Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Sister Trish Dick works as a spiritual counselor at Shodair Hospital in Helena, Montana. The hospital serves children who have undergone extreme trauma.

Every day when I walk through the doors of Shodair Hospital I face a new day full of unknown adventure and ministry. I am not too sure what “normal” looks like at Shodair Hospital and frankly no one does. Change and flexibility are two major ingredients of my day.

I introduced mindfulness to our adolescence unit during their community gather-up and meeting. I brought my Tibetan bowl and began with some deep breathing exercises. Over a space of time, I proceeded with some guided imagery. Although they love the deep breathing exercises they do not like the silence or guided meditation exercises.   One patient finally told me; “Trish, when you tell us to go to our place where we are safe – we don’t have one.  And all this silence brings up memories that we don’t want to be reminded of or remember.”  So we are working on mindfulness exercises such as getting to know your questions and building community. I am now quickly trying to learn mindfulness exercises which involve skilled movement and play in order to accomplish my goal.

 Yet at every community meeting, one of patients rings the bell and does the deep breathing exercises. Some do the breathing exercises way too fast for my liking and I want to jump in and do it myself or autocorrect them in ringing the bell. It’s all I can do to extend my patience, loosen my judgment and wait for my turn to lead and model “the right” form of mindfulness. I have come to the conclusion that success is not about the “right” way of mindfulness but knowing these adolescents are being exposed to mindfulness and learning the concept of using their breath to calm themselves.  It’s a lesson, too,  about the value of being  mindful in our waiting, as we trust the process and wait for the Light to shine.


Trish Dick, OSB


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Our Advent Call

An action on our Jesse tree
Photo by Karen Rose, OSB
2017 Advent Candles
Photo by Tammy Shoemaker, OSB
Advent is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the candles we put out in the Gathering Place surrounded by the greens with the appropriate ribbon colors of purple and pink for each week of Advent. Our Advent tree is up with the ornaments that have the prayer requests of our donors on them. Schola has begun practicing for Christmas Eve, and the bell choir is chiming away. Each sister has been asked to set aside extra time for silence and reflection as well as to do two actions (which we hung anonymously on our Jesse tree) in the hopes of leading us to love more inclusively and deeply.

Advent Tree
Photo by Tammy Shoemaker, OSB

In a world of violence, war, hate and discrimination, Advent offers us all a special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to Jesus' way of life; that way of life is rooted in love and a welcome that begins in our own hearts, with our own family, friends and co-workers. Have you ever felt welcome? How did it make you feel? Warm and fuzzy? Loved? Included? This lived experience of welcome can deepen our faith and allow us to become more compassionate and merciful. It invites us to create a culture of welcome for all. We believe, as Pope Francis says, “Welcoming others means welcoming God in person!” (Advent Reflection 2017 Maryknoll)

Many of the readings in Advent proclaim, “Do not be afraid.” Joseph and Mary both did not understand their call from God to be the earthly mother and father of Jesus. But they trusted it and obeyed it. What is God calling us to do in our lives this Advent? Let us strive to be more compassionate and merciful to all those we meet. Let us love more inclusively and deeply.


Tammy Shoemaker, OSB

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What Do You Think?

What do you think when you hear or read words like the following?

“We need to compose our lives.”  What does that mean?  Is there really music, poetry, creativity within each of us?  Can I really make a difference?   YES.

OR:  “Love across differences.”  Is it truly possibly to recognize both what is common among us and even   value the differences?   YES.

OR: “Don’t lose a sense of wonder.”  Is it possible to see anew? To wonder about the beauty in a colored leaf, a colored friend, a complicated world, a seemingly unsolvable problem?   YES.

I believe that although it takes time and practice, if done from a stance of delight and openness, we can, indeed, find the music, the poetry, the creativity necessary to change and compose our lives!  In a letter, penned in 1948, the universally revered Black Elk manifested his own firm stance not only in his sad reality but in Wahan Tanka’s greater reality in his life: “Now my heart is getting sad—but my heart will never turn bad.  Ever since Wahan Tanka (the Lakota name for God) gave light to my heart, it stands in light without end.”

Renee Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hope in Advent

In the prophet Isaiah, chapter 11:1 we read, “A shoot shall come from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall from out of his roots.” In this, one verse is the message of both death and life. For me it speaks of hope. Advent is the season, at least in Minnesota, when day light is shorter and dark nights are longer. Every year, the early darkness is a stark reality for me to embrace. I have to remember that it will not be this dark forever. With that in mind, as I yearn for longer days, I wait through the season of Advent, for the birth of Jesus, Jesus who is the new life, the sprout, from the stump of Jesse. As we gather in prayer for Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist, the readings from Isaiah encourage me. They give me hope, knowing that I will celebrate Jesus’ birth once again as was predicted by the prophet Isaiah. If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.


Lisa Rose, OSB