Kindred Spirits

At the beginning of Advent two friends each gifted me a book related to the season. Though it is wise not to judge a book by its cover, in this case I could tell by the authors, publishers, and even the titles that I would enjoy reading one, while the…

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Manger Fascination

In my childhood years, before I learned to read a calendar or had developed a sense of time, I must have asked my mother at some time, “What day is Christmas?” I can hear her instructive words to this day: “Christmas always falls on December 25, and it is preceded…

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Advent Wreath in monastery chapel

Examining Our Habits

In his New York Times bestseller, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg gives many riveting stories of how corporations, sports teams, communities, institutions, and individuals have let go of old habits and built new ones. One compelling example Duhigg gives of how habits change is the industrial giant, Alcoa. In…

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Shoes filled with St. Nicholas goodies

St. Nicholas

Growing up, I felt very steeped in Catholic Christmas traditions. As a child, I had no idea that other Catholic families might have different traditions from those of my Irish Catholic mother. The Feast of St. Nicholas and the German traditions surrounding it only appeared on my radar once I…

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morning light through the trees

Supplies on the Journey Part 4

In my blog Supplies on the Journey Part I, “Openness” was the first supply or disposition. It is an important pillar for all the other supplies. Wakefulness was the attitude covered in the last blog. Being open and awake can result in two partners, wonder and awe, which are the…

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The Last Judgement by Fra Angelico

In the End

These last weeks of the liturgical calendar the readings for worship have had an apocalyptic quality about them, urging us to consider the time of “fulfillment” when the world as we know it will reach its end. The intricate symbolism and cataclysmic events found in apocalyptic literature, including the texts…

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Sister Priscilla with family

Sister Priscilla

A brief quote from former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold is most appropriate for this time of the year. “For all that has been, Thanks. To all that shall be, Yes.” Part of my own personal prayer involves praying individually for the Sisters in our community, giving thanks to God…

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Book of Remembrance in SHM chapel

We Remember Them

The month of November is traditionally the time for the whole Catholic community to remember and pray for our deceased loved ones, those whose loss we feel most deeply. As the trees shed their autumn leaves, the days grow shorter and the air crisper, I find myself remembering my dad…

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fall leaves

Fall Cleanup

Fall cleanup is strenuous with lots of raking and burning leaves, pruning foliage, putting away hoses and yard tools, emptying the bird baths, hanging suet cakes, and storing clean hummingbird feeders. This year, fall cleanup includes cultivating my Benedictine charism. Applying Chapter 4 and Chapter 6 of the Rule of…

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Misty morning lake scene

Cultivating Silence

“Monastics should diligently cultivate silence at all times…” RB 42 One late summer day almost thirty years ago I found myself in the pasture of a neighbor’s farm. The mid-afternoon sun bore down on the field around me, the grasses bending under the strain of the glare. Cows stood like…

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