Benedictine Stability: The Feet Might Move, but the Heart Stays Home


By Susan Hutchens, OSB

The first promise a Benedictine monastic makes is that of “stability.”

In the Rule of St. Benedict, stability translates as “standing firm” in one’s desire or willingness to seek God in a particular monastic community until death.

This past summer, at the Benedictine Monastic Institute held annually at St. John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, MN, I learned the term “dynamic stability” – a reference to stationary movement.

My first thought was: that’s a contradiction in terms. My second thought was – I like it! It made sense. Continue Reading

Week #1: Introduction, Chapter 1


“After decades of living on the edge, Heather King settled into sobriety, marriage, and a financially lucrative but unfulfilling career as an upwardly mobile lawyer.” Amazon calls her book, Redeemed, “An unforgettable, fervent, darkly funny tale of an ongoing, stumbling conversion.” Join us as we read, discuss, and share our thoughts about it in our Fall, 2016 Book Club!

By Sister Mary Core, OSB

Welcome to Week #1 of our online Fall 2016 book club! We enjoyed a wonderful in-person gathering on Wednesday (and you are welcome to join us there any time). Here’s the gist of our discussion:

We began with a review on how to get the best out of our reading, noting the importance of writing down our questions and thoughts. If you’re like me, not writing them down means not remembering points I might want to make! Continue Reading

Benedictine Online Book Club Returns!


By Sister Mary Core, OSB

We are beginning our fall book club with “Redeemed: Stumbling Toward God, Sanity, and the Peace That Passes All Understanding,” by Heather King.

If you’re close enough to join us in person, you’ll find us after the 9:00 a.m. Mass at St. Maria Goretti in Coal Valley, IL on Wednesdays. Call ahead – you can reach me at (309) 283-2100 – to make sure we’re meeting, though. Schedules can change!

If you plan to participate online, look for our posts at the end of the week. If you write any comments, I’ll be sure to answer you!!!

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Beauty: The Wayside Sacrament


You wake up, turn on the coffee, open the front door to pick up the paper and see … a yard full of plastic pink flamingos.

Overnight, your front yard has been filled with them. You’ve been  “flocked.”

Delightful? To you and the friends who planted them there, sure. Beautiful? Probably not. Eyesore? To many of your neighbors, yes.

Our sense of beauty is contextual, of course. It is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder.

But why is it important to define what is beautiful as opposed to merely cute, fun or even downright ugly?

Because beauty is a path to God. Read more.

Sister Marlene’s Lasting Wisdom


Sister Marlene at a festive dinner in the dining room of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Illinois.

By Sister Marlene Miller, OSB

Sister Marlene served as Dean of Students at St. Mary’s Academy, the Benedictine boarding school in Nauvoo, Illinois, until it closed in 1997. Josephine Barrett ’80 said, “Sister Marlene had a wicked laugh that came straight from her heart. When she was tickled everyone knew it. She gave girls their allowance and pink slips for infractions (generally work cleaning the school or dorm). She really was a very quick thinker and seldom missed anything … spoken or implied. I liked Sister Marlene from day one.”

Other students said, “Sister Marlene shaped my life at St. Mary’s.” And, “Sister Marlene was there when I needed someone to talk to.”

Here, Sister Marlene reflects on her work with the students, sharing the still-invaluable wisdom that undergirded her life with them.
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