International Women’s Day

Joanne Kollasch, OSBUncategorized Leave a Comment

The Sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery, Madison, Wisconsin welcome and celebrate International Women’s Day. We are a small community of Benedictine women who enjoy and benefit from an international world view. 

Our community is a member of the world-wide Benedictine order begun in the sixth century. Our interests and work focus not only locally but on sisters’ communities and work in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. Travel to these countries prompts a desire and understanding for collaboration.  

After a visit with sisters in Korea, Korean sisters came to our monastery to learn English. They attended classes at WESLI – Wisconsin English as a Second Language Institute. Some continued to earn advanced degrees.  

Over a five-year period, 20 Korean sisters lived at our monastery. We learned about their culture, especially their cuisine. We learned to eat food we had never tasted before. Rice was served at all meals, however. I marveled at the bond of community among these women while they maintained a deep respect for each one’s individuality. 

Sisters from South America also came to study English while living with us. 

Most fascinating was our relationship with sisters from Africa. This relationship deepened with the African sisters after our community helped raised money here in the U.S. to build a school in Nairobi. One of the sisters came to Madison to live with us. Her assignment was to study for a master’s degree and become principal of this school. Many evenings were spent helping her with her papers. The language barrier was horrific: from Kikuyu to Swahili to English. She did indeed receive a master’s degree from Edgewood College. 

Continuing this relationship, one of our sisters spent a month’s sabbatical in Nairobi. She became friends with a sister, a gynecologist, who served many years in Africa. She remarked that she had delivered “a village of babies” while there.  She is a close friend of our community. 

Sister Everline Jeruto, who was originally from the Nairobi community, became interested in the ecumenical work of our community in Madison. She is now a member with us and completing a degree in theology. 

There are many stories waiting to be told. They are the desires, hopes and experiences of the women who come to Holy Wisdom Monastery. The sisters invite, welcome and support these women. 

We offer opportunities throughout the year for women who are interested in coming to the monastery and learning more about our religious community. Come, we are good listeners. We will celebrate your life with you. 

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