No more oatmeal bowls in the sink: Monastic life vs apartment life


Sister Stefanie shares some thoughts about what Monastic Benedictine life has meant to her … and how it differs from life on her own.

What have you found to be most challenging about your new life?

Living with other people means I can’t let my oatmeal bowl sit in the sink till I get home from work in the afternoon! Continue Reading

Chilling with the Raccoons, the Moon and a Dear Friend

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

My first bonfire of the season was spectacularly attended by … me.

Well, okay, there were a few racoons too, but no other Sisters.

They often come out when they see it reflecting in the window of the dining room, just off our patio. We laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

This evening, however, was quiet and contemplative. The moon was spectacular, and the fire blazed merrily. I loved it … mostly. 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

Celebrating St. Benedict, the Father of Western Monasticism

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Benedict, the father of Western Monasticism. How did he earn that title? Certainly there were other monastics before his time (c.480–543), including such well-known hermits as Cassian and Pachomius.

But what made Benedict unique was his emphasis on living in community. He said the best way to seek God was not as a lone hermit, but as one who rubbed shoulders with others. That is, the best way to find God is in one another. Continue Reading

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

How Sister Charlotte said "Yes"!

Sister Charlotte Sonneville, OSB, reflects on her younger life as a single woman, and later as a Benedictine Sister in this article. We hope it inspires you!

As a child, I attended the Benedictine Sisters’ St. Mary’s School in Moline. I loved to stay after school and help clean the blackboards, sort papers, or run errands. I liked being with the Sisters and was curious to learn what they were really like. Was it the habit that made them seem different? Or was it something deep inside that you had to get to know? Continue Reading

The Challenges and Joys of Becoming a Sister

Jackie Walsh, recently of Bloomington, Ill., became Sister Jackie at the age of 53 on June 11. She had worked, lived and studied at St. Mary Monastery for three years before receiving her Benedictine pin (given by Prioress Sr. Phyllis McMurray, right). It had been a leap of faith and a labor of love. Continue Reading

Stability and Our Unconditional Acceptance of God's Love

By Novice Jackie Walsh

There’s very little stability in the world today. The economy, natural disasters and relations in war-torn countries around the world are examples of instability. So is the fact that people change jobs, cities, houses, cars and even spouses more than ever before. Yet, even though we may be considered countercultural by many in our fast-paced, throw-away society, women like me are still being called to religious life and one of the promises we make at the time of our profession is stability. Continue Reading