Knowing who we are journeying with

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

Last Friday, the Servant Leadership class from UW Extension held its monthly class at the monastery. Toby Grabs, our operations manager, gave the class a tour and introduction to the monastery. I met with them to talk about how we exercise leadership in the monastery. I lifted up three principles that have guided us and served to move us into the future: listening to others collaboration and community. Because we have always been a small community and because we value collaboration and community building, we have consulted with and involved others in our ministry and decision-making through the years. In …

Perspective from monastery hilltop overlooking prairie, Lake Mendota and Madison in the distance.

Gaining perspective in contentious times

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community 6 Comments

I was talking with a leader of a class being held at the monastery last week. While he was on break, he spoke about the reasons he likes coming to the monastery. He said coming to the monastery helps him gain perspective on his work. The view from the top of the hill of the capital and downtown Madison represents this change of perspective. He teaches at the university and finds it helpful to come across the lake periodically to step back and look at his life and work from another viewpoint. The sisters have been reading Joan Chittister’s commentary …

Three women standing by a stream in the winter

A new thing

Denise West, OSB Far from home, Living in Community 6 Comments

How much longer is your stay? Have you gotten what you expected out of your sojourner experience? Now that it’s been almost four months (two more to go), I’m getting this question a lot. As for the second question, the answer is a resounding Yes. This experience has been transforming in the ways that I’d hoped. Paz and I both left Wisconsin for Christmas, and it was the first time being away from the monastery community. I wondered how much of the way I’d been living would ‘stick’ once I went out into the world. Would I resort to my …

brightly lit, snow-covered tree branches casting shadows on the snow

Home for the Holidays

Rosy Kandathil, OSB Letters home, Living in Community Leave a Comment

My first semester at St John’s School of Theology ended with a whimper. Although I was officially back at the monastery for winter break, I had a final paper and an exam yet to submit online. It was confusing: my body was home, but my head was still at school. On the fourth Sunday of Advent, with two hours to my deadline, I finally pressed the send button and breathed a sigh of relief. It was done; all of my assignments were in. Now I can relax, I thought. The semester had been long and challenging in unexpected ways. It …

Sister Lynne walking along prairie path in early morning

Finding the seeds of God’s call in my life

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community 3 Comments

At the monastery, I like to walk around the property on Sunday afternoon to see what has changed since the last time I walked. The close connection to and care for the land we have at Holy Wisdom is something that resonated deeply with me when I was exploring a call to life in our community. I believe that a call comes right out of one’s life. That means that rather than being something extraordinary that drops down from heaven to overwhelm a person, a call grows from the values, characteristics and dreams one has already begun to develop. My desire …