Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Care For Our Common Home

In the garden
sisters like multi-colored butterflies
roam from row to row
good gardeners
weeding, snipping, harvesting
the fruits of the earth
In the bakery
artisans prepare mysterious yeast
knead the dough
keep silence at the rising
reverence the baking
glory in the aroma
rejoice in the breaking and eating
In the Oratory
one by one they
walk, limp, dance, trudge
into familiar places,
as faithful as the sun and moon
chant words of tenderness and heartbreak
old and new dreams

In the Chapel
sisters greet guests
men, women, children
young and old echo 152 years
of yearning for God in song and silence,
lay their prayers upon the altar,
leave with this message,
Be at peace!
Kathryn Casper, OSB

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Do You Dream?

Sometime ago, I had a dream in which I was one of a huge multitude of people.  All of us had just been in a serious accident . . .but the surprising thing was that no one was afraid; rather, we were all smiling, talking animatedly, and helping one another . . .whether cleaning another’s wounds, giving water or meds to another or walking together along a very long path.  No one seemed to need rest . . . but rather instinctively knew that, as we walked or limped, we were to leave no one behind!  Apparently , all of us knew where we were going, i.e., to our Father’s House where we would surely see friends, members of our families, even those who made us suffer while on earth . . . Then I awakened!

Upon thinking of my dream, I realized it was expressing, for me, some thoughts on planting, watering and harvesting (of all unusual themes!)  Quite literally, WE are the “crop”, the fruit of another’s labors in the family, the church, our society!  I thought of the JOY on the faces of all in my dream; no one was sad!  Were they so joyful because they were helping another?  Welcoming another on the road?  Allowing another to serve? Making sure no one would be left behind? Even more surprising to me was that everyone walked, fully confident that they were going HOME to the welcoming embrace of their Father and other family members.

I know that this dream expresses what I deeply desire—that we stand in awe of a God who depends upon us to bind up one another’s wounds or remind another of our undeserved privilege in being part of God’s family.  It also expresses some of what I feel led to do: be a bridge of understanding and forgiveness, especially among the marginalized members of our society! How many more years will be given me?  I don’t know.  My friend, Fr. Rick Thomas gives an answer: “God speaks through circumstances.  When God makes something possible, God wants you to do it; and when God makes it impossible, God wants you to quit.”

Have we reflected sufficiently on the circumstances of this day? What will I/you do so as to leave no one behind?  With the Psalmist we can be sure that “goodness and kindness will follow us all the days of our lives. . .”


Renee Domeier, O.S.B

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Show Me Change

Relationships, experiences, and mirroring change you much more than ideas. You cannot really do something until you have seen someone else do it. You do not know what patience is until you have met one truly patient person. You do not know what love is until you have observed how a loving person loves. We hold great power for one another--for good and for ill.  (Richard Rohr, “Daily Meditation”, May 24, 2016).

 True elders and spiritual teachers mirror their values and wisdom.  On their life journey they have witnessed and experienced transformational values. Having invited incarnational relationships to transform their own hearts and visons, they become ready to articulate and mirror their journey-into-change to those around them. 

We are much like a coin with two sides.  On the one side of the coin, life experiences reveal to us the limitations of our own wisdom, power and tiny self.  And on the other side, prayer moves us into recognizing that there is nothing that can separate us from a God who will always love us unconditionally, no matter how we look from the outside, and will always blow on the embers of our gifts so that we can become a light to others.  Light begets light.  Becoming change begets change.

Sister Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Gift of Gifts

Together we moved to the small table, she picked up the little vessel of water and carefully let a few drops fall into the chalice and pitcher of wine. She looked at me and smiled. Putting down the water, she then picked up the plate of bread. I took this as my cue to pick up the chalice and pitcher of wine and follow her lead.

Her gentle manner in these movements caught me by surprise. Yet, not really, because she lives a gentle and prayerful life dedicated to her Benedictine commitment. What we were about to do, present the gifts to the priest at the altar, is an act of commitment to our faith. What is about to happen as the
priest prays over the bread and wine with the worshiping community gathered for Eucharist is the reason we are there. Side by side we walked up the steps to the altar. The priest received her gift of bread and then my gift of wine.

