Wholehearted and Courageous Listening … to God

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Sitting next to the fireplace in the community room recently, I could hear the heat kick on, the cold wind blowing outside (which has given me extra days off school), voices rising and falling in the kitchen. I heard but did not listen. Listening means much more.

As a Benedictine Sister, I deeply value listening. St. Benedict begins his Rule with, “Listen with the ear of your heart.” It means active listening … active pondering … active supporting, or obeying, if appropriate. It means, ultimately, doing. Continue Reading

Your Personal Call to the Table

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

If you want a sign from Scripture about religious life – and whether you are being called – read Mark 2:13.

It’s the story where Jesus is questioned about eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus responds, “Those who are well do not need a physician. … I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Continue Reading

Lesson from a Snowman in the Woods

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

During my last few days of Christmas vacation, I drove to Chicago to visit Sister Belinda, a friend I have made through Benedictine conferences and gatherings such as the Under 55 group. She’s a member of St. Scholastica’s Monastery in Chicago. We stayed at the monastery’s lake house.

We enjoyed long conversations, coffee (and the internet) at a little cafe, and daily hikes. One hike was in a beautiful, snowy forest preserve … only I missed the beauty for a bit. The snow was too deep – and the path too uncertain – to look up! Continue Reading

A New Year's Resolution for Inquirers

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

In my part of the world right now, a beautiful blanket of sparkling snow covers field and lake, bush and path. Deer tracks connect woods and parking lot. Icicles cling to the bell tower.

This quiet beauty fills me up … especially during prayers. Our chapel is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on the woods and lake and path. We really commune with God’s creation as we pray!

I know that it’s counter-cultural to spend my time (when I’m not teaching preschool or working around the monastery) in prayer, but it’s my life.

In some sense, it should be everyone’s life. Continue Reading

Winter? Who cares? It's the season of Downton Abbey!

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Sunday this week began as usual. I woke up late (well, late for me, 7:00), had some coffee and got ready for the day. Then I went downstairs for a 2nd cup and to do some spiritual reading before Lauds.

The snow-covered lake and woods glittered in the sun. Saturday’s snowfall had been beautiful – and still was – but the roads were bad. And the temperature was supposed to start falling. So I decided to work from home instead of driving in to school. Continue Reading

Seeing the Light

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Recently I met a woman who said, “I understand the season of Advent, I surely understand Christmas, but I do not get the feast of the Epiphany.”

We talked a bit about the meaning of King Herod,  panicky at the thought of a new king who would take his power, and the 3 wise men seeking a new king to pay him homage.

As we parted she said, “I still don’t understood why it is so important. But I’ll pray about it.” Continue Reading