Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WOW! ... As Prayer

S. Julianne (l) and S. Tamra on July 11
Gratefulness is the Heart of Prayer, as Brother David Steindl-Rast’s book title proclaims. We, here at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, having been praying heart-prayers for about ten days now.  It started with July 4th when we acknowledged gratefulness for our country’s freedoms, the solidarity we feel with the citizens of all nations striving for basic human freedoms and the immense gratitude we extend to every woman and man throughout the world who offers/vows their lives to protect and promote these treasured freedoms.

July 7th : two women, Angela McCormick and Nina Lasceski, chose to enter an intense year of discernment as Benedictine novices.   This novitiate time of inner honesty is not always an easy path.  The truths of Who this compassionate God is, who they are, and how this specific monastic community with all its wonderful humanness can accompany them on the road to freely manifesting their empowering gifts, is an awesome mystery.  The over 1000 monastic women buried in our local monastic cemetery are part of the throngs of women who add their prayer-connection to both of them as they travel this discernment path.

July 11th : one woman, S. Julianne Gilbert, sang out her perpetual monastic promises with the ancient words, “Receive me, O God, as you have promised and I shall live….” in tones that resounded with gratefulness.  And at Evening Prayer, Novice Tamra Thomas became Sister Tamra as she signed her three year promise to continue her monastic formation.  As the clapping community gathered around her she could not resist clapping her own hands and allowing herself to do a spontaneous mini “dance for joy”.

July 14th : culminated our ten days of celebratory vowed gratitude when sisters Ardella Kvamme, Ephrem Hollermann, Pauline Fernandes, Rosa Li and Susan Rudolf savored their 50 years of monastic life in royal Golden Jubilee splendor.  Our chapel dome rose a bit as instrumental music and song billowed upward.

If another pronunciation of “Vow” is “Wow” (if spoken with a German twist), we have been “Wowing” for ten days straight.  If “wowing” is another name for GRATITUDE, we have been in the heart of prayer for a delightful ten days.

Golden jubilarians (l to r): Sisters Ephrem Hollermann, Susan Rudolf, Pauline Fernandes, Rosa Li and Ardella Kvamme

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

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