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

How I heard my call to religious life

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Lately I have had a number of people ask how I knew I had a call to religious life. Boy, I always find this hard to explain. I can explain how I chose this particular community. It felt like home; I was comfortable. But the call itself? That’s hard to articulate.

Michael Casey’s book, The Road to Eternal Life, helps. He says, “First of all, we are invited to ask ourselves, ‘Am I the sort of person who is truly seeking the fullness of life and happiness?’ and to hear what answer to this question resounds in the depths of our hearts.”

Wow, he’s right. But how do we get there? How do we hear the answer? 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

What does it mean when God says … NOTHING?

This article appeared in our most recent issue of Connecting Point. Email Sr. Sheila at if you’d like to be on our mailing list!

We all crave signs from above from time to time. Whether we are looking for guidance, a cure, assistance with a problem or something as specific as a new job, we want God to Speak. We want Answers. More often than not, of course, what we hear is nothing. Continue Reading