Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Reminder from Pope Francis...


"Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Rule of Benedict, Prologue: 1).

Are you seeking to listen more deeply? We would be happy to share our Benedictine life of prayer, offer times of listening and retreat, and walk with you on the way.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sr. Marie

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her. 

May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Welcoming Postulant Terry!


The Postulant Theresa, escorted by our vocation director, knocked at the monastery door. Prioress Penny greeted her and asked, "Terry, what do you seek?" She responded, "I seek to live in loving service to God in this community." Each new postulant offers her own response to this question.  After the Postulant Director proclaimed a reading from the Rule of Benedict, the Prioress called upon the whole community to live as example and share our support with Terry as she begins this deeper discernment of our monastic life. With this simple ceremony at the front doors of the monastery, Terry became a Postulant and began her journey into our Benedictine life.  Almost two months later, she has begun settling into our daily life of the community.  How does someone settle into our family life?  Slowly… 

Terry recently shared that some of her new experiences were those that our Midwestern sisters had been living most of their lives. “Since I come from the East Coast (I’m a Philly girl), I have had some experiences that are new culturally. For one, I have never experienced a “corn party”. First we shucked and shucked and shucked some more, more corn than I have ever seen before. We also had corn on the cob for lunch and dinner for about two and a half weeks. Then we cut the corn off the rest of the cobs so we could enjoy it all year long. That’s a lot of corn. I will also be experiencing my first “pasta party”, wherein I am told the pasta will be flowing faster than I can imagine. I don’t even know how pasta is made, but I will be a professional before the end of the day, I am told! The pasta is being made for the Holiday Fair when the sisters sell homemade goodies made right here in the monastery.”

Postulant Terry’s room is in the monastery hall dedicated to the new members in formation.  The new members are allowed to settle-in to feel comfortable in their bedroom, I brought a guitar, computer, and some stuffed animals. Recently I used one of the stuffed animals as a doorstop to keep the door from slamming shut in the wind. One of the sisters saw it (it is an eagle) and she said she saw a giant mouse in my doorway. Ever since the “giant mouse” has taken to stalking her –outside her door in the middle of the night, checking out her office desk, and even reading from her book of the Divine Office.” However, not everything from home can be brought to the monastery. Postulant Terry needed to leave her dog, Samson, in the loving care of a new family.

As a Benedictine family, we also work to care for our home together and even the Postulant has a household charge or two, “My charges include Friday evening and Sunday brunch dishes and cleaning the Peace chapel,” as well as charges taking care of the monastery hall and group room for formation members. “I’d have to say that washing the dishes is my favorite among these current tasks.” These daily tasks are on top of Terry’s continued work teaching as a Professor of Theology at Mount Marty College and new work learning in her beginning formation classes. “I am currently reading a book and discussing it with two sisters on the topic of transitions – this is helpful to me in facing some of the facets of transition. I am also taking singing lessons each week and a liturgy class based in the Church’s teaching and Liturgy of the Hours.”  With all this juggling around the monastery, it has been important to remember “how thoughtful St. Benedict was in incorporating time for everything in any given day: prayer, work, leisure, communal and private time, rest and refreshment – and it all seems to work!”

Central to our Benedictine life is the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist.  Soon after entering, even Postulants begin to fall into the liturgical rhythm, “I really enjoy the chanting of the prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. My favorites come from the chanted renditions of the Benedictus.”  Personal prayer is also an essential part of the prayer life of new members, “I have long been aware of and tried Lectio Divino in the past, but since entering this is a prayer that I practice every day.”

“Don’t forget to breathe.” This advice was shared with loving prayer from another sister as Postulant Terry began to settle in to our monastic life.  As Terry continues her discernment, she offers this wisdom, reminiscent of Pope Francis, to women who are considering religious life, Make sure you are happy with the decision to enter religious life. The Church needs happy religious.” This advice is a reflection of her own response when sisters ask how she is doing, a quote from Tobit, “brimming over with joy!”

Please pray for Postulant Terry's continued discernment in our Benedictine Community!