Monday, June 29, 2015

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sister Yvonne

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.

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sister Stephanie

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.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Home for All God's Creatures: Pollinator Habitat

Greetings,

“In the United States, the pollinators which we depend on for the majority of our pollination services are bees, including the non-native European honeybee and over 4,000 species of native bees.  Evidence of population declines of bees, not only in the United States, but around the world, has prompted scientists to encourage changes in ecosystem management” (USDA).

As Benedictines we profess a vow of stability; we commit ourselves to living among members of one community in one place.  This promise ties us closely to the tradition of our monastic ancestors to care for and stewardship of the place where we live in community. Pope Francis shared this reflection in his encyclical Laudato si’ “We can also look to the great tradition of monasticism. Originally, it was a kind of flight from the world, an escape from the decadence of the cities. The monks sought the desert, convinced that it was the best place for encountering the presence of God. Later, Saint Benedict of Norcia proposed that his monks live in community, combining prayer and spiritual reading with manual labour (ora et labora). Seeing manual labour as spiritually meaningful proved revolutionary. Personal growth and sanctification came to be sought in the interplay of recollection and work. This way of experiencing work makes us more protective and respectful of the environment; it imbues our relationship to the world with a healthy sobriety” (126).

Last year, Sister Gardener began shifting parts of our monastic vegetable garden to pollinator habitat.  Seeking to support a pollinator population in distress, she planted this habitat.  It is filled with native prairie blooms and grasses which haven’t been sprayed with any insecticide or pesticide; in other words, our pollinator habitat is a safe home for the many little bees, wasps, butterflies, and insects here in the southeast corner of South Dakota.  The habitat includes: prairie grasses, prairie comb flower, gray comb flower, poppy, flaxes, sedum, prairie sunflower, red yarrow, black-eye susan, and mexican red-hat .

You might be wondering why we planted a pollinator habit. Our monastery is already surrounded by blooms: flower beds; an orchard filled with apple, apricot, plum, cherry, and pear trees; and a vegetable garden. Each of these is a wonderful source of pollen for the pollinators during their moment of blooming; however, this new habitat offers a stable diet of blooms and grasses that continue throughout the summer and fall.  This buffet of blooms and grasses also attracts a wider population and a greater number of pollinators for our gardens’ needs.

As the years progress, Sister Gardener plans to continue this slow shift from garden to habitat.  Encouraging these species that are native to our monastery grounds will take time.  It all begins with the ground being tilled and raked to break up the earth, and next a mixture of seeds is broadcast (sown) by hand over the dirt; then, we pray for rain. During the first year, the habitat looks a bit awful. The weeds grow faster than the newly sown flowers and grasses.  These quick growing weeds aren’t pulled out or doused with herbicide…the whole plot gets mowed!  The mower is placed on its highest setting and the weeds' leaves are shredded away leaving room for the newly sprouted grasses and flowers to peek through. Even by the end of the first season, the weeds seem to have won their rights to the plot of land, but the prairie habitat is a mix of perennial and self-seeding annual species.

The second year, the flowers sprout up quickly throughout the habitat.  They break into bloom and celebrate God’s cathedral of creation! The prairie grasses hidden below the abundant flowers slowly take deep root, over the next few years the grasses to spread and thin the flowers. Early each spring, Sister Gardener will mow the pollinator habitat.  Creating an area of land call a 'carbon sink' that will hold the carbon the plants take-in and store in the soil.  Soon after, the native plants spring to life in an abundance reflecting God's great blessings in Psalm 65:  You crown the year with Your bounty. Abundance flows in your pathways; in pastures of the desert it flows (12-13). The challenge of this beautiful habitat is reminding our sisters that it was planted for the pollinators alone! It is so tempting to pluck a bloom or two for the chapel or refectory, but each flower and grass needs to be left in place for bees and bugs.  Left in its beauty, the pollinator habitat is becoming a wonderful place of peace to wonder at all God's creation.

