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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plate of ashes

Dust Bowl and Ashes

In 2012, I watched a PBS documentary about the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Those images returned to me at the beginning of Lent. Do you recall that tragic story of the severe drought and dust storms that ravaged the Prairies during the 1930’s? It got me reflecting on why the Dust…

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Painting of Chapel and Sunken Garden

Shades and Shadows

Some time ago I started taking an art class. We were given a picture and told to look at it to see the various shades and shadows so that we could paint what we saw. The more I looked at the picture the more I noticed the details that previously…

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Sister Madeline

Peace Begins with Me

  I grew up in the decade of the ‘60’s in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a chaotic time of social unrest, deep questioning, a quest for relevancy and meaning. It was a time of violence, civil disobedience, and high idealism. Young people like myself felt a new age was dawning…

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Blessed palm

From Palm to Ashes

It’s that time of year again. Any day now a box will appear in the monastery mailroom with a sign inviting the Sisters to place the previous year’s blessed palm in the box so that it may be burned to make ashes for Ash Wednesday. Not many of us give…

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Periwinkles

Different, Yet the Same

In December our community sponsored an Advent day of reflection for which all the women religious serving in the Diocese of Birmingham were invited. During one of the breaks, I found myself in a group of five Sisters I did not know. We shared with one another how each had…

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Sisters sing opening hymn with lighted candles

Feast of the Presentation

This past Sunday, February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Church celebrated Jesus, the King of Glory, like us in all things but sin, being presented in his Temple to be a light for all the nations. This feast originated in the 4th century in Jerusalem,…

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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…

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From Persecutor to Persecuted

  The liturgical feast of the Conversion of St. Paul is celebrated on January 25th. Originally known as Saul, St. Paul was born in Tarsus about 10 A.D. He was a Roman citizen, a well-educated young man, a tentmaker by trade, a strong-willed individual and a highly-regarded Pharisee rigidly committed…

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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…

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