Blessed palm

From Palm to Ashes

It’s that time of year again. Any day now a box will appear in the monastery mailroom with a sign inviting the Sisters to place the previous year’s blessed palm in the box so that it may be burned to make ashes for Ash Wednesday. Not many of us give…

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Different, Yet the Same

In December our community sponsored an Advent day of reflection for which all the women religious serving in the Diocese of Birmingham were invited. During one of the breaks, I found myself in a group of five Sisters I did not know. We shared with one another how each had…

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Sisters sing opening hymn with lighted candles

Feast of the Presentation

This past Sunday, February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Church celebrated Jesus, the King of Glory, like us in all things but sin, being presented in his Temple to be a light for all the nations. This feast originated in the 4th century in Jerusalem,…

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Sisters assembled in choir stalls for prayers

Daily Song

As Benedictines we gather morning and evening for the Liturgy of the Hours to chant the beautifully poetic Psalms of David. As the bell rings and invites us to come into God’s holy presence, we stop all work we are doing, whether finished or not, to come together “to sing…

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From Persecutor to Persecuted

  The liturgical feast of the Conversion of St. Paul is celebrated on January 25th. Originally known as Saul, St. Paul was born in Tarsus about 10 A.D. He was a Roman citizen, a well-educated young man, a tentmaker by trade, a strong-willed individual and a highly-regarded Pharisee rigidly committed…

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Statue of St. Benedict

Therapy and Grace

For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been wearing a long, rigid brace to protect and immobilize a fractured wrist to enable it to heal. Yesterday, I started therapy to eventually recover full strength and use of my fingers, hand and wrist. It’s going to take many weeks before I can…

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Benedictine cross

Good Zeal

In Ch. 72 of his Rule St. Benedict states that good zeal is to be fostered by monks with fervent love. Then he quotes St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other” [12:10]. They are to bear with…

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Yellow pine

I was a little tired today, which means my mind was a little more prone to wander, including during Mass, so after hearing the Gospel reading from Matthew about the wooden beam and the splinter, my mind wandered off through a forest of trees, wondering from which sort of wood…

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Lighter than air

I spent the past several days attending a conference where I sat at a table listening, thinking, talking, and praying. The table held my papers, my elbows, and occasionally my gaze. It also held the holy conversation – heavy with the weightless fragrance of hope – that flowed across and…

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Home, like the evening

A still summer evening. Effortless air. Light so relaxed it has no need to be lit. The earth quiet and unselfconscious in the pale twilight that lingers around the straight, still pines. The promise of dawn resting beside the hearth of nightfall. Stepping into this evening is like stepping into…

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