An Overdue Reflection on Advent

Denise West, OSBPrayer & Worship, Spirituality Articles 4 Comments

Lent is around the corner but I’m of a mind to look back on the wintry beginning of Advent. The gift – and torment – of the season of Advent is the quiet stillness that beckons us to turn inward, to perceive the darkness residing within. By December every year I’m aware of some niggling bit of unpleasantness that separates me from God, and I know that ‘now is the time’ to reckon with it. I always look forward to the peace and space, the early sunsets that make it easier to use the evening time for reading and reflection. …

What is the Day of the Dead?

Paz Vital, OSBLiving in Community, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

The celebration of the dead is a tradition deeply rooted in Mexican life. More than five hundred years ago, before the conquest, the festival of the dead lasted more than a month and was celebrated during the harvest season. The Catholic authorities, allied with the conquerors, moved this celebration to early November to coincide with All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2. Thus the conquerors gained more working hours to exploit the people. The consequence of taking these actions was that the official church merged indigenous traditions with the Christian feast days and the …

Two icons depicting the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah: Abraham & Sarah carrying food and drink and three guests seated at table

Welcoming the future

Lynne Smith, OSBBuilding Community, Living in Community, Spirituality Articles 3 Comments

In preparing some thoughts on hospitality to share with our Benedictine Women of Madison Board, I came across an article Sister Joanne Kollasch wrote in 1984 for a meeting of the American Benedictine Academy. She includes a quote from a conference by the late Demetrius Dumm, OSB, a monk and Scripture scholar from St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA. It sent my thinking about hospitality in a new direction. Here is what Demetrius Dumm said: In Scripture, the entertaining of guests and the entertaining of strangers is the entertaining of mystery; this is to make room for that which is not …

Celebrating Advent, Christmas and Epiphany at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Holy Wisdom MonasteryPrayer & Worship, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

(Selections from the Liturgy of the Hours used by Benedictine Women of Madison, Holy Wisdom Monastery, Middleton, WI) Anticipating Christmas with the O Antiphons During the last week before Christmas, we begin the daily singing of the   O Antiphons, an ancient practice that embraces the sense of longing and anticipation for Christmas which swells with each day.  These antiphons are sung prior to the Magnificat, the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55, in our evening prayers throughout this week.  Each antiphon begins by addressing God with a name that expresses God’s loving design for people of all times and places.  Each …

Great love and great suffering

Lynne Smith, OSBBuilding Community, Living in Community, Spirituality Articles 8 Comments

The people of east Aleppo have been in my prayers and on my mind this fall as they undergo the siege of their city. They are especially on my heart because a couple of years ago, a husband and wife and their triplet sons worshipped with us at Sunday Assembly for some months after they had fled Aleppo. In one conversation I had with Nael, he said, “Pray for us, the Syrian people. We don’t understand why this fighting is going on. We want to live in peace.” The images in the news of the destruction of the city keep …

Monastery bell tower, fall trees and far horizon

St Benedict’s survival kit

Joanne Kollasch, OSBRule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

The following reflections were shared by Sister Joanne Kollasch at a recent Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors meeting, part of the ongoing opportunities for our board to become more deeply rooted in the Benedictine tradition and values at Holy Wisdom Monastery. ____________________________________________ I continue to reflect on what’s happening in our country after the recent political election. The post-election turmoil is raised in many conversations I’m part of. So, what is my response? I found this quotation from Thomas Merton and a beginning answer to my question: “To say that I am made in the image of God …

Rosy Kandathil shares reflections on the Rule of Benedict

Celibate intimacy – a real question

Rosy Kandathil, OSBLetters home, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 2 Comments

“How do you experience intimacy as a celibate?” She looked up at me quizzically from her notebook. The young woman’s question caught me by surprise. I had just finished an interview with Pastor Pete Scazzero at New Life Fellowship church in New York City, where I’d been a member for nine years before coming to Holy Wisdom Monastery. My life at the monastery remained a mystery to many of the people I served at the church, people I still cared deeply about. I hoped that my answers might help bridge the gap for this busy urban church where monastic life might …

the light of faith and hope seen in the candle, cross and window of the oratory

Faith and hope

Ann MoyerPrayer & Worship, Spirituality Articles Leave a Comment

How often the scripture and additional readings during the Liturgy of the Hours compliment each other and bring new light, new insights, new faith and hope. Today, as we honored and remembered Mary, Martha and Lazarus as companions of Jesus, we heard and prayed the following: From the writings of Louis Boyer: By his words “I am the resurrection and the life” Jesus condemns the mistake of faith without hope. He is its living refutation, because, in this incarnate person, he is the incursion of the invisible world. He is the resurrection and life. Faith is directed to him, to …

Sisters at prayer (Photo © Andy Manis)

Benedictine life: new ways of valuing persons, things and time

Joanne Kollasch, OSBLiving in Community, Rule of Benedict, Spirituality Articles 1 Comment

What contributions has Benedict made to society?—a presentation by Joanne Kollasch, OSB to the Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors, July 26, 2016. I owe a great deal to Mary Collins, OSB for my reflections with you today. Scholars may continue to argue whether Benedict was counter-cultural or not. Settling this question doesn’t really matter so much because, from the beginning, the monastic way of life involved a re-valuation of persons, things and time, according to a set of standards that are different from those of the dominant culture. Monastic re-valuation can be clearly seen in the Rule of …

portion of Icon of Mary Magdalene by Robert Lentz, ofm

Mary Magdalene: Apostle to the Apostles

Holy Wisdom MonasterySpirituality Articles 2 Comments

In celebration of the feast of Mary Magdalene, July 22, the following reading comes from All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time, by Robert Ellsberg: “Mary Magdalene was one of the original Galilean disciples of Jesus and the most eminent among the many women who followed in his itinerant ministry.  Little can be said about her origins; she is characterized simply as “a woman from whom seven demons had gone out,” a statement subject to various interpretations.  It was St. Gregory the Great who identified Mary with the woman, “a sinner,” who sought Jesus in the home of …