Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Community as Balancing Act

Photo: Nancy Bauer, OSB
Last week, we at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., had invited several leadership persons from other Benedictine monasteries to join us for one week. Their role as visitators was to schedule one-to-one visits as well as small and large group listening sessions. 

 Visitators ask questions that allow community members to verbalize what seems to be working well within the monastery and what needs to be shifted to facilitate ongoing vibrancy. The community members open their hearts to receive the visitators’ report, commendations and recommendations. This allows the monastery to make honest choices about how to continue to build on our strengths. It also allows members to tweak their life together in ways that make the community an even stronger, unfolding human-God work of art.
There’s something in the balancing artistic rock sculptures of  Michael Grab  that seems to encapsulate what happens in this communal experience.  Here is how Grab explains his work
"The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of tripod for the rock to stand on.  Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another.  These "sculptures" have no support other than the rocks themselves.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Helping the Garden Grow

Common Ground Garden Grows! by Nancy Bauer, OSB

November 13, 2014, is Give to the Max Day, an opportunity for donors to give on-line to their favorite non-profits, including Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Last year, thanks to the generosity of many friends and the help of matching gifts, we received $74,830, surpassing our goal of $67,000! This year we’re hoping to raise $50,000 on line with additional $32,000 in matching gifts.
This year, we want to raise funds to enhance a very special ministry, Common Ground Garden. Kate Ritger, our Production Manager explains:
“People feel the garden is more than a piece of land or business that provides healthy food, but a group of people who  care about each other, live the Benedictine values, and work for greater access to healthy food in central Minnesota. I believe the greatest area of growth has been in community engagement. More and more people, subscribers, neighbors and friends in the community feel a sense of belonging at the garden, either working in exchange for vegetables, having their own gardening space, or coming to events.”
Give to the Max will provide funds to expand this ministry that impacts a wider community through subscribers, donations to food shelves, hosting student groups and working with the local grade schools to spread the spirituality of our Benedictine values—especially community, hospitality and sustainability.
Fundable phases include:
·        major electrical updating
·        coolers and improved working and education space
·        a winter green house for a “year-round” garden (dream phase!)                                                        
Give to the Max Day 2014 will again have special incentives, such as an hourly drawing when a donor’s name is randomly selected and $1,000 added to their gift. Also, the top non-profits receive extra funds at the end of the day.
If you'd like to be part of helping Common Ground Garden to expand and touch more people's lives,  visit www.GiveMN.org on November 13 to donate. GiveMN.org is mobile-optimized for smartphones and tablets so you can give wherever you are. Thank you for your support.
Patricia Ruether, OSB

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Get Informed, Get Registered, Get Ready to Vote!

S. Simone Campbell (front) with MN "Nuns on the Bus" including  Sisters Kerry O'Reilly (3rd in line) and Eunice Antony (extreme right) from our community.

Are you REGISTERED TO VOTE?  Are you GETTING INFORMED about candidates and issues?

Why do I ask?  I was one of the MN "Nuns on the Bus"! Along with Sister Eunice Antony.

Have you heard about the "Nuns on the Bus"?  It was an adventure and a privilege and hard work.  

Sister Simone Campbell of Network: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, is the original "Nun on the Bus" who takes to the road to encourage all people to become involved in our public decisions and work for the common good.  When she learned in June that 60% of Americans did not know there was a mid-term election she said she had to go on the road one more time – and she invited Sisters from the 10 states on her tour.  We held town halls, talked about voting and what it means, and asked citizens what their concerns are today.  We registered students at two campuses in Duluth.  We visited malls and talked with anyone we encountered about voting.  It was grand!  

Our main message:  "We the People, We the Voters!"  As the US Catholic bishops have said, voting is a right to be respected and a privilege to be used with respect.   

November 4 is election day!   Please register and VOTE!

Kerry O’Reilly, OSB