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How Did You Become a Sister?, Ft. Sister Denise West

Brooke Moriarty Community of Benedict, Monastic Life, Myth busting, Podcast, Rule of Benedict, Women Exploring Community 6 Comments

Want to be the first to hear every new episode? Click here to sign up for email notifications! How do you imagine one becomes a monk? Is it something you plan or something you discover? Do you have to be religious your whole life before joining a monastery? Truth be told, there is no one answer. Our own sister’s community at Holy Wisdom Monastery have an array of unique stories that led them to their lives here in Middleton. In this episode, we sit with Sister Denise West and listen to her journey from a non-secular home in Tennessee to …

Integrating Prayer into Community Life

Lynne Smith, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Monastic Life, Prayer & Worship, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

Prayer is an integral element of the Benedictine Sojourner experience as they participate in our life and ministry. Our Sojourners, Linda and Nancy, are faithful to the Liturgy of Hours three times a day and to morning and evening centering prayer. Since centering prayer is new to them, some of our faith formation classes have focused on centering prayer. In addition, they are taking part in a class on centering prayer offered by oblate Beth O’Brien. Lectio divina, a prayerful practice of reading and meditating on scripture, is an important prayer practice in the Benedictine tradition. We sisters spend time each morning in lectio, …

The Benedictine way of discernment

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

Discernment is a process of making a decision or finding direction in one’s life. At its very heart, discernment is a conversation – with God, with friends, with spiritual mentors and guides – a conversation which leads to more clarity about God’s call for you. Discernment brings into focus one’s deepest life questions: What is the purpose of my life? With whom do I want to live and how will I express my love? How can I use my gifts and talents and whom do I want to serve? Benedict’s emphasis in discernment is on listening with both the head …

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. …

Gain or loss?

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

“Didn’t you have to give up a lot to become a sister?”  This question, which was posed to me recently, seems to be a common perception of religious life. The question might come from the image of monks “leaving the world” to live in the desert or from the image of religious life as made up of strict ascetical practices. However, something in me resists thinking about religious life in terms of giving something up. To be sure, one does give up some things to enter a community and there is asceticism involved in religious life. The practice of asceticism …

What Shall I Do With My Life?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life, Spiritual Guidance, Women Exploring Community Leave a Comment

Many people come to the monastery with that question on their hearts. Whether they are about to graduate from school, make a career change, are pondering a significant relationship or a possible call to religious community, the question is the same. “How do I decide what to do?” Intuitively, they sense that coming to the monastery can help them discern their life choice. Their intuition is correct. Monasteries have a long tradition of helping people discern how God is active in their lives. Discernment is becoming a more common word these days though what it involves still remains a mystery …

Radical Gospel Living

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

Sr. Mary David and I are excited about attending the Radical Gospel Living: Monasticism Today conference at Ohio Wesleyan University over the weekend! Joan Chittister and Shane Claiborne are keynote speakers. We are presenting a workshop entitled “Building Community Outside the Box.” We will be there with other “radical” folks living the Gospel in traditional and new monastic communities. Over 200 people are attending. What fun! I’ll post on Facebook from the conference. We’ll share more about the conference in the next Benedictine Bridge.

Lynne Smith, OSB featured on A Nun’s Life podcast!

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

Last week I traveled to Chicago to speak to the Episcopal Service Corps about our ecumenical monastic community.  On Thursday evening, September 29, 2011, I was invited by Sisters Julie Vieira, IHM (left) and Maxine Kollasch, IHM of  anunslife.org to participate in their weekly podcast, Ask Sister.  It was a wonderful opportunity to see Julie and Maxine in action, as well as to share with their listeners about my own call to become a Presbyterian (USA) minister and a sister with the Benedictine Women of Madison.  We chatted about my initial discernment process to become ordained, the amazing opportunity to …

What is your image of a monastery?

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

In honor of women who are gathering at Holy Wisdom Monastery next week for an Ever Wonder? retreat (or those who may still be thinking of testing the waters of this community), I would like to share this personal reflection written by Mary Lynn Adams, associate member of our community: What is your image of a monastery?  An ancient building, with thick, stone walls?  Monks covered in rough dark cowls, noiselessly passing along the edges of corridors?  Solemn prayers?  Stark living conditions?  Being cut off from family, friends and community? Well, take that image, and set it to one side. …

Listening with the Heart

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Spiritual Guidance, Spirituality Articles, Women Exploring Community 8 Comments

What are you doing after you graduate? I disliked that question when I was in college. I didn’t know for certain what I was going to do after graduation. There were so many choices and so many things I was good at and wanted to do. It was hard to settle on something. I wasn’t sure how to decide or who could help me sort out what to do. Two things I did know. I wanted my life to make a difference in the world, and I wanted to please God. Through the years, I have learned that this kind …