New Monastery Education

Neal Smith Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, LEED Certified Building Leave a Comment

The new monastery building is completed and everyone is moved in! Benedictines are believers in “life-long learning.” So, what will the new monastery be used for from an educational perspective?

There are many facets to be explored and many new ideas as we work to fully utilize the new building.

First of all, a committee of co-workers and volunteers developed an education plan focusing on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements. Included were the following:

  • Guided tours will be conducted on an ongoing basis to educate our co-workers, retreatants, oblates, Sunday Assembly members, other guests and the general public about the sustainable and earth-friendly features of the new Holy Wisdom Monastery building and the benefits of sustainable building and operating practices.
  • A comprehensive display and signage program is built into the building’s spaces to educate visitors of the benefits of building and maintaining green buildings.

During 2009, we conducted presentations on the new building’s features and tours of the building for over 1,200 persons. These guests came from all over the United States and other countries, including government officials from Shanghai, China.

The sisters are committed to a greater emphasis on eco-spirituality. A new educational committee staffed by Jerrianne Bland will help meet this goal. In addition to her work with group retreats, Jerrianne is the full time director of Benedictine programs with a new evolving emphasis on eco-spirituality.

The Retreat & Guest House will be remodeled during the first half of 2010. The old oratory and meditation chapel will be converted into an education area with a capacity of 50. Much of the artwork and educational materials in this area will be related to the environment. The old library space and fireplace lounge will be opened up as an education area with a capacity of about 100. It will be an ideal space for Oblate meetings as well as eco-spirituality programs.

As someone once said, “A new day is dawning!” Many new opportunities for education in spirituality, care for the earth, monasticism and more will be offered throughout the year ahead an beyond.

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