Tuesday, May 6, 2014

St. Benedict, Sisters and Saints

"Listen carefully, my child, to the master's instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart." These are the opening words to the Rule of St. Benedict which, as Benedictine monastics, we follow.

On Saturday morning (May 3), I had cause to think about what this means when I was attended a festive Eucharist at which the Bishop of St. Cloud, Bishop Donald Kettler, presided. The occasion marked the 60th, 75th and 80th jubilees of Sisters in our community. During the service, jubilarians renewed their monastic promises and I was very conscious of the level of commitment, the sheer perseverance and trust, that all those years as professed Sisters involved. These women listened with the ear of their heart when they were just starting out in life, and all these years later they were renewing their promise to keep on trying, to continue the path of seeking God according to the Rule of Benedict. Yet, these are women whom I now know quite well, and one of the things that I know is that they are very different from each other. All those years of monastic life haven't made them clones; they've each found their own unique way to follow the call that they heard. They've each worked to make the call their own, while all remaining faithful to the path they took at the time of profession.

As I've thought about our jubilarians, I've seen similarities with the two most recently declared saints of the Roman Catholic Church: John XXIII and John Paul II. These are two popes who are very different from one another, but I think everyone would have to agree that they were both holy men. Where does the core of that holiness lie? It seems to me that, like our jubilarians, they listened to God's call; they answered it ... and they remained faithful. They trusted and they persevered and each, in his own way, brought his unique gifts to the Church and gave them to the service of God and God's people.

I'm hoping the examples of my Sisters and two Pope-Saints  will help me in my journey to remain true to the call I heard from God, to answer it to the best of my ability and become the saint that only I can become.

Karen Rose, OSB

[Photograph by  Karen Streveler, OSB, shows Sister jubilarians renewing their monastic promises before Prioress Michaela Hedican, OSB]

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