An invitation to Benedict’s “little rule for beginners”

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

On March 21 we celebrate the Feast of Benedict and honor this holy man who became the founder of the Benedictine tradition. The beginning of his story is captured in this excerpt from St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, by Sr. Margaret Clarke, OSB: Benedict, whose name in Latin means “Blessed,” was born to a Christian family in the mountains to the northeast of Rome (A.D.480?). The Roman Empire was crumbling and the Goths and Vandals controlled Italy. As a youth, he was sent to Rome for schooling and there experienced a religious awakening which caused him to renounce corrupt secular …

Who is Benedict?

Joanne Kollasch, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Rule of Benedict Leave a Comment

I’m delighted to introduce you to Benedict of Nursia. Perhaps you recognize his name as the famous monk and author of the Rule of Benedict. This may be your first meeting with this “holy man of God,” so my desire is to go easy on historical information, and in fact we know little about the 6th century historical Benedict. Rather we learn of him through the influence of two documents, The Rule for Monks, and Gregory the Great’s Dialogues. We can also meet the person of Benedict through the lives of dedicated Benedictine women and men who practice his teachings. …

Scripture in the Rule of Benedict and Benedictine Tradition

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict Leave a Comment

One of the things that resonated with me when I began exploring community life at Holy Wisdom Monastery was the focus on Scripture that is so much a part of Benedictine life. The Rule of Benedict includes more than 300 quotations or allusions to Scripture — so many that some have described the Rule as the fruit of Benedict’s lectio on Scripture. Communally, we pray all the Psalms over a five-week period at the Liturgy of the Hours and read through the Bible at least once every two years. In addition to what we read in communal prayer, we also …

Wisdom from the Rule of Benedict

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

One of my greatest joys is in sharing the richness of the Rule of Benedict.  Along with the Gospels, the Rule holds the foundational wisdom that forms every Benedictine community.  The wisdom of Benedict has also been embraced by spiritual seekers throughout the world for its fundamental clarity and insights. Periodically we welcome women to our Exploring Benedictine life retreats, an opportunity to immerse themselves in our Benedictine way.  What follows is some of the wisdom of the Rule I share with them. Sister Joan Chittister, author of Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Living the Rule of Benedict Today, once shared this …

Benedictine Spirituality in the 21st Century

Holy Wisdom Monastery Living in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 3 Comments

“Benedictine spirituality is the spirituality of the twenty-first century because it deals with the issues facing us now.” –  Joan Chittister, OSB The Rule of Benedict has helped people around the world develop a deeper understanding of their own spirituality through the Benedictine tradition. Written by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th century, the Rule inspired many Christians in their search for God, leading to the formation of Benedictine monasteries throughout Europe. These holy places served as witnesses to God’s love during the dark periods in history. Today, the Rule is the basis for a spirituality that is much more …

Saint Benedict’s Rule: Guide for the Ages

Holy Wisdom Monastery Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

“Listen, child of God, to the guidance of your teacher. Attend to the message you hear and make sure that it pierces to your heart…” –Prologue to the Rule While living in Italy during the 6th century, Benedict of Nursia wrote a guide for community life, which he called a “little rule for beginners.” The Rule of Benedict quickly became the foundation for monastic communities across Europe, giving direction for ordinary people wanting to live extraordinarily well. The spirituality of the Rule is essentially lay in its origins. Eager disciples came to Benedict’s small cave, seeking guidance in their search …

Benedictine Life: A Journey of the Heart

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

In September of 1996, I read two ads and an article about the new ecumenical Benedictine women’s community, Benedictine Women of Madison, Wisconsin. By the time I saw the third ad welcoming women of any Christian denomination to join, I thought, “That means me. I have to check this out.” That’s how my journey in Benedictine life began. After months of visits and discernment with the sisters, I came to the monastery in June of 1998 and made first profession two years later. Benedict begins his Rule “Listen carefully, my child, to my instructions, and attend to them with the …

Leadership in a Benedictine Community

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict Leave a Comment

Respectful listening is the first and foremost quality for leadership according to St. Benedict. He begins his Rule with “Listen.” For anyone seeking to grow in relationship to God, self and others, attentive listening is key for a whole and holy life. Two premises support the understanding of leadership in the Rule of Benedict (RB). The first is that Christ is the ultimate authority and second that the abbot represents Christ in a special way for the community. The leader, either prioress or abbot, is chosen by the community and receives what Benedictines believe to be the grace of office. …