Monastery front yard

Ordinary Times

When I was first asked to do a blog for the week of June 21, 2020 my thoughts immediately went to some great feasts around that time: the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (our community’s patronal feast) and the Nativity of John the Baptist, the precursor of…

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Sister Brigid renewing her profession at her 25th Jubilee celebration

Duty of Delight

Death is not extinguishing the light: it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come” (R. Tagore). Dawn came for our Sister Brigid Clarke on Tuesday, May 19th, at the age of 91. It is hard for me to believe she has died. It is harder to…

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Undivided Heart

The English words monk, monastery, and monastic all come from the same Greek root word monos, which means “one.” For monastic women and men, this oneness has multiple aspects. Most obviously, this oneness expresses itself in singularity of life.  Monastic women and men are unattached to an exclusive other in…

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Sister Regina Barrett

All Things Bright and Beautiful

When I think of Sister Regina Barrett, the first thing that comes to mind is her love of nature. She studied, then taught Biology for 15 years. During her studies, under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency, she had the opportunity to do research on the effects of an…

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New Fire from Easter Triduum

The Flame Lives On

In this last week of the Easter season, our Mass readings are already preparing us for the Solemnity of Pentecost this coming Sunday. In the Communion Antiphon for today (May 27, 2020), we  hear Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John proclaimed: “When the Paraclete comes, whom I will send…

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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…

Read More