Jesus is no longer in their midst. They can no longer reach out and touch him. They can no longer see his expressions of love, concern, patience, or mercy. His body is no longer on earth. Oh, but his spirit remains. They can remember the fun they had, the mysteries…

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Sister Kathleen in the garden

Sister Kathleen’s Good Zeal

Good zeal, like beauty and love, is manifested in a multitude of ways. For St. Benedict it is summed up in this: “preferring nothing whatever to Christ” (RB 72.11). In each member of the monastery good zeal is demonstrated with particular uniqueness because she (or he) is an utterly unique…

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Good Shepherd window in chapel

Shepherd Who Knows My Name

A casual visitor to our monastery chapel might not notice the “Good Shepherd” stained glass window among the side aisle windows. It always has been one of my favorites, depicting Jesus as deeply compassionate, always willing to take the lost sheep upon his shoulders, always ready to lay down his…

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Sisters Kathleen and Eleanor walking the road in front of the monastery

Peace Be With You

It has been almost three months since I wrote my first blog, and as I sit down to write I am overcome by how much our world and our lives have changed in such a short time. We have been challenged to live out the passion and death of our…

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“Disasters teach us humility.” No, that quote didn’t originate with the outbreak of this current pandemic. Rather, it is from over nine-hundred years ago by Saint Anselm of Canterbury. We celebrate the memorial of his death in 1109 on April 21. The disasters that Saint Anselm confronted are quite different from the COVID-19 pandemic we face in 2020. Yet, his centuries-old wisdom might give us pause. We all yearn to get past this world crisis as quickly as possible. We all pray to be restored to full health, employment, physical closeness, attendance at public Mass to receive the sacraments, travel, and much more. Saint Anselm invites us to ponder how this disaster can teach us/me humility, even while we await restoration. If nothing else, this pandemic has made us all the more aware of how interconnected we are with people all over the planet. It’s frightening to see how quickly one person’s lack of precaution can quickly spread this virus to hundreds. It’s heart-warming to see people everywhere inventing ways to meet the needs of friends and strangers. In her book, The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages, Sister Joan Chittister, OSB describes humility as “a proper sense of self in a universe of wonders.” A proper sense of self instills in me that wonderful interconnectedness with everyone everywhere. It also reminds me that I am not God, but I am dependent on an awesome God. Saint Anselm was a Benedictine monk. He certainly knew well the chapter on humility in The Rule of St. Benedict! Anselm entered the Benedictine Abbey of Bec in Normandy, France at age seventeen. Later, he was elected Abbot of that Abbey. At age fifty-nine, while serving as Abbot, Anselm visited England. King William Rufus of England, thinking he was dying, appointed Anselm the Archbishop of Canterbury. In short, that’s where his troubles began. Twice, Anselm had to flee into exile while the Vatican applied pressure on the King. Anselm’s place in history, however, is marked by his renown as a theologian for which he was named a doctor of the Church. In the midst of his own disasters, he could write: “Come now, you poor creature, turn your back on your busyness for a little while. For a few moments leave the tumult of your thoughts; throw off the burden of your cares and put aside your wearisome occupations. Make some time for God; rest in God for a while. Enter the chamber of your mind; exclude everything but God, and what will help you find God; shut the door and search for God. Now say how you long to see God’s face.” [from the Proslogion by St. Anselm] By Sister Sara Aiden Burress, OSB

Disasters Teach Us Humilty

“Disasters teach us humility.” No, that quote didn’t originate with the outbreak of this current pandemic. Rather, it is from over nine-hundred years ago by Saint Anselm of Canterbury. We celebrate the memorial of his death in 1109 on April 21. The disasters that Saint Anselm confronted are quite different…

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Sister Sherrie proclaiming the Word

Anastasia! He Is Risen

ANASTASIA! HE IS RISEN! The Easter greeting used in the Eastern Churches is, “Christ is risen.” To which the response is, “He is risen indeed!” Our Sister Maurus, who studied at the École Biblique in Jerusalem, would joyfully and enthusiastically, greet us after the Easter Vigil with, “Anastasia!”* To which we…

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Sister Veronica sitting by the monastery lake

Here Is My Servant

The other day I read this familiar passage from Isaiah 42:1-4: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased. Upon him I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out, nor shout, nor make…

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Pink azalea blossoms

A Different Kind of Lent

It is hard for many of us to believe that we are already in the fifth week of Lent and on the threshold of our Holy Week pilgrimage. As we began our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday, we had no idea that our usual Lenten routine would be overshadowed by…

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Agony in the Garden stained glass detail

Thirsting for God

“My soul is thirsting for you, O God, thirsting for you, my God,” was the poignant refrain to Responsorial Psalm 63 sung at the funeral of Our Lady of the Valley teacher, Judi Hobbs, several weeks ago. Judi was a 58 year old new grandmother whom I have known for…

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cemetery crucifix

All Shall Be Made Well

Many people are familiar with the frequently quoted phrase “all shall be well” but do not know the source or context of the quote. The phrase dates back to 14th century Norwich, England. A female anchorite (a permanently enclosed hermit) attached to the church of St. Julian wrote these words…

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