The Path to Holiness as Lived Out in Profession

That’s a mouthful of a title! Although the path to holiness can be lived out in other ways – marriage, singlehood – we Benedictine Sisters have chosen religious life (St. Scholastica, left, founded the women’s community to follow her twin brother’s Holy Rule, which we follow 1,500 years later).

Today, Bishop Joe – a member of a religious community himself – reflected on the promises we make in our Monastic Profession. (Sister Stefanie also reflected on the Promises today!) Continue Reading

Bathing in the Light of Forgiveness

The sky could have been painted blue and the trees splashed gold this morning as we gathered for our conference with Bishop Joe. Sparrows, cardinals and jays fluttered about Sister Anne’s birdfeeder, just beyond the podium, beneath the river birch off the patio. Bits of cotton drifted by, stray tufts of dandelion, perhaps, or cottonwood seeds. It was a graced morning, a graced talk. Continue Reading

Our Blessed Mother as Our Guide

Warm lights glow in the dining room as we gather for today’s morning talk.

We arrive by wheelchair and walker, on 2 feet and with canes. Some move slowly and deliberately and others rush in, all business. Then quiet settles upon the group and we turn our thoughts inward. We turn our thoughts and open our hearts to the One in whose name we gather.

Bishop Joe begins by reading the Gospel narrative from Luke, 1:26-28. He suggests we ponder the mystery of Jesus through the eyes of his mother, Mary. Continue Reading

Eucharist: The Gift of Jesus to Us

The sky is overcast and growing darker as we gather in the dining room for our morning conference with retired Bishop Joe Charron. He is nearly upstaged by our resident chipmunk as it skitters back and forth along the retaining wall outside. Goldfinches, too, provide a bit of drama as they flit among the tall grasses, in brilliant bursts of sunshine amid the green. Later, a doe and her fawn will gambol along the lake as they travel from one wooded area to another.

Today’s topic (under the theme, “Renewing Our Desire to be Holy”): Eucharist: The Gift of Jesus to Us. Continue Reading

Moving Off the Clock during Our Summer Retreat

Our busyness comes to a sudden halt this week, as our summer retreat begins. Life will move off the clock. We will be steeped in silence, reflection, prayer and rest.

We will watch Sister Ruth’s bold and brilliant lilies dance in the early summer breeze, and listen to the bees as they hum amid the sacred bounty with joy. Continue Reading

A Powerful and Life-Giving Prayer: Friday, June 10

Parting the clouds like water, the sun shone brightly this morning for the first time in 2 days. As we gather now for our conference, it slips behind the clouds, dimming the diamonds in the grass. From the top of a nearby sapling, a cherry red cardinal calls out. No answer. He tries again. Below, our chipmunk continues her looting operation beneath the bird feeders, darting to her nest again and again, cheeks full. Continue Reading

The Winding Road of Forgiveness: Wednesday June 8

Another warm, breezy morning greets us as we gather in the dining room for our conference. Thunderstorms have been forecast for the afternoon, but the sky looks benign right now. Haze tints the horizon a pale white and a few tufts of wool pass lazily overhead. Down to earth, a chipmunk races between the bird feeders and her nest, cheeks bulging with her loot. Abbot John brings us back to our immediate purpose, saying, Good Morning. Continue Reading

The Humble Shall Be Exalted: Tuesday June 7

We enjoy late Lauds during retreat, beginning at 8 a.m., then gathering afterward in the dining room for the morning’s conference. Sister Anne’s finches and cardinals pass through dappled sunlight to visit her feeders, wings glinting as they catch the sun’s rays. A vigorous, young river birch waves its leaves in the warm summer breeze just overhead. Abbot John begins. Continue Reading