Part 9: Free to Live into What Really Matters

queen annes lace for blog

Welcome to our Annual Summer Retreat, posted here as a mini-online retreat for you. As the woman at the well went at noon to be refreshed and gather water for the day, so we must return readily to our own Divine wellspring.  Our time together will provide an opportunity to drink fully from the well that is Benedictine Spirituality.

By Benedictine Sisters Mary Core and Stefanie MacDonald

If you ever feel overwhelmed by the high-tech, multi-choice, break-neck-fast demands of our culture, take a breath and listen:

You can slow down. Simplify. Continue Reading

Part 8: The Heavy Weight of Stuff

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Welcome to our Annual Summer Retreat, posted here as a mini-online retreat for you. As the woman at the well went at noon to be refreshed and gather water for the day, so we must return readily to our own Divine wellspring.  Our time together will provide an opportunity to drink fully from the well that is Benedictine Spirituality.

By Benedictine Sisters Mary Core and Stefanie MacDonald

How much of your “stuff” do you really need? If you’re like most of us, probably very little. But there it is, anyway, cluttering, filling and overflowing your life:

There’s the trinket you bought at the mall, for 50% off. There’s the box of notecards you couldn’t resist but haven’t used, taking up space in your desk drawer. There’s the closet full of clothes you haven’t worn in years.

Too much stuff weighs us down. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #5: Keeping "death" private … and sharing resurrection with the world

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

At last the sun is shining as we gather on our final morning for retreat. The sky is a brilliant blue, the leaves below are many shades of green waving in the breeze. Heaven!

After 4 days of wandering in the Old Testament wilderness, we come into the New Testament. Here, the word for wilderness is cross. Our way now is to follow Jesus … to complete the interior dying that he modeled. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #4: Wrestling in the Wilderness

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

The scent of coffee fills the dining room as the Sisters gather, by foot and by wheelchair, for our 4th day of retreat. Today we are treated to the story of Jacob, which we are reminded to read as our own story.

Jacob, whose name means “to grab,” spends a goodish portion of his life taking advantage of others, and controlling whatever he could control. Indeed, when God visits him, Jacob says he will worship Him if God makes good on his promises. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #3: Trusting our Guide along the way

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Overhead lamps cast a warm glow in the dining room where we have gathered for Day #3. It’s been raining, gently and intermittently, for 2 days. Sister Mary Schmidt’s lettuces are thriving!

Abbot Jerome opened our session this morning by saying there are 2 steps to accepting a vocation. The 1st is to ACCEPT it, but we can get stuck there when we accept it with bitterness or halfheartedness. Continue Reading

Retreat Day #1: The Wilderness is the Way

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

At long last, retreat time has arrived at St. Mary Monastery. A profound quiet fills our hallways and rooms. Many smiles and pats on the shoulder replace conversation. The sense of relaxation is palpable.

What do we do during retreat? In some ways, nothing different from usual. We follow our same schedule, give or take an hour. That is, we gather for Lauds, Noonday Prayer, Vespers and Eucharist. We pray Lectio Divina. We take our meals together at noon and 5:30. Continue Reading