Holy Wisdom as a living lab
 
 Benedictine Bridge
  connecting with the communities at Holy Wisdom Monastery
weaving prayer, hospitality, justice and care for the earth into a shared way of life


Sisters & Sojourners Sunday Assembly  |  Oblates  |  Guests & Retreatants 
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November 2015
 
 
monastery-in-fall2
"Climate change is a global problem with grave implications.
There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions,
and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle."
- Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

Creating a living lab for sustainable building operation
by Mark Hanson, director of sustainable services, Hoffman, LLC 

Caring for the earth requires thoughtful decisions in design, construction and ongoing operation or stewardship of a building and the land it’s on. Holy Wisdom Monastery was diligent in building a new monastery building in 2009 and has since added considerably more solar energy generation. The monastery is now searching for additional opportunities to reduce energy use, carbon footprint and cost in the operation of both the monastery and the retreat and guest house.

Why Holy Wisdom Monastery wants to do this flows from its mission of care for the earth. Chapter 5 of Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change & Inequality specifically encourages us to take such action. 

How to do this is our challenge. In the case of the monastery, the best opportunity is to reduce some temperature settings in the coldest winter months. The estimated savings is approximately two to three percent for every degree F (Fahrenheit) that the indoor temperature setting is reduced. The best areas for doing this are in the larger spaces and rooms that are not regularly occupied. If the assembly room is only used for a weekend wedding and Sunday Assembly, reducing the assembly room temperature from 70°F to 64°F during the week would result in substantial savings. Perhaps the gathering area and large dining room could be set at 67
°rather than 70°during the months of December to March.

The question of what temperature is comfortable has no universal answer, as each person has their own “personal thermostat” or temperature at which they are comfortable. One person is too warm at 68
°F, others are just right, and others are too cold. And the comfort range will even vary for a given individual with age. These points of comfort can be managed to a considerable degree by how we dress. A sweater, fleece, or wool coat are our age-old tools for providing comfort at different temperatures. We regularly observe how our personal thermostats change with the season. 75°F during a hot summer day feels cool, but by now it would feel too warm (for most of us) during the winter.  

As a community we will deliberately use the monastery and retreat and guest house as a living laboratory during the winter of 2015/2016. We will work with coworker Eric Solberg who manages building controls to adjust some temperatures lower in different spaces and measure the impact on energy use and cost. We’ll report our findings after the monthly bills come in. If someone has a small office and tends to need more heat, we can set the temperature higher at 70 or 71
°F. If another person is warmer, they may want to try a temperature at 67 or 68°F. If we have unoccupied spaces for many days such as the assembly room, we’ll try lower settings and schedule a warm up the day before an event. Eric can also work with coworkers to adjust office