Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Choosing to muse on

daily miracles I miss

right before my eyes.


How can it be so?

Each one's fingerprints differ.

DNA, voice, too. 


Morning sun, night moon

exchange the view in twelve hours

so consistently.


ROY GY BIV rainbow,

blends from red to violet,

with same pattern e’er.


My arm's bleeding sore,

I wash it and keep it clean.

Body heals itself.


That dripping faucet

drops in its solemn rhythm.

Physics is engaged. 


Lack of chlorophyll 

changes green leaves to red    

after the summer.


For countless eons

this ordered world operates

by the hand of God.

Janet Thielges, OSB

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Let the "Birds' Fly

fall geese in flight
Photo by Nancy Bauer, OSB
As one season ends and the time approaches for looking at the oncoming season with an eager heart, I find myself looking into my clothes closet.  Gratefully it’s become a “game I play” as I look at various items hanging there looking at me while I’m looking at them. It’s become a light-hearted ritual for me to talk to each item and ask, “Are you still for me or are you hankering for a swap-shop-home?  Have I worn you very often this season?” If my answer is, only very few times, I have a variety of comments I might make to the item. An example might be, “You are so lovely. I’m shocked that I only wore you a few times. You pretty thing, you definitely deserve to be worn much oftener during this season next year. Someone, who would wear you much oftener, should delight in wearing you next year at this time. Then I can lightheartedly fold it up for the swap-shop-box.

Today I read this quote from St. John of the Cross it made me think of the advantage this game gives me for letting go of things I no longer need.

"The soul that is attached to anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until the cord be broken, the bird cannot fly."

I continue to pray for eyes and a heart that can enjoy letting more “birds fly.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Like a child

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

When I look at this picture that a friend of mine sent me of her great-niece, all I can do is smile. Here is a young child absolutely at peace and filled with joy over the simplicity of water coming out of a fountain. She is a picture of innocence and clearly she has no care at all in the world as to what is going on around her, she is not worried about how she looks in her bathing suit, who is looking at her, where she has to be or what time it is for that matter. She is just so completely in love with that very moment. Children are so open and free and interested in all that comes their way. They desire to learn and be without hesitation, fear or discrimination. They love everyone and everything without a second thought. And they quickly forgive us when we lose our temper. What a great example for all of us. God calls us all to “become like little children” and to bear patiently with our neighbor.

Unfortunately as we get older we start to question our faith which causes us doubt. Doubt can lead to fear and fear to anger. Anger causes hatred and can lead to violence. We have concerns about money, health and family issues.  All of this can slow us down and lead us away from our relationship with God. Children come to their parents trusting them to completely take care of them, protect them and provide for them. Parents correct when they are wrong and still love and cherish them. God wants that for us too because we are God’s children.

One of the first things our parents teach us is how to say thank you! Let us be grateful each day for the many gifts we have received.

For today, let go of all your worries. Live with child like wonder and excitement, love and joy, without fear or hesitation and always willing to forgive. Love the moment you are in and be grateful.


Tammy Shoemaker, OSB

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Overcoming Obstacles

Pope Francis can’t be beat!  Recently, he traveled to Krakow, Poland, to participate in the World Youth Gathering, with upwards of one million people.  It was a Sunday when he addressed the gathering and the Gospel was that of Zaccheus (Lk 19: 1-10).  We remember, of course, this Roman tax collector of ill repute who exploited the people; he is a persona non grata in our minds. He was short of stature, full of unprofessed shame and yet he wanted to see Jesus and so climbed a tree in order to get a glimpse of Jesus as he  passed by. But to his utter amazement, Jesus saw Zaccheus, called him down from his lofty heights and asked if he could come to his home.

That can happen to you, too, Pope Francis said to the youth. It can happen all of a sudden, in a moment, or gradually, when two hearts somehow meet one another.

But Zaccheus had to overcome some obstacles in meeting Jesus, just as any of us—young or older—need to assess and overcome our own personal obstacles.  There are three such obstacles which Pope Francis addressed with reference to Zaccheus and to most of us.  First, smallness of stature.  How many of us don’t feel worthy to approach Jesus or do not realize how much Jesus loves and counts on us for who we are i.e. precious and beloved children of God.  That is our real stature.  He waits for us to come to Him as we  are!

 The second obstacle to overcome in our meeting Jesus is the paralysis of shame. Zaccheus was a public figure, a man of power.  He knew that in climbing a tree he’d become the laughingstock to all. Yet as Pope Francis said, “Zaccheus mastered his shame because the attraction of Jesus was more powerful.” The Holy Father‘s advice to the youth was: “Don’t be afraid to say YES to Jesus with all your hearts. . . and say a firm NO to the narcotic of success at any cost and to the sedative of worrying only  about yourself and your own comfort.”

The third obstacle that Zaccheus had to overcome in his coming to Jesus was the grumbling of the crowd, the criticism and judgment of the crowd wondering why Jesus wanted to dine in Zaccheus’ house.  To the youth, Pope Francis said “People may judge you to be a dreamer because you believe in a new humanity, one that rejects hatred between people, one that refuses to see borders as barriers. Don’t be discouraged. With a smile and open arms, proclaim hope, be a blessing for our one human family which here you represent so beautifully!”

Jesus wants to stay at our homes too, dwell in our daily lives of studies, friendships, hopes and dreams. “Take all of these to Him in prayer.  Don’t forget the encounter you have had with God here these days.  He wanted you to be here and has come to meet you.  Now walk with Him, talk with Him.” And Jesus would surely say: “Be My beloved son and daughter—whether young or older, rich or poor, popular or living in the shadows, Catholic or of another religion. I am calling YOU.  We can be great friends and do great things together!”

Thank you, our dearly beloved Pope Francis!  You can’t be beat!
Renee Domier, OSB

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


The presider’s chair was bathed in sunlight as I walked through the Sacred Heart chapel on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I was so struck by its beauty that it stopped me in my tracks. I then walked around the chair, continuing to be captured by its beauty in the afternoon sun. At one point I looked up, trying to find the window that was letting in the beam of sun and bringing this chair to life. As I snapped a few pictures of the presider’s chair, now bathed in sunlight, I pondered the significance of this chair at our Eucharist celebrations. The sunlight became Sonlight for me at that moment. The light of God is what I was observing. My eyes were drawn to the altar, as if Christ’s eyes, sitting in the chair, were also drawn to the altar. With my eyes being drawn to the altar, I was reminded of all the Eucharist celebrations that take place in this sacred space. For it is here where I witness the bread and wine being transformed into the body and blood of Christ. It is here where I receive spiritual nourishment. The sunlight/Sonlight is forever transforming me in my commitment in this Benedictine community of women, as together we seek God in our daily lives. If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.