Several events happened in the last week that can give an ‘eye view’ to our monastic values. On Thursday evening we held a special prayer to commemorate the International Day for Non-Violence. We prayed for growth of non-violence in our world as well as making an individual pledge to be non-violent in our lives. This was the first prayer we have done entirely devoted to non-violence in a long time.
We have a program started in the 1970’s called ‘Life Formation’ which is our ongoing study of Benedictine values. We can never stop learning more about living our lives to the fullest. And this program challenges us to keep learning and sharing and being open to growth in Seeking God.
Our ‘Life Formation’ study of contemplative dialogue (our topic for 2 years) aids us in learning skills to communicate in a less defensive and less threatening manner. Its emphasis is on the ‘small stuff’ of daily life – that can leave us rather impatient or annoyed. Sometimes it is that ‘stuff’ that affects us more personally. The practice of contemplative dialogue helps us grow as a more stable Christ-like community of Sisters. For peace and non-violence has to take hold on the small level of daily life in order to grow into a broader movement that one day may eradicate the need for violence to settle our world disputes or to stop the violence of crime. What we do individually or in our communities or families can make a world of difference.
We also have, this week, welcomed a young woman to stay with us for three weeks and be immersed in our monastic life. The 20-year-old woman is doing this live-in experience for her college study. She is Free Evangelical and has taken some religion classes which led to her interest in learning about religious life. She does volunteer work around the Monastery, has time for her studies and writing and can be seen talking to any variety of Sisters. We welcomed her with our usual warm hospitality and she seems to be really engaging herself in this opportunity and learning. It has been a brand new experience for her and us.
It is refreshing to find my community quite open to these new experiences and people. In fact, right now at our Benet House Retreat Center, we are hosting a Christian/Muslim dialogue. So many registered that our Sisters had to drop out from attending in order to accommodate the crowed. Our Sr. Catherine is facilitator and has devoted many years to this dialogue. Each event seems to grow in number.
Some events can really change the world.