Avenue of the Oaks, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL

Old Trees and Old People

I am renewed by long hikes through the woods or even brief walks around the block. Weather permitting, I’m out every morning for a 30-45-minute walk in the neighborhood, enjoying the sights, sounds and scents of the changing seasons. Wherever I am walking, though, I’m captivated by the very old…

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Holy Cross relic in stand before the altar

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

One of the things I have appreciated most about my Benedictine formation is the way in which it has expanded my knowledge and appreciation of the liturgical aspects of our Catholic faith. Even though I attended daily Mass before entering my community, I was not aware of the fullness of…

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Cracked stained glass

Flaws and All

St. Benedict begins Chapter Four of his Rule with the famous passage “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength… and your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31, NABRE 2010). What strikes me every time I meditate on…

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Novices Veronica Ryan and Marie Leonard at recreation

Reflections on 60 Years of Monastic Life

Sixty years ago, as the family was on the way to drop me off at the convent, I lit up my last cigarette. (Remember, this was the sixties and smoking was in vogue.) After one puff, my brother pulled it out of my hand and threw it out the window…

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St. Monica

St. Monica: Woman of Prayer

In my 45+ years of serving in education and pastoral ministry, I frequently have had the privilege of journeying with people who were dealing with difficult marriages or difficulties with their children. When they share about their children, they often reflect on how hard they have tried to do everything…

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Benedictine medal in chapel clerestory window

How to Live

How can I become a more active player in my life? Where does my life seem to be heading? Does my life have a real meaning and purpose? These are questions that often come to mind when someone is seeking lasting happiness in life. These are some of the very…

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Aged Magnolia blossom

Hidden Beauty

Nick Woodthorpe taught Social Studies and was the school librarian at McNair Junior High School in suburban Southern California. His classes were held in the library and thirty-six seventh graders clustered six to a table. Our primary interests were listening to our favorite tunes on transistor radios, surfing, riding bikes,…

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Serenity Prayer mug

Grumble Not

During these well-advanced months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to refrain from grumbling about anything and everything, even in the monastery! Stress and fatigue caused by all that is “not normal” is super-abundant, which makes us more inclined to touchiness and frustration. So often these days we pray…

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Sister Jane’s Good Zeal

If you know our Sister Jane Bishop, you would know that when she sets her mind to accomplishing a project, she puts her whole mind and heart into it. She also has a knack for getting others involved in her endeavors. The roots of her generosity and pastoral hospitality run…

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The Spirit of Wonder and Awe

“Fill them with the Spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.” These words are part of a prayer said over those being confirmed in the Church. I continually pray for the deepening of this gift of the Holy Spirit for myself and for the sick and elderly parishioners among…

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