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“Restoration and Care for the Earth,” The Holy Wisdom Podcast

Brooke Moriarty Care for the Earth, Podcast Leave a Comment

Want to be the first to hear every new episode? Click here to sign up for email notifications! What does it truly mean to “care for the earth“?  In this episode, take a deeper look at what “care for the earth” means from two leaders of our natural restoration efforts – retired Land Manager, Greg Armstrong and his successor, Amy Alstad, PhD. Both our guests share their knowledge of the restoration work that the sisters have done over the years.  You’ll also hear about Friends of Wisdom Prairie, one of our volunteer communities, and their amazing contributions to the land at …

Spirituality on the prairie

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Living in Community Leave a Comment

“When we enter the landscape to learn something, we are obligated, I think, to pay attention rather than constantly to pose questions. To approach the land as we would a person, by opening an intelligent conversation. And to stay in one place, to make of that one, long observation a fully dilated experience. We will always be rewarded if we give the land credit for more than we imagine, and if we imagine it as being more complex even than language. In these ways we begin, I think, to find a home, to sense how to fit a place.” – …

Prayer and work

Lynne Smith, OSB Care for the Earth, Living in Community 2 Comments

It was 73 degrees in Middleton on Monday, April 8, 2019. Since Monday is a day of leisure for the sisters, I spent a large part of the day outside. I raked up the sticks dropped by the oaks during the winter in the front yard at Bingen House and listened to the birds. This will be the last week of free meals for the birds. The squirrels have learned how to climb down onto the feeder from the roof of the house, hang from the upper perches by their back feet and eat their fill from the lower seed …

Rodent wrangling and ambiguity

Kate Stel Care for the Earth, Living in Community Leave a Comment

This week, on Tuesday morning, a group of us headed over to the garden. We hoped to beat the day’s heat and get some weeding and other work done before it became unbearably hot and humid. Sister Paz Vital and I were working in a fenced-in garden plot that contained rows of okra, cabbage, radishes, kale and a huge grouping of tomato plants. Suddenly, I heard a rustling in the corner of the garden near where we were working. The many, many weeds in that corner shook. A rabbit emerged, bounding through the garden. “BUNNY!” I yelled to Sister Paz. …

Sister Lynne, hoe in hand, working in garden, caring for the earth

Why care for the earth?

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community 1 Comment

Why care for the earth? Monday morning, while I am working in the garden, a turkey hen appears from behind the compost pile, shepherding two very young chicks across the grass toward the garden. The hen stops and turns back when she sees me, but the chicks continue ahead and take cover under the rhubarb plants. As I walk away trying not to scare them, the mother clucks softly to her chicks and they come running out of the grass and into the woods with her. Tuesday morning I see them again from my office window as they enter the …

The Prairie Never Hibernates

Greg Armstrong Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Natural Resources, Nature Notes 1 Comment

The cold and snow of winter dramatically changethe landscape at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Snowy days have a soft beauty about them as nearly everything gets covered with snow, and the plants and landforms become smooth and round. The softness even muffles sounds. When the sun comes out, these subtle forms glisten in the light. How different from the warm, sometimes steamy scenes of summer. Although cold, it is a very beautiful time to visit the prairies, woodlands, and wetlands of Holy Wisdom Monastery. Come and enjoy the beauty and calm of winter by participating in a personal retreat or walking on the nature trails. The …

Care for the Earth: A Longstanding Monastery Tradition

Neal Smith Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Volunteers Leave a Comment

Care of the earth is nothing new at Holy Wisdom Monastery. As the story goes, three sisters went into the countryside outside of Madison in the early 1950s looking for a site suitable for a new Benedictine monastery. They had come from Sioux City, Iowa at the invitation of the first Bishop of the Madison diocese. What they found was a hilltop in the country with an unparalleled vista of the Madison skyline. After saying a few prayers and burying medals of St. Benedict, they set out to acquire the land. Once they tracked down the current owner, they negotiated for the 42.5 acres …

Solar Heat Gain

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

It wasn’t until early in the 17th century, when Galileo stated that the earth revolves around the sun, that humans began to understand the power of the sun. Now, centuries later, not only do we realize we have the ability to harness the sun’s energy, we also know we must harness it in such a way that does not further damage the universe. As the design of the new monastery building evolved, a great deal of attention was paid to the sun and its effect on heating, cooling, lighting and shading the building. Solar heat gain refers to the increase in temperature in a space, object …

Saving Water and Caring for the Environment

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

Do you ever think about how much potable water, water that is fit for you to drink, is pumped into your home, how much you actually drink and how much your home environment drinks? Each year in the U.S. alone our buildings use 12.2% of all potable water. That’s 15 trillion gallons each year! As we designed the new monastery building, we looked at a smarter use of water both inside and out. We wanted to reduce our water usage through more efficient appliances, fixtures and fittings and water-wise landscaping. Irrigation (watering something artificially) is one of the main culprits of wasteful water practices. Potable water …

What is “LEED® Certification” All About?

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

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ (LEED certification) is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.  LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their building’s performance.  LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance and awarding points in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Sustainable site development accounts for 14 points that may be earned in the areas of …