Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day


You are welcome to join us in honoring and interceding for the deceased members of our nations Armed Forces: morning prayer begins at 8:30 AM, followed by the Celebration of the Eucharist.

We also invite you to follow our link to Busted Halo, sponsored by the Paulist Fathers.  They  have created a 'virtual' Memorial Day retreat to use as a reflection and prayer for those who have and continue to serve in our armed forces.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Sr. Leonarda designed and painted the calligraphy
with this image of the Spirit being poured down
on Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel and monastery
for our monastic refectory (dining room).
It is a reminder of God's continual presence
to us in our service to God's people.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus ~ Sequence

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Review on "Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History"


The following is a review follow-up on our Sister Author; to read more about her book, follow our link to the late December post!

Ann KESSLER. Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History, Reviewed by Jakob Karl Rinderknecht, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI 
Western monasticism has resisted many attempts to systematize it. In one famous anecdote often repeated by Benedictines, a frustrated early twentieth-century pope (usually Leo XIII, sometimes Pius XI) is said to have yelled out that the followers of the Rule of St. Benedict constitute an ordo sine ordine” [an Order without order]. This book, written by S. Ann Kessler and revised by Neville Ann Kelly, does a remarkable job of telling  the story of the daughters and sons of St. Benedict without either truncating the family tree or imposing more of a structure than is there.
The scope of the book is vast, beginning with the Desert Abbas and Ammas and stretching to include the world-wide foundations of the twentieth century. This breadth of scope means that not everything can be equally exhaustive in its treatment.  The weight of the work’s attention is given to the medieval monastic reforms, the struggles arising from the Reformation and the Enlightenment, and the nineteenth century foundations in the new world. This attention comes at a cost to both ends of the timeline.  Its description of the foundational era of monasticism, stretching from the desert fathers and mothers in the third century through Benedict and Scholastica in the sixth, is covered in 25 pages. The worldwide diversity of post-Vatican II monasticism is described in a mere ten.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this work is the attention it pays to a different kind of balance.  It is careful to tell the often-neglected stories of Benedictine women. While sisters and nuns have been active in all eras and regions of monastic history, their stories often remain untold. Here, those stories are given equal footing with the struggles and triumphs of the monks. This is important. It is may be enough on its own to recommend the book.
This book is highly recommended for anyone who is looking to gain an appreciation of the messy but beautiful history of Benedictines, broadly understood. For such a reader, it will provide a framework for future work, an introduction to the important issues, and some intriguing judgments about that history which may inspire new and more specialized research. It would serve as a useful textbook for a class in monastic history, especially if it were to be augmented at the beginning and the end of the timeline.  It will not generally be of great help to the specialist in any particular era of monastic history.
An exception may be the author’s work with the original sources of the American foundations. S. Ann makes an important contribution to understanding the stories of the great American founders: Benedicta Riepp, Boniface Wimmer, and Martin Marty. Her balanced description of the interactions between these figures, especially the difficult history of S. Benedicta and Archabbot Boniface, anoints no untarnished heroes nor appoints any scapegoats. A broader attention to this careful history could do much to help contemporary  American Benedictine women and men reappropriate their common history together.
Perhaps the greatest strength of this work is its author’s narrative style and grasp of the whole. Monastics are great story tellers. The particular charisms and characters of the different federations, congregations, and communities are passed on as much in stories told about previous members as they are in the constitutions and customaries that provide structure to the communities’ lives.  This book therefore serves an important function beyond mere history. It is, in effect, an answer to the frustrated exclamation of that early twentieth century pope.
Benedictines have never been a regimented Order in the sense of the Dominicans or the Jesuits. There are few clear lines of command, no uniform structure that gives worldwide shape to all communities. At its best, the Benedictine family has been a loose conglomeration of a variety of ways of living out a shared sixth-century Rule. Nevertheless, there is an order there. Reading stories of the Trappists and the Cluniacs, of Boniface Wimmer and Benedicta Riepp, of cloistered nuns and missionary sisters, one can discern a real family resemblance. Learning the stories of monastic struggles and triumphs, of battles both internecine and with the powers of the world, gives the reader a realistic picture of what it means to be a Benedictine, and the tools to begin to see the order within the admittedly messy Order.  

Ann KESSLER. Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History rev. ed., edited by Neville Ann Kelly. Seattle: Lean Scholar Press: 2014. pp. 480. $26.95 pb. ISBN 978-0-9904497-0-6. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

On the Feast of Saint Isidore the Farmer


As we look out over our flower beds, orchard, and vegetable garden, it is natural for us to join in the Church celebration of the memorial for Saint Isidore the Farmer.  Many of our own sisters have come from rural farming families and small towns throughout the plains states.  Even our community's mission statement reflects these roots:  Rooted in our rural heritage and growing in relationship with God and one another in monastic community; we life a life of prayer, work, and lectio by which we serve God and God's people in our time and place. 

We invite you to take time today with Saint Isidore; go out into the beauty of nature and consider the gift of creation renewed by God each day.

Bless, O God, those who live close to the land.
Bless them as You blessed Jesus, Mary and Joseph. They, our model of family life knew the struggles, the fears, the joys, and the rewards of life in a rural area. 

Help us all to be aware of the quiet beauty of night, the fresh green growth on trees and all plants, and the songs of birds, and to give thanks for all of these. 
May we always show respect for all of creation. Bless each of us and help us grow in love and unity with You and with each other. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, May 8, 2015

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sister Evangeline

To Paradise now may the angels bring you,
and may the martyrs now come to meet you on your way,
and may you be led into the holy city Jerusalem.
All the choirs of angels make you welcome there,
and with Lazarus once so ill and poor,
may peaceful joy be now forever yours.
~In Paradisum

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.