We invite you to consider supporting a pollinator habitat at your home too.
Here are seven ways to make your garden a haven for native pollinators:
1.     Use pollinator-friendly plants in your landscape. Shrubs and trees such as dogwood, blueberry, cherry, willow, and poplar provide pollen or nectar, or both, early in spring when food is scarce.
2.     Choose a mixture of plants for spring, summer, and fall. Different flower colors, shapes, and scents will attract a wide variety of pollinators. If you have limited space, you can plant flowers in containers on a patio, balcony, and even window boxes.
3.     Reduce or eliminate pesticide use in your landscape, or incorporate plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control. If you use pesticides, use them sparingly and responsibly.
4.     Accept some plant damage on plants meant to provide habitat for butterfly and moth larvae.
5.     Provide clean water for pollinators with a shallow dish, bowl, or birdbath with half-submerged stones for perches.
6.     Leave dead tree trunks, also called “snags,” in your landscape for wood-nesting bees and beetles.
7.     Support land conservation in your community by helping to create and maintain community gardens and green spaces to ensure that pollinators have appropriate habitat.

Blessings,

Monday, June 15, 2015

A new face in our halls...

Greetings,

We recently invited a woman wise in the ways of 'PR' and all matters of reaching-out in the ever changing world of communications to join us as an employee supporting our Benedictine ministry.  While sisters, your humble blogger included, will continue to be the storytellers and writers of our blog and Facebook, Raelynn Coldwell will be coaching us along in hash-tagging, pinteresting, and whatever else might be out there!

Blessings,

The following is a request for your help in helping her to help us:

Hello, Please allow me to introduce myself as I transition into a role that Sister Mary Jo and others have initiated, which is serving as Sacred Heart Monastery’s Communications Director! I am a Rapid City native, who grew up in a small family (we all share an R to begin our first names) and Mount Marty Alumni of Yankton, SD. This survey is dedicated to finding out ways to be more effective in getting the word out. In the spirit of Pope Francis ‪#‎twitterfeed‬ Today the Church is a Church of martyrs, so many heroic witnesses. May we learn from their courage. Be courageous, take the quiz! Thank you smile emoticon Raelynn Coldwell


Friday, June 12, 2015

A "Powerhouse" Staff Recognition Night

Greetings,

On Wednesday evening, June 10, Sacred Heart Monastery’s Staff gathered together in the upstairs Chapter Room for traditional picnic fare (with an amazing selection of desserts made by the sisters and employees), to recognize milestone achievements and to have a bit of fun!

Why mention powerhouse? How could one forget the memorable “Sacred Heart Monastery’s Powerhouse” shirt Keith showed off? By definition a powerhouse is: a person, group, team, or the like, having great energy, strength, or potential for success. 

S. Penny Bingham presented awards to our “powerhouses” of five to 30 years of service; not everyone was available to be present to receive their aware but was honorably mentioned. Among those recognized for service of five years included: Becky Adams (Cook/Dietary Worker), Syndee Dropper (Charge Nurse), and Jason Erickson (Mechanic); ten years included: Jim Wieseler (Housekeeping Supervisor, Diane Cameron (Charge Nurse) and Jean Fish (Executive Secretary); fifteen years included Paul Jensen (IT Technician); twenty years included Liz Brinkman (HR Manager/Asst. Acct.); twenty-five years included Keith Williams (physical Plant Asst.) and Jay Magorian (Yards Manager) and last but not least thirty dedicated years of service included Barbara Hermanek/Peck (Educational Coordinator). 

Sr. Mary Kay, procurator, and Sr. Penny, prioress,
joined the recognized employees for a picture.
Throughout the years, our employees have continued to serve in our home with tender care.  We celebrate their diligent ministry for the monastery with a festive meal and more importantly, fellowship at the table.  After beginning with prayer, we join them at the table and meet their families and hear their stories.  Drawing for prizes for employees followed the meal.  We stayed at the table, applauding those whose names were drawn, laughing with them.  Many smiling walked away from the table young and young at heart.

