Gifts for the Journey

Gratitude has gripped my mind and heart.

The whole of life:

The continuous journey;

The following of others gone before,

The following of those in the lead,

The keeping step with those at my side,

The helping hand that reaches out,

Those behind who challenge me to lead;

Who challenge me to make ready the way;

For those who choose to join the journey,

For those who cry out from the wayside,

Cry out, reaching for help,

Help to know the way, to see further than today,

With hungry bodies, hungry minds, hungry hearts. Continue Reading

Being Bearers of Hope

The retaining wall outside the dining room is a highway this morning. Chipmunks of all sizes scamper first one direction and then the other, tails and spirits high. A rabbit lopes along and stops to peer in. Goldfinches dart among the grasses that brush the wall, and purple martins dive at insects above them. High overhead, American Pelicans soar in formation.

This is our last morning of retreat. It has been deeply refreshing and renewing, and Bishop Joe has been a wonderful director. Today’s talk is on Hope, a beautiful place both to end and begin. Sister Stefanie reflects on it, too. Continue Reading

The Path to Holiness as Lived Out in Profession

That’s a mouthful of a title! Although the path to holiness can be lived out in other ways – marriage, singlehood – we Benedictine Sisters have chosen religious life (St. Scholastica, left, founded the women’s community to follow her twin brother’s Holy Rule, which we follow 1,500 years later).

Today, Bishop Joe – a member of a religious community himself – reflected on the promises we make in our Monastic Profession. (Sister Stefanie also reflected on the Promises today!) Continue Reading

Bathing in the Light of Forgiveness

The sky could have been painted blue and the trees splashed gold this morning as we gathered for our conference with Bishop Joe. Sparrows, cardinals and jays fluttered about Sister Anne’s birdfeeder, just beyond the podium, beneath the river birch off the patio. Bits of cotton drifted by, stray tufts of dandelion, perhaps, or cottonwood seeds. It was a graced morning, a graced talk. Continue Reading

Our Blessed Mother as Our Guide

Warm lights glow in the dining room as we gather for today’s morning talk.

We arrive by wheelchair and walker, on 2 feet and with canes. Some move slowly and deliberately and others rush in, all business. Then quiet settles upon the group and we turn our thoughts inward. We turn our thoughts and open our hearts to the One in whose name we gather.

Bishop Joe begins by reading the Gospel narrative from Luke, 1:26-28. He suggests we ponder the mystery of Jesus through the eyes of his mother, Mary. Continue Reading

Eucharist: The Gift of Jesus to Us

The sky is overcast and growing darker as we gather in the dining room for our morning conference with retired Bishop Joe Charron. He is nearly upstaged by our resident chipmunk as it skitters back and forth along the retaining wall outside. Goldfinches, too, provide a bit of drama as they flit among the tall grasses, in brilliant bursts of sunshine amid the green. Later, a doe and her fawn will gambol along the lake as they travel from one wooded area to another.

Today’s topic (under the theme, “Renewing Our Desire to be Holy”): Eucharist: The Gift of Jesus to Us. Continue Reading

Moving Off the Clock during Our Summer Retreat

Our busyness comes to a sudden halt this week, as our summer retreat begins. Life will move off the clock. We will be steeped in silence, reflection, prayer and rest.

We will watch Sister Ruth’s bold and brilliant lilies dance in the early summer breeze, and listen to the bees as they hum amid the sacred bounty with joy. Continue Reading