Thursday, November 25, 2010


submittted by Kathryn Casper, OSB

I live (Oops! I almost wrote “I love with”) four other Sisters in the Welcome House of the monastery. Yes, I live with them but I also love with them! Sisters Lisa Rose, Luanne Lenz, Mary Schumer, Ruth Anne Schneider and I extend living and loving hospitality to women who come to visit the monastery to learn more about Benedictine monastic living.

Sister Lisa Rose, who is the newest addition to this group, brought a new custom into our house. At the end of the evening meal that we occasionally have together, each Sister expresses one thing for which she is grateful that day. We then close with a prayer. It is amazing how such a simple sacred pause can strengthen our commitment to one another. We learn more about one another as each one opens her heart in gratitude and lets each one of us into that intimate moment.

This small, new custom is an icon of the living with and loving with that mirrors the thankful hearts of the whole community. That beating heart of gratitude in the monastery has recently been expanded with the “homecoming” of the Sisters of Saint Bede Monastery, Eau Claire, Wis., and the Sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery of Ogden, Utah.  (See monastery home page.) On Saturday, November 20, we became one Benedictine community. From now on we live with and love with as one in a community of 294 strong and remarkable women.

Living and loving together is not always an easy task, is it? It’s fairly easy when everything goes smoothly, when we are at our best. It’s another thing when some of us are tired, are in poor health, have too much on our plate, or find ourselves out of sorts in one way or another. It’s then that we learn to be grateful for the small kindness we offer to one another: a listening heart, an offer to help in some way, the unexpected affirmation, or simply asking, “How are you?” and waiting to find out.

Louise Glück writes in The House on Marshland:

Do not think I am not grateful for your small
kindness to me.
I like small kindnesses….

On this day of Thanksgiving, shall we offer to one another those small and large kindnesses? Shall we express to one another those things for which we are grateful?

Shall we expand the heart of the world around us by living and loving well together?

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