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…

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While camellia

Weeping: A Gift of Grace

Who among us doesn’t weep or at least tear up and grimace at the seeming endless death and disease in our country wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic? There is great sadness and grief at the deaths and suffering caused by COVID-19. Way too many lives in way too many places…

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Fall leaves and monastery chapel


“Never forget!” was a common cry that followed the horrific events of September 11, 2001 because, as human beings, we naturally recognize the power of remembering.  We create holidays and set up memorials so that significant people and events who have made us what we are do not become lost…

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Rose Window detail

The Love of God

Not too long ago I was speaking to a person seriously ill, unsure if he would survive or not. Naturally, the severity of his condition led him to question how God would receive him if he were to die. Had he lived a good enough life? He knew he had…

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Chapel Dedication

On Sunday, October 11, 1931 Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel was solemnly dedicated by Bishop Thomas Joseph Toolen of Mobile. Last Sunday we celebrated the 89th anniversary of this dedication as a solemn feast. For eighty-nine years this Gothic edifice has stood tall at the center of Sacred Heart Monastery both…

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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…

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apples and honey

A Good and Sweet New Year

Every year as summer begins to give way to autumn, Jewish people throughout the world gather in synagogues and homes to celebrate the High Holy Days, the ten “Days of Awe.” The message of their celebrations is one of spiritual renewal, fresh starts, and repentance. Every year I try to…

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Processional cross

Exaltation of the Cross

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated on September 14. This feast day gave me an opportunity to reflect again on the cross of Jesus and its meaning for me at this particular moment in time. As I began my meditation, the first image that came…

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Listen Carefully

Listen and Attend

Seeking, discovering, and then assenting to one’s life vocation is a simple but confusing process. There is no step-by-step formula to follow, but St. Benedict gives excellent instructions for discernment. “Listen carefully…and…attend with the ear of your heart.” Let’s break it down. “Listen carefully.” There is much noise around us…

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Sister Minona Anne greets family on Zoom

Pandemic Hospitality

Hospitality has been one of the core values of the Benedictine way of life since the sixth century. St. Benedict describes the reception of guests in Chapter 53 of his Rule, “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, who said: ‘I was a stranger and you…

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