Monreale apse mosaic of Pantocreator

Last Things Last

“First things first” is a common slogan that challenges us to keep our priorities in order. It reminds us to make sure that the most important things in our lives are given “first place,” that is, given priority over other aspects of our lives that are less important. In the…

Read More
Sister Sara Aiden First Profession

Seeing Differently

In 1936, during the Third Reich, a now famous photo was taken of a group of about 100 shipyard workers in Hamburg, Germany. Men are lined-up close together, facing the same direction, their rigid right arms saluting Hitler…with the remarkable exception of one man. His arms are folded against his…

Read More
Silver Jubilarians 1952

Living a Legacy

One of the joys of welcoming new members into the monastery is the enlivened retelling of familiar stories from years gone by at meal times. Eventually, new members will read and study the community’s history, On Good Ground, written by Sister Mary Ruth Coffman, but the oral tradition of the…

Read More
Hands

Stability in Community

Unlike silence, obedience, and humility, The Rule of St. Benedict does not have a chapter on stability. However, stability is a hallmark feature of Benedictine life and spirituality. St. Benedict concludes Chapter 4 on The Tools of Good Works with this statement: “The workshop where we are to toil faithfully…

Read More
St. Benedict Window Retreat Center Chapel

The Kinds of Monks

 Due to my recent travels out of state, I have had some extra quiet time spent quarantining in Benet Guest House, the older one of our retreat houses that is located just above our lake. During the coronavirus pandemic, our Sisters have agreed that if we travel outside the monastery…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More

Matter and Mystery*

In the previous post there were lots of particulars, in both word and image. Banisters, windows, water, ducks, coffee, clocks, doorknobs, scrambled eggs, a hallway plant…What do all these particulars – this ‘matter’ – have to do with Benedictine life? A lot! While a spiritual reality – seeking God –…

Read More