Colleen Hartung's Homily, July 6, 2014

Holy Wisdom Monastery Homilies, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

“He  Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30)   “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me….  You will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28-30).   The Jesus of Matthew’s Gospel likes to tell parables or share scraps of wisdom, like this one, that throw his listeners a little off balance.  He does this in order to make them ponder and rethink taken for granted assumptions.  …

Spring 2014 update from Vera Court Neighborhood Center

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Justice, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

Holy Wisdom Monastery encourages donations to support the programs at the Vera Court Neighborhood Center. A collection is taken to support VCNC every third Sunday of the month at Sunday Assembly. These donations are then passed on in full to VCNC. Recently, VCNC shared this update on their programs and how donations are helping their programs. Click here to download the PDF update. If you are interested in learning more about VCNC, please visit their website: To learn more about programs at VCNC, contact Patrick at 608-246-8372 or

The "big tent" Church

Holy Wisdom Monastery Prayer & Worship, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

by Jim Smith, Dignity/USA program manager As the official institution of the Catholic church in Madison, WI continues down a Razinger-esque path of rigid uniformity and parochialism—the “small chapel” of church referred to negatively by Pope Francis—the Dignity community in Madison brings some fresh air to that beautiful city. From their inception, they have joined with the Episcopalian LGBT group Integrity to worship, serve and build relationships together. Taking very seriously Vatican II’s clarion call to build bridges between communities of different denomination and faith, Integrity/Dignity (I/D) of Madison didn’t waste time. Through these many years they have managed to sustain …

Celebrating the gift of ecumenical Benedictine community

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Oblates, Sunday Assembly, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

Today, February 17, 2012, marks the 6th anniversary of our official re-founding as an ecumenical Benedictine community for Benedictine Women of Madison. “A New World Order” is how the media sees it. “Welcoming women of all Christian traditions” is how we talk about it. “It is a gift to be welcomed into a community” is how a recent Volunteer in Community experiences it. The history that brings us to this day is rich and deep, as Sister Mary David Walgenbach recalls: The first steps were inspired by the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and the Community of Taize, France. …

Christmas Eve Homily

Lynne Smith, OSB Homilies, Monastic Life, Prayer & Worship, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” What we treasure and ponder in our hearts shapes our lives and creates our reality. These days many forces around us seek to tell us what to treasure in our hearts. The pre-Christmas advertizing has told us to ponder our needs and what we lack so that we will treasure the multiplicity of things they have to sell. Politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to want us to ponder our status, power and entitlements so we will treasure winning more than working together for a greater good. …

The Ecumenical Path

Steve Powell Benedictine Bridge, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

How does a person raised in a small Evangelical Protestant church become an oblate of a Benedictine monastery and a member of Sunday Assembly at Holy Wisdom Monastery? The journey is not as long as one might suppose, because these two seemingly-opposites of the Christian spectrum have a lot in common with each other. Both of them have a strong belief in ecumenism, a realization that all Christians should be able to worship together. I grew up in the Christian Church (a conservative relative of the Disciples of Christ denomination). When I was in high school, we learned that our …

Christian-Islamic Relations Initiated at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Larry Nesper Interfaith Relations, Prayer & Worship, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

Larry Nesper is a Sunday Assembly member and serves on the Sunday Assembly Council. Larry is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. * * * * * In the fall of 2010, Al Majkrzak gave a homily that included a call for people in Sunday Assembly to respond to the attacks on Muslim people, for proposing that a Muslim community center and mosque be established near the site of the attack on the World Trade Center.  Sunday Assembly Council took up the call and we contacted the president of the Islamic Center of …

Hospitality: All Are Welcome at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Benedictine Bridge, Hospitality, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

Hospitality is one of the core values that the sisters live at Holy Wisdom Monastery. One way they do this is by welcoming all to participate in the activities at the monastery. Among the many guests of the monastery, members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer (GLBTQ) communities in Madison and beyond find a place of spiritual comfort and refuge here. Sunday Assembly has a number of gay and lesbian members. Jim Green and Bill Diederich have been worshipping and attending retreats with the sisters since the early 1970s. Bill and Jim recently celebrated their 40th anniversary together …

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman's Sermon from February 13, 2011

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Homilies, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

The following homily was delivered by Mike Sweitzer-Beckman at Sunday Assembly on February 13, 2011.  The readings from the lectionary schedule that day were I Corinthians 2:6-10 and Matthew 5:21-37. Mike was raised a Roman Catholic at St. Bernard’s in Middleton, and earned his Master of Divinity degree in 2008 from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He now works with the sisters as their communications and IT coordinator. Last January 12, I had a chance to go down to the state capitol and watch my wife, Erica, get affirmed into the state bar association inside the chambers of …

Ed Beers' Homily from January 30, 2011

Holy Wisdom Monastery Homilies, Prayer & Worship, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

The following homily was delivered by Rev. Ed Beers at Sunday Assembly on January 30, 2011. The readings from the lectionary schedule that day were Micah 6:1-8, I Corinthians 1:18-31, and Matthew 5:1-12. A few years before becoming a Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, then a student at Columbia in New York City, was especially fond of his English professor, Mark VanDoren. In his autobiography Merton described how VanDoren entered the lecture hall, already deep in thought,and how he would open the class with a single question, as he stared pensively out the massive windows, wondering if the answer might mystically appear. …