Blessings,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Greetings,

Tonight we begin our celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the patronal feast of our monastery.  We will begin this evening with first Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours.  The celebration continues on the day of the Feast with our prayer and Eucharist being celebrated in the Bishop Marty Chapel.  The Psalms and antiphons all echoing the reminders of Christ's great love for us poured out through His Sacred Heart.

"Let us love one another with fervent love, endure one another's infirmities; patiently serve and obey one another, and prefer nothing whatever to Christ."
~ Vespers Antiphon


"Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.  Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love" ~ Hosea 11

The day of prayer is accented with little joys to join in the celebration:  flavored coffee during the day, homemade pie for supper, and time to gather for laughter and recreation.  These little joys are part of our family tradition too.  Tradition runs deep in our Benedictine life.  The mosaic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (above) in the Chapter room of the monastery.  He has was designed by the artisan sisters in our community; each sister in our community joined in the art by placing individual tiles within the design.  The lintel block of our name (below) was placed above our early convent doorway over a hundred years ago.  When we rebuilt the monastery in 1999-2000, the lintel was preserved and still declares our presence.  Today, it is built into the retaining wall of the flowerbeds in front of the monastery.

We invite you to join us in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel for our celebration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:
~ First Vespers ~ Thursday, June 11th at 5:15 PM
~ Lauds ~ Friday, June 12th at 7:00 AM
~ Celebration of the Eucharist following prayer at approximately 7:25 AM
~ Vespers ~ Friday at 5:15 PM

  
Community Prayer of Dedication...
God of all creation, and God of our hearts,
 on this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
we remember the love with which you first loved us.
We remember the gift of your Son,
Jesus Christ who brings us to birth and feeds us
with the blood and water flowing from his side, pierced on the cross.  

Inspired by the Spirit of Love, we desire to give our hearts to you,
and to make the heart of Jesus our own.
Through his most Sacred Heart
we consecrate to you our monastery, the life and work
of each member of this community, and our beloved sick.
We ask you to receive this offering, which we make through Christ,
in the power of the Holy Spirit, one with you forever and ever.  Amen.
  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monastic Chapter

 Greetings,

Please pray for us as we prepare for our Monastic Chapter at the end of this week.

It is wonderfully appropriate that our June Monastic Chapter should coincide with Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ; for we as discern the needs of our monastic community, we strive to see Christ present in each other. We ask for your prayers as all of our sisters, from prioress to newly professed, travel home to discuss the "important business [that] has to be done in the monastery" RB 3:1.

However, it isn't all work and meetings.  All throughout the weekend, we visit with our sisters: catching up on news, sharing joys and sorrows, taking walks and playing favorite games. We also take time to celebrate.  One evening we will honor our Jubilarians of 25, 50, 60, 75 and even 80 years as professed sisters.  The next night we will remember our beloved sisters who have died this past year with prayer and a procession through our cemetery. 

Whenever any important business has to be done 
in the monastery, let the Abbot call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted upon. Then, having heard the brethren's advice,
let him turn the matter over in his own mind and do what he shall judge to be most expedient. The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best. 
Let the brethren give their advice with all the deference required by humility, and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions; but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot's judgment, and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare. 
However, just as it is proper for the disciples to obey their master, so also it is his function to dispose all things with prudence and justice.


Prayer schedule during Monastic Chapter...
Thursday:  Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
~ Prayer 8:30 AM
~ Mass 9:00 AM
~ Prayer 5:00 PM

Friday:  Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
~Prayer 8:30 AM
~ Mass 9:00 AM
~Prayer within the Monastic Chapter

Saturday:  Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
~ Prayer 8:30 AM
~ Prayer 5:00 PM

Sunday: Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
~ Prayer 8:30 AM
~ Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ 10 AM
~ Prayer 5:00 PM

Blessings,