The smile I was witness to between her and the priest was priceless. I say this because her love of Jesus was evident. She knew that she was part of something greater than a simple exchange of bread on a plate. After the Eucharistic celebration, I expressed my thanks to her in helping me bring the gifts to the altar. Her response was what I should have been expecting, “Thank you for asking me.” I grew in greater appreciation of the importance in being the gift bearer at the Eucharist. Because she was so present to the ministry, I will be more present to the ministry next time I am invited to present the gifts of bread and wine. We celebrate the Eucharist daily at Saint Benedict’s Monastery and have the opportunity to serve one another in this way.

Lisa Rose, OSB

Sister Lisa Rose is Vocations Director at Saint Benedict's Monastery. If you would like more information about our Benedictine community, please contact her at lrose@csbsju.edu.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Laudato Si

Daylilies lift their heads
like golden trumpets
resounding in exuberant joy
Finches, wrens, sparrows
whistling, trilling, warbling
toss their ecstasy into the universe
Rabbit peeking from under
the glorious dogwood bush
offers shy worship
Squirrels digging in wood-chipped earth
startled by some mysterious impulse
stand, alert and ready
Elm trees laden with seeds
bow, bend, wave 
In wondrous rhythm

Stately firs
in elegant symmetry 
announce a paean of praise
Sister Philip rolls her lumbering cart
across the grounds
tools clang, clack, thrum
Modesta’s vacuum hums,
Jane’s mop swishes in time
with Dolores at the organ
In the tranquil cemetery
holy witnesses in silent concert bespeak
enduring faithfulness and ardent love
          LAUDATO  SI!
Kathryn Casper, OSB

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dealing with the Unexpected

A lot of things have happened unexpectedly in my life recently. Take this blog, I wasn't expecting to write one for today, but here I am! And this is just one of the multitude of unscheduled things that have happened at work in less than two days this week. Sadly, it's carry-over from how things were at the end of last week. So far, I don't think I've completed one of the things that I had written on my "to do" list! I must say, I was starting to feel stressed and frustrated. I've kept thinking, "When can I get the work done?"

Well, the fact is that it's all been work, just not the work I thought it would be! And that's stressful.
So, the question arose for me about how could I get through everything and de-stress? I think two things have helped. The Benedictine motto "Ora et labora" ("Work and prayer") came to my aid. Instead of focusing on how stressed and, I will admit, at times irritated, I've been feeling, I decided to see the unexpected challenges as an opportunity put everything I was doing and feeling into God's hands. I've tried to see it all in a bigger perspective and not get caught up in my little "now." In other words, I've tried to make my stress and frustration part of my prayer life.

The second coping strategy came out of the first. When I realized with some horror that we have no blog for this week and our regular blog poster is away, I was not excited about the fact that I'd have to fill in (no offence intended to blog readers!) One more thing to do. When I looked at the task prayerfully,  however, I could see that here was an opportunity, in fact, to de-stress. Here I am writing about my stress to you and, by sharing it reflectively, I can feel myself calming down. My heart rate is slowing and I'm becoming more prepared with very word to move on calmly to the next task; I'm even looking forward to it.

I'd like to end by saying, "Thank you for listening."

Have a calmly, prayerful day!

Karen Rose, OSB

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Smartphone Adventure

The smartphone adventure is one that I held off for a long time. Because I was very comfortable with my “land line” and “flip phone,” I saw no reason for a smartphone. I supported my choice for not owning one for the following reasons: “It is too expensive”, and “Will I learn or need to use all the things a smartphone is capable of doing?” Eventually I made the decision to buy a smartphone. So, when the sales rep. told me, “You now own a mini computer”, “Yikes!” I thought, I am still learning how to use a desk top computer, my learning curve just increased. I am gradually learning the benefits a smartphone has to offer. One benefit is that I am able to stay connected to more people than I had ever dreamed of, if I choose to so. As a work benefit, it will help me connect and collaborate with other vocation directors.  The smartphone lets me respond to email, send a text message, check Facebook, and actually make a phone call, imagine that. I must admit that I am slow to get up to date with the social media of today’s world. Yet, as I learn how to work with my smartphone, I see the many advantages available at my fingertips. I have the plus of staying connected 24/7 which is okay for some people but not for me. In this case I have learned that I can just as easily ignore the buzz that alerts me to a new email or I can respond. I choose to ignore it, especially if I am engaged in a face to face conversation at the time.  I do not want a smartphone to take me away from the real person right in front of me. As a novice smartphone owner I know I have a lot to learn.  In conclusion I am grateful for the many willing individuals, all younger than I am, who are ready to teach me the tricks and conveniences of this new piece of technology. So all you smartphone users, I wish you well. If you would like more information about our community, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.