Dear friends and supporters:
The end of the year is a time to reflect on the blessings from the past year, and to focus on what is to come next year. I am grateful for all the people who have come to visit us who are seeking balance and meaning through our mission of weaving prayer, hospitality, justice, and care for the earth into a shared way of life as an ecumenical Benedictine community. I hope you will consider supporting the Benedictine Life Foundation with a year-end gift.
This past August, we welcomed our first participants in Benedictine Sojourners, a new ministry to share Benedictine monastic life with single women for a minimum of six months. Nancy Melin (left) joined us from Champaign, Illinois and Linda Steg came to us from Omaha, Nebraska. It has been a delight to share prayer, lessons from the Rule of Benedict, and to see them both thrive in the work on the grounds and in the kitchen. Their presence has been meaningful and we look forward to continuing to build our relationships with them and four others who have already committed to participate in Benedictine Sojourners in 2013.
The Sojourners have participated in every aspect of our mission, beginning with prayer. Nancy and Linda participate with the sisters and other guests in daily prayer and centering prayer. Prayer is the center of our mission and everything we do revolves around it. Our prayer schedule is posted on our website, www.benedictinewomen.org, and we welcome the public to participate with us. We hope you will join us sometime.
Hospitality is vital to our monastery, from welcoming people and groups in our retreat and guest house, to serving meals and being there to provide spiritual direction for our guests. One person the sisters welcomed this past summer for ten days was Rebecca Meier-Rao, a doctoral candidate in theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She opted to stay here in the retreat and guest house because she’s interested in contemplation and mysticism, and the quiet at Holy Wisdom Monastery afforded her the opportunity to explore this more. She came
at the same time as the Volunteers in Community, so she was able to work on the grounds and connect with them, plus share meals with the sisters. In the evening, she worked on her dissertation. Rebecca’s relationship with the monastery is unique. She discovered us just recently, but found out that she spent time here as an infant when her parents were involved in a Lutheran missionary program that the sisters hosted in the 1970s. We love having the connection of hospitality through the generations.
We are involved in the community to promote works of justice. Our Sunday Assembly community invites everyone to participate in a special collection each month to benefit the Vera Court Neighborhood Center, which provides services to families living on Madison’s north side. We welcome our brothers and sisters from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities to participate in our ministries.
Care for the earth is a 1,500 year old tradition in Benedictine spirituality. We have restored nearly 100 acres from agricultural land to natural prairie. This greatly reduces the run-off of pollutants such as phosphorous into the Lake Mendota watershed. Our guests are welcome to walk on our trails, view a sunset from one of our memorial benches, or volunteer on the grounds.
We welcome many people walking their own unique path in life everyday. Every visitor is a gift to us.
Our ministries are possible because of your support. You breathe new life into our mission and allow us to welcome people of all backgrounds, creeds and economic levels. I hope you will consider making a gift to the Benedictine Life Foundation at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Your gift supports the vibrancy of Holy Wisdom Monastery and our monastic community now and for the future. Gifts can be made by returning a check or credit card number in the enclosed envelope to Benedictine Life Foundation, 4200 County Road M, Middleton WI 53562-2317. Gifts can also be made online at www.benedictinewomen.org.
I wish you a happy and peaceful end to this year. I hope you will consider visiting Holy Wisdom Monastery soon for worship, daily prayer, a personal retreat, or some quiet study time in our library! You are always welcome.
With peace and blessings,
Mary David Walgenbach, OSB
PS: Don’t forget to have your donation to the Benedictine Life Foundation postmarked by December 31! We will send you a receipt so you can claim the donation as a deduction on your tax return. You can also give online at www.benedictinewomen.org.