Last week was quite busy and delayed me in my blogging. After reflecting on what to write, it occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity to share a little about the workings of a Benedictine Monastery!
All monasteries are autonomous, however, we are formed into 3 different federations across the U.S. This is a network of monasteries represented by two delegates from each monastery who elect a president every six years. We belong to the Federation of St. Benedict.
The federation provides a number of functions, including communication about business with the church hierarchy in Rome. Rather than individual monasteries each reporting to Rome, a federation group does so via a President. The President also represents our monasteries at international events with Benedictines and religious communities in general.
The federation is also quite helpful in promoting networking among member monasteries. There are meetings connecting similar personnel such as treasurers, vocation and formation personnel, age groups, etc. It helps us get to know other Benedictines and is also a vehicle for consultation on common issues.
Every six years, we undergo a Federation Visitation. We just completed one, hosting 3 visitators and the federation president. They met with all groups of Sisters, administrators, and individuals and then compiled a report of their findings.
Truly, it was a community discernment week. We took time to collect information, via the visitators, about our strengths and challenges. Every Sister had an opportunity for input. We were encouraged to prayerfully reflect on our community life and what works or doesn’t work for each of us. All done in a spirit of how we can improve our living out the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict. It was a very affirming time as we recognized with deep gratitude those areas we do well, along with the areas we need to always be attentive to and perhaps to focus more on.
Isn’t this really the key to life? Discernment for us all should include a prayerful reflection each day on our life with God and what we need to nourish it and live it more fully.