Dear Mr. President - a letter from religious leaders

Leadership for these times

Lynne Smith, OSBBuilding Community, Living in Community Leave a Comment

What kind of leadership is called for in these times? Several recent experiences come together to shape an answer to this question: The uneasy transition to new national leadership in our country A book shared by Maureen Van Dinter, a member of our Benedictine Women of Madison Board of Directors at a recent board meeting, titled The Servant Leader, by Blanchard and Hodges The recent publication of a Joint Letter to President Trump from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) The recent Statement by Major Christian Organizations on President-Elect Trump’s …

Perspective from monastery hilltop overlooking prairie, Lake Mendota and Madison in the distance.

Gaining perspective in contentious times

Lynne Smith, OSBBuilding Community, Living in Community 6 Comments

I was talking with a leader of a class being held at the monastery last week. While he was on break, he spoke about the reasons he likes coming to the monastery. He said coming to the monastery helps him gain perspective on his work. The view from the top of the hill of the capital and downtown Madison represents this change of perspective. He teaches at the university and finds it helpful to come across the lake periodically to step back and look at his life and work from another viewpoint. The sisters have been reading Joan Chittister’s commentary …

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

Why care for the earth?

Lynne Smith, OSBBuilding 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 …

Midday Prayer in Community

Lynne Smith, OSBLiving in Community Leave a Comment

The Liturgy of the Hours is a practice that forms the rhythm of our daily life as Benedictine sisters. As a community we gather for Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer. All are welcome to join us during any of these times of prayer. Midday prayer always includes a non-scripture reading for meditation as well as a reading from the Gospels. We have most recently been reading selections from The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living, excerpts from the works of Father Thomas Keating, compiled by S. Stephanie Iachetta. The readings are usually short, but full of substance for contemplation. In July …

Emerging Gifts and Nesting Dolls

Claudia PorterBenedictine Bridge, Oblates Leave a Comment

“Gift”–for me the word continues to bring visions of gaily wrapped packages in colorful paper with great big bows. “Emerging gifts,” on the other hand, present an image of those boldly painted European folk-art nesting dolls. These, unlike wrapped gifts, are not torn into with excitement and anticipation; rather they are slowly and carefully unpacked and savored. There is a certain fascination, even mystery, as each doll is discovered hidden inside another. In a very similar way, Oblate candidates unpack the emerging gifts of Benedictine spirituality during their year of formation. We meet regularly, often with the community of already committed Benedictine Oblates at Holy Wisdom …