Part 2: Hospitality (Making Space for Another)

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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 Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Many people recognize at least some of The Excellence of Love, 1 Corinthians 13. It’s a popular wedding reading.

It’s also a great passage to use as we consider a key Benedictine value. Try replacing the word love with the word hospitality, and you’ll see where I’m going with this: Continue Reading

Part 1: Finding Truth (in an Interruption)

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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 Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

We opened on Saturday with the gospel story of the woman at the well.

This, Fr. Brendan notes, is a story of encounter. It’s a story that teaches us how to find Truth. Continue Reading

Restoring Work-Prayer Balance

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By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

“Benedict was quite precise about it all. Time was to be spent in prayer, in sacred reading, in work, and in community participation … No one thing consumed the monastic’s life. No one thing got exaggerated out of all proportion to the other dimensions of life.” – Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily

Easier said than done. Especially for me this past few weeks. Continue Reading

Where fear gives way to faith

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By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

For many Christians, Christmas and Easter are fairly simple to  understand.

We know the Bethlehem story. We love gift giving at Christmas. We work at understanding the crucifixion, burial and raising up of Jesus on Easter Sunday. We “get it.”

But a bird with wings settling on the heads of the Apostles while they hide from the Jews?

Preposterous.

Yet, that’s what we are taught on Pentecost. How can we assimilate this unlikely scenario into our faith?

First, let’s recognize we ALL struggle with understanding and faith. (“Lord help my unbelief.” Mark 9:24)

This bird is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, pure gift of God.

The Spirit called the Apostles to a new beginning, where fear gives way to faith, and timidity to bold proclamation.

The bird was a visible sign, as the wind, fire and earthquake were visible signs on Mt. Sinai when God shared the 10 Commandments.

God’s visible signs indicated Presence, Gift and Expectations throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Now, they invited the Apostles to become new people; new creation.

Other signs included the fact that they had gathered on the “first day of the week,” the day of a new creation and that the Risen Lord breathed on them as God first breathed life into creation.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” Twice. In Hebrew, peace means more than the absence of conflict.  It suggest the fullness of life and  blessings.  This was God’s intended plan for creation.

Jesus again commanded forgiveness, the cornerstone of peace.

It seems God intended the dawning of a new age, one predicated on peace, and one for which we would be amply prepared, by virtue of the Holy Spirit.

As we celebrate Pentecost, how are you using the gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord?

What are you doing to practice – and promote – peace?

Who have you forgiven?

How are you bringing about your own new beginning, where fear gives way to faith, and timidity to bold proclamation?

Part 10: Resurrected life is now

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There’s lots of talk about resurrection this time of year, from the good news of the Easter story to what we witness outdoors in every new flower. But what does it really mean to us, in a practical way? The Catholic Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery collaborated on this 10-part answer to the question of How to Practice Resurrection Every Day. This is the final part. We hope you enjoyed it!

Resurrection will be now. Every moment, a new beauty. – Rumi

Resurrection – the moment when we rise, all new – is the life to which we are called.

Not once, as we give up our corporal bodies, but always. Continue Reading

Part 9: Heaven is closer than we think

purple violets

There’s lots of talk about resurrection this time of year, from the good news of the Easter story to what we witness outdoors in every new flower. But what does it really mean to us, in a practical way? The Catholic Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery collaborated on this 10-part answer to the question of How to Practice Resurrection Every Day. We will publish it in installments over the next couple of weeks!

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. – Henry David Thoreau

“How far from heaven are we?” asks Sister Mary Schmidt, OSB. “Not very. It’s here and now.”

Heaven is all around us, sometimes apparent and sometimes not. Continue Reading