Here I am peering into the hive of an estimated 50,000 bees. As if this is just a normal part of a Benedictine Sojourner’s day. It’s not, but Sister Lynne, two other Sojourners and I are interested in seeing and understanding more of what goes on with bees.
Beekeeper Peter Normandt is thrilled to share with us his labor of love – he so enjoys looking after the movable comb hive. We learn a lot about the wonderful symbiotic relationship between the bees and their environment. Under normal conditions, the prairie’s wide variety of plant life offers the bees an ample supply of nectar for their hive to thrive. The prairie as well as the monastery garden benefit greatly from the bees’ pollination. The combs provide Peter with beeswax to make soap, and monastery diners get a taste of local honey.
The hive is a fascinating hub of communal living. We learn that each and every bee is valuable, has a purpose and makes a contribution to the common good.
I am five months into my Sojourner experience and today I am beginning anew. The hive is changing – two new Sojourners arrived, then a third, and two others are expected soon. As I peer down into the beehive and all the bees crawling in and out of the combs, over and under and bumping into each other, I can’t help but imagine our growing household. No doubt the Spirit is doing something wonderful at Holy Wisdom Monastery! And with equal assuredness, this is an interesting time as we seek together to build a healthy hive.
The sisters have opened their hearts and doors. A number of people contribute their particularity to the ethos and workings of this evolving ecumenical monastic community. These include the monastery coworkers, the Sojourners and the oblate and Sunday Assembly communities. Friends lead regular prayer and discussion groups here. Others connect us to peace and justice initiatives in the city and beyond. We collaborate with other religious communities nearby and missionary Benedictines in other countries. We are like bees creating a distinctive hum.
You can count on us stumbling under and over and pushing up against each other’s personalities and ways of working and being. But we intend to thrive, united and focused both inward and outward. We trust in the watchful eye and companioning presence of our Divine beekeeper and the nectar of Benedictine values we feed on. I hope you are tasting or will enjoy the fruits of our labor. This is my prayer.
I give myself to your keeping, O God.
Hold each of us. Hold us together. For your good.
Follow this link to read earlier entries in Trish’s blog series, Living in Community, A Benedictine Sojourner’s View.