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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 …

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‘Becoming Ecumenical: Bringing Christians Together,’ The Holy Wisdom Podcast

Brooke Moriarty Community of Benedict, Living in Community, Monastic Life, Podcast 1 Comment

Ecumenism is defined as “the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches.” Led by this strive for unity, Holy Wisdom Monastery has long been welcoming people of a variety of denominations and religions. Therefore, it made sense to sit down for a deeper look with the women who have led us here. Thus, this first episode of The Holy Wisdom Podcast features Sister Mary David Walgenbach and Sister Joanne Kollasch. They begin by sharing their early memories of meeting people from other denominations. Then, they regale some of the early stories that led to the monastery …

Looking Back: ‘Ecumenical Monastic Life Offers Journey into a New Culture’ (2003) by Erica Thiessen

Brooke Moriarty Benedictine Bridge, Community of Benedict, Interfaith Relations, Living in Community, Looking Back, Monastic Life, Rule of Benedict 1 Comment

In 2003, Erica Thiessen was a novice of Benedictine Women of Madison. In Issue 12 of Benedictine Bridge from Ordinary Time 2003, she wrote this article reflecting on the value of Benedictine life in relation to her own experiences as a Mennonite. I have been journeying into different lands from almost before I was born. My parents were both Russian Mennonite immigrants to Canada. As a family, we traveled to Ghana and Trinidad where my father taught school. In ways, I became a pilgrim, and for much of my adult life, I have lived and worked around the world. Always …

Knowing who we are journeying with

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community 2 Comments

Last Friday, the Servant Leadership class from UW Extension held its monthly class at the monastery. Toby Grabs, our operations manager, gave the class a tour and introduction to the monastery. I met with them to talk about how we exercise leadership in the monastery. I lifted up three principles that have guided us and served to move us into the future: listening to others collaboration and community. Because we have always been a small community and because we value collaboration and community building, we have consulted with and involved others in our ministry and decision-making through the years. In …

The gift of encuentro

Denise West, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

Last November, Sister Lynne Smith, Sister Paz Vital and I headed up to Milwaukee for a conference on the future of religious communities in the United States. The theme of the conference was Encuentro, and the focus was around the great diversity of cultures in this country and the changing face of religious communities as greater numbers of women and men born outside the US join American religious orders. The keynote speaker was Sister Teresa Maya, president-elect of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious. A native of Mexico City, she is a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate …

What do surfing and Benedictine spirituality have in common?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community Leave a Comment

In a recent class with Sister Paz Vital and Novice Denise West, we discussed the Benedictine promise of stability. Sometimes stability is thought of as staying in the same place with the same people for the rest of your life. Stability has that aspect to it, but there is more. Michael Casey, Cistercian monk from Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia, uses the image of a surf boarder to describe the dynamic character of Benedictine stability. A surfer needs both a strong center and an ability to adjust her weight and position of her feet on the board in order to maintain …