These words were spoken in greeting to me as I arrived in the Oratory for Morning Prayer my first day back at Holy Wisdom as a Benedictine Sojourner. I had visited the monastery twice in the spring, and have been anticipating my transition to life in community as a Sojourner since April. Now I am finally here—at least, my body is finally here. I think my spirit has been here in since last spring. So it was wonderful to be welcomed into the daily rhythm of the community with these words.
There is the beauty of the prairie and the serenity of the monastery atmosphere, but I think what I have been most impressed with since my arrival is rhythm—the rhythm of prayer and work. Learning the daily rhythm of the community and my place within it has been challenging yet rewarding. There is a welcome and a patience amongst the busyness of our days as I get to know the other Sojourners, the sisters, staff, and volunteers at Holy Wisdom. The challenge is being open to whatever task is next needed done—apples to pick, applesauce to make, tomatoes to pick, beans to process, dishes to wash, pictures to tag, articles to write—and so the schedule can be somewhat fluid depending on what day it is, the weather, or who is available.
The reward is that we work well together, accomplish our task (usually with much laughter!), and still make it in good time to prayer. For prayer is at the heart of the community and is the center around which our day turns. No matter where we are or what task remains to be done, we stop, prepare ourselves, and enter into Morning, Midday, or Evening Prayer. The times of prayer anchor me and refresh me for whatever is next. The age-old Benedictine rhythm of balancing work and prayer is what I need and so it is what draws me to this time of sojourning at Holy Wisdom. I am learning the rhythm of prayer and work for this community as well as learning the rhythm of being my true self in this new place among new people.
Pictured above: Sisters Joanne Kollasch and Lynne Smith, welcoming Brenda to the Exploring Benedictine Community Retreat in April 2013.
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