Christmas in a Benedictine Monastery


By Sister Mary Core, OSB

First published several years ago, this story tells why we wait so long to decorate for Christmas … and what we do once it arrives!

Seventeen poinsettias, 7 trees, 6 candles and a nativity scene – minus Baby Jesus – have been carted into the chapel.

After the final Sunday of Advent (and weeks after many other folks!), the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery are decorating for Christmas. Continue Reading

Like Mary, helping children along the path to God

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Back in the day of nuns in habits filling schools and hospitals, little girls saw the mystery and beauty of religious life before them all the time.

They had a first-hand view of a counter-cultural life that would give them education, purpose and joy.

Today, fewer of us teach or nurse. (We established the institutions and then taught young women how to run them. They didn’t need us there anymore!)

Today, you’re more likely to see us in parish offices, social justice venues, college campuses and even on the bus! (We do all of those things, and Sister Janet and I teach, too.)

And after Pope John XXIII suggested we return to wearing the clothes of those we minister to (as opposed to the habits that were the common clothes of Middle Ages folks), we began dressing like common folk.

The upshot? We aren’t as visible. Now, we must ask you, the parents, to help your daughters and sons see the value and blessing of religious life!

I thought about this during our Christmas Vigil this year, as Sister Mary Jane placed the Infant in the manger. Jesus’ mother certainly knew she would raised her beloved son to walk another path entirely … whether it was what she would choose for him or not. Continue Reading

Preparing for the Lord: A Final Thought

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

A few days ago, Sister Sandra spoke to us about Advent coming to an end.

Christmas is popping up around the house, she noted. Christmas trees are being hauled into place, decorated and lighted. Nativity sets are filling the Welcome Area, the Heritage Area, bedrooms, offices – wherever you look! Wrapping paper and ribbons and bows spill out of boxes. The chapel has been transformed. Continue Reading

Dancing Down the Aisles of our Life

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Last  Christmas, I asked my niece, Lisa, how the Christmas play went for the kindergarten children at St. Joseph School. Her 5-year-old son, Matthew, was to be a shepherd. Lisa laughed.

The packed church had been hushed as the tiny children started down the long aisle, solemn and pious, toward the Nativity. Suddenly Mary dropped the baby – a doll, of course! – on the floor to fix her hair. When finished, she scooped the infant up and skipped to catch up with Joseph (who had kept walking). The audience had laughed, as did Lisa and I at the retelling of the delightful scene. Continue Reading

Furnished with the Moon and Stars

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Christmas Readings: Is( 62:11-12)   (Titus 3:4-7), Gospel (Lk 2:15-20)

Jesus Christ the infant was laid in a crib in a stable, warmed by straw and the breath of the animals, sung to by the angels, adored by his parents, shepherds and Kings. It all seems so unreal, so unlike today’s blue and pink nurseries furnished with teddy bears, cribs, books and mobiles.

So we ask was Jesus really human? Did he cry, want milk, to be changed, to be held?  Or did Matthew and Luke write a fiction? Continue Reading