Benedictine Unity for the Good of All

stef-and-marilyn-ring-in-chapelBy Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Saint Paul writes, “I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit.”(Ephesians 4:1-3)

Unity in community, boy that is important. We are all one body. When one part hurts, we all are affected!

We know this, theologically and socially, but we don’t always act on it. We don’t always do what’s right for the whole. Often, we choose to do what’s right for just “me.”

Benedictine Sisters, however, are different. Having chosen to live under the Rule of Benedict, we intentionally follow precepts that create and support unity. For example, Benedict writes, “As often as anything important is to be done in the monastery, the prioress shall call the whole community together and herself explain what the business is and after hearing the advice of the sisters, let her ponder it and follow what she judges the wiser course.” That is, every Sister is asked her opinion. We recently discussed, for instance, what to do about a business situation. Sister Sandra gathered us all in the dining room to explain the issue. We listed pros and cons and voiced our thoughts. Sr. Sandra took our feedback and prayed with it. Finally, she came back to all of us to work together on a final decision. Do we always agree with each other in the end? No. But we know our voices are heard with patience, respect and love. Benedict also says, “The sisters, for their part, are to express their opinions with all humility, and not presume to defend their own views obstinately.” When the decision is made, we all support it, whether we agreed at first or not. Benedict concludes, “In the monastery no one is to follow her own heart’s desire, nor shall anyone presume to contend with her prioress defiantly, or outside the monastery.” We are unified for the good of all. Contact me to learn more!!! 🙂

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