despite our good intentions and stated values of justice for all, …

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 …

Learning from the forest

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

I recently listened to a TED talk by Suzanne Simard entitled, “How Trees Talk to Each Other.” Suzanne is a forest ecologist in British Columbia, Canada. Her research over the past 30 years has shown that forests are not just a collection of individual trees. Rather the trees in a forest are connected and communicate with each other through a vast, complex underground network of fungal highways called a mycorrhizal network. Through these networks trees transmit carbon and water, as well as defense signals when a tree is injured by disease or insects. Within this communication network there are hub …

Sister Joanne and retreatant looking together at prayer books used for daily prayer

Building community through shared Benedictine values

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community 1 Comment

Sister Joanne will be quick to tell you that Benedictine spirituality does not exist in the abstract. It only comes alive as people embody it. It is learned and passed on person to person through relationships. Having lived this life for over sixty years, Joanne embodies the Benedictine values of the monastery in her unique way. Joanne is passionate about passing on the Benedictine way of life to everyone with whom she comes into contact. You have probably experienced the values of hospitality, respect, simplicity and beauty through Joanne. She embodies Benedictine values in the way she greets guests, in …