HOLY WISDOM MONASTERY
26 SEPTEMBER 2021
Hills and mountains have a special place in Scripture. Moses received the law on Mt Sinai. Jesus taught on a hill in the gospel. The transfiguration occurred on a mountain. Mountains and hills, luminal spaces, are crossroads of creation and creator. Sacred places, tangible meeting places of humanity and divinity.
Each time I have come to Holy Wisdom Monastery and turn onto Highway M, I first see flat lands. Eventually I see trees rising on hills and then on a hill a bold building towers to the sky. I have my first glimpses of the monastery. I turn onto the road up to the monastery, I see the monastery surrounded by creation: prairies, flowers, lake, trees. This hill is a sacred place, a sacred place where creation and Creator intertwine.
Many years ago, two women had a vision. They saw into the future but like the blind man Jesus healed at Bethsaida, at first it was not clear. Yet with trust they began birthing the vision, letting it become clearer: a place not limited by human divisions, but a place for communal wholeness, a place of God’s world as it was in the beginning. GOD SAW ALL THAT GOD HAD MADE AND IT WAS VERY GOOD. A place of God’s hope for God’s creation.
On the mount, Jesus began his teaching with a vision of a world turned upside down. The poor are blessed rather than the rich; the meek rather than the powerful. People who want justice, peace and solace. A world of compassionate convictions, intensity and desire. The hope for humanity that was his life mission: healing, liberation and wholeness.
At the Rule, Benedict gave his clear vision of a place he called a monastery. A place where a diversity of people live together, a place where people grow beyond the little foundation he had laid out in the previous 71 chapters of the Rule. A place where people live with the good zeal that turns the world upside down because they live with a radical passion of reverence, patience, bearing each other’s weaknesses. A place where people do not try to change others to fit their own criteria but rather have respect for the others’ uniqueness and mystery. A place where salvation is not individual but rather where God brings all of them together to eternal life.
Two women began this journey with the support of many. The journey was difficult at times. Like the disciples, were they disowning their religion? Were they against economic development just to save some prairie lands?
In Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Silas were in Thessaloniki. They along with Jason and others were accused with these words: THESE MEN WHO HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN HAVE NOW COME HERE TOO. These two women were accused of the same. Yet they kept on the journey to the vision marked with the same badge of honor as had Jesus, Paul, Silas, Jason and so many others: Turning the world upside down.
The two were joined by one more and then one more. Today, a fifth woman joins this journey to keep alive the vision and this hope for creation by sustaining the monastic gift of stability. It is a place that Jesus says as he did on the mount: YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A CITY…A MONASTERY…ON A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN.
Sacra Sapientia, Hagia Sophia, Holy Wisdom, the feminine of God.
A time today to bless the two women with the vision who birthed this place with the collaboration of many mid-wives. Joanne and Mary David.
A time today to bless the three women who have come to carry into the future this hill, this place: Lynne, Denise, and Everline.
A time also to bless all who have been in the past and all who are now part of keeping alive this sacred hill called Holy Wisdom Monastery.
A time today to stand looking from this little hill across the prairies and to breathe in this meeting place of mystery and beauty of Creator and creation intertwined. It is when we do this that we can leave this little hill wanting justice, peace and solace for creation; we can leave this little hill filled with compassionate conviction that, yes, the upside-down world of God’s vision, God’s hope is possible.
HOLY WISDOM MONASTERY. A SACRED HILL WHERE A SMALL MONASTERY OF WOMEN AND HUNDREDS OF MID-WIVES ARE TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN.