Confessions of a racist nun* #3 spiritual tools

Denise West, OSB Living in Community, Racist nun 2 Comments

In my first blog post in this series, I diagnosed myself with the disease of racism. Some of my symptoms of this disease are denial of and defensiveness around racism as well as obliviousness to painful experiences of Black folks and other people of color. Simply put, most times we can’t handle listening to reality, so we don’t. We make the topic off-limits and go on enjoying the fruits of hundreds of years of systemic racism that has led us to a life of racial comfort. The problem is, despite our good intentions and stated values of justice for all, …

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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 …

Welcome and Humane Treatment of Arriving Migrants

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Justice Leave a Comment

“As monastics, we strive to listen to the longings of the world ‘with the ear of our heart.’” Sometimes this means letting ourselves be torn open to recognize our own complicity in the pain and alienation of others because of personal choices we have made to benefit from systems of exclusion. If we let ourselves be opened, we will recognize the power we have to overcome the fear that separates us from one another. Then we can believe the vision set out by Jesus, who made room for everyone at the table.” –Wisdom From the Tradition: A Statement of North …

65 years of welcoming the stranger

Lynne Smith, OSB 65th Anniversary, Benedictine Bridge Leave a Comment

Tonight we gather to celebrate 65 years of Benedictine life and ministry in the Madison area. I want to add my thanks to all of you who have come and all the volunteers and coworkers who have made this evening possible. Indeed all of you make this Benedictine life and witness possible here. Though it may appear that we are celebrating the past, I suggest that this is actually a celebration and welcoming of the future. Benedictine scripture scholar, Demetrius Dumm, OSB, now deceased, said: “In scripture, the entertaining of guests and the entertaining of strangers is the entertaining of …

Guests bring a blessing

Lynne Smith, OSB Hospitality, Living in Community Leave a Comment

  The sisters at Holy Wisdom have received a lot of guests recently. We greet the groups who come to use our space for their meetings and retreats. We get to know personal retreatants over meals in the community dining room. When I first came to the monastery, as an introvert, I found it taxing to have new people with us at every meal. Now I look forward to meeting them. Saint Benedict says that a monastery is never without guests. Indeed, we wouldn’t really be a Benedictine monastery without guests. We are called to provide hospitality and serve others. …

Two icons depicting the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah: Abraham & Sarah carrying food and drink and three guests seated at table

Welcoming the future

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community, Spirituality Articles 3 Comments

In preparing some thoughts on hospitality to share with our Benedictine Women of Madison Board, I came across an article Sister Joanne Kollasch wrote in 1984 for a meeting of the American Benedictine Academy. She includes a quote from a conference by the late Demetrius Dumm, OSB, a monk and Scripture scholar from St. Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA. It sent my thinking about hospitality in a new direction. Here is what Demetrius Dumm said: In Scripture, the entertaining of guests and the entertaining of strangers is the entertaining of mystery; this is to make room for that which is not …

Hospitality: All Are Welcome at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Mike Sweitzer-Beckman Benedictine Bridge, Hospitality, Sunday Assembly Leave a Comment

Hospitality is one of the core values that the sisters live at Holy Wisdom Monastery. One way they do this is by welcoming all to participate in the activities at the monastery. Among the many guests of the monastery, members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and queer (GLBTQ) communities in Madison and beyond find a place of spiritual comfort and refuge here. Sunday Assembly has a number of gay and lesbian members. Jim Green and Bill Diederich have been worshipping and attending retreats with the sisters since the early 1970s. Bill and Jim recently celebrated their 40th anniversary together …

Sister Asella Returns to Korea

Mary David Walgenbach, OSB Benedictine Bridge, Hospitality, Monastic Life Leave a Comment

In June 2009, Sister Asella Kim, a Missionary Benedictine from Seoul, Korea, came to live with the sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery. She was here on a year’s sabbatical after serving a Korean and American parish in New Jersey for six years. Asella has known us since 1994 when she spent four years here learning English and continuing her education. Because Sister Asella is a kindred spirit we count her as part of our community. She especially enjoyed walking in the prairie and working in the garden. She even requested a three-month extension of her sabbatical so she could help bring in the produce …