Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Congratulations Sr. Mary Ann Koetter!

Last Saturday our community met for a special meeting.  We call this an Admissions Chapter.  During this meeting, Sr. Mary Ann Koetter asked the community to accept her for Final Monastic Profession.  Sr. Mary Ann has been part of our community since 2004.  She is a beautiful person with a deep and loving heart that seeks God.  Our community accepted her request with great joy!

Sr. Mary Ann will make her Final Monastic Profession on July 11, 2010, the Feast of St. Benedict.  What a wonderful day that will be for Sr. Mary Ann, our community and her family.  Please keep her and our community in your prayers as we prepare for this great day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reading the Rule of St. Benedict

Tonight we will read the rule from beginning to end as we prepare for the Chapter of Admissions tomorrow.

I love when we do this each year because it reminds me what it is I am to be doing each day. St. Benedict's rule is so appropriate for our world today as he sets out a way to live in community and how to treat one another. Probably one of my favorite sayings is to do all things with moderation. What would our world look like if we all did this?

As we read the rule tonight one chapter will stick out and this is what I will then ponder the next few days as I try to put into practice something that may need a little work or it may just affirm an area I am working on already. No matter what it is, I will come away from this reading charged up and ready to work at being a better Benedictine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lent Is Just Around the Corner

Ash Wednesday, February 17, marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Traditionally, Catholics have been encouraged to mark the season by making some kind of sacrifice, by "giving up" something such as sweets or sodas.

At the monastery we perform a 'Bona Opera'(good work). Each sister is asked to choose a book for spiritual reading, and to include prayer, fasting and almsgiving as part of her Lenten practice. It's a wonderful reminder to stay focused on Jesus as He anticipates His Passion and to enter more fully and intentionally into the solemnity of Lent.

We pray often in the monastery; the Bona Opera invites us to be more deliberate, more aware of the kinds of prayer we choose, the reasons we pray, the causes for which we pray.

It was eye-opening for me to think of fasting with regard to something other than food. To fast from criticism, complaining, or selfishness allows me to recognize God's goodness and grace as reflected in those with whom I live or work.

Almsgiving has also taken on new dimension. I can give of my time or talents as well as of my treasure. Rather than tossing a dollar or two in a collection plate, I mindfully give of my time or use my gifts to serve those in need.

Jesus did a great work for each of us by offering us salvation. Lent gives us a chance to do a good work for Jesus, reflecting our gratitude for His love and sacrifice.

Happy Feast of St. Scholastica

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Scholastica.  It is a big day in a Benedictine monastery, especially a women's monastery.  Scholastica was the twin sister of our founder, St. Benedict of Nursia.  

 Our morning prayer was absolutely beautiful this as we sang the antiphons that tell the  story of Benedict and Scholastica and their deep love for God and for one another.  

Scholastica lived in a monastery in close proximity to Benedict's monastery.  St. Gregory tells a wonderful story about Benedict and Scholastica.  Since they were not able to enter each other's monastery, it is said that they met each year at another place to share spiritual conversation.  One of these times they were having a wonderful conversation when night began to fall.  Scholastica didn't want her brother to leave and asked him to stay longer.  Benedict could not believe that she would ask such a thing and told her so.  Scholastica, saddened by his response, cried openly.  She put her head on the table and prayed that God would hear her prayer.  As she did so, a storm began that made it impossible for Benedict to leave.  When Benedict asked her why she had done such a thing, she responded, "From you I asked a favor and you refused to hear me; so I have asked my Lord and He has heard me."  

I love this story because it reminds me of how God intercedes when God sees our need.  Scholastica knew that God would her her prayer.  I ask God to give all of us that same faith and deep trust in our God. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Beauty of God's Creation

God blessed us with a beautiful snowfall this past weekend.  The monastery grounds were clothed with snow and it looked absolutely glorious.  There is nothing like a gentle snowfall to gentle one's spirit.  It is as if God is asking us to stop, look and slow down a little.  Some of the sisters were able to go for a walk in the snow and one sister was able to cross country ski.  Many enjoyed it from a window view.  Sister Mary Margaret enjoyed it with her camera and I share some of her pictures with you today.  

It is snowing again today and is supposed to snow through the night.  Let's all take a chance to enjoy it, to slow down and receive God's gracious gift.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Women's Retreat for Butler University Students

On Friday, January 29, I had the great gift of leading a retreat for 20 students from Butler University.  It began at Butler University where we gathered for pizza with the men and women who would be making the evening retreat.  After supper the women drove to Our Lady of Grace for the evening and the men stayed at Butler with Fr. Jeff Godecker and Fr. Rick Nagel for their evening retreat.

The theme of the retreat was living and growing in love.  I was deeply touched by the young women making the retreat.  They have such a desire to seek God in their lives.  Their comments and reflections showed that they want to be people who mirror God's love for others.  There was time for input, reflection and a creative activity.

The evening ended in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for adoration, praise and worship.  Sr. Cathy Anne Lepore played her guitar as we sang in praise and worship of our God. It was a powerful experience and a very blessed evening.   May God continue to live and work in the lives of these young people and may they always know God's deep and abiding love for each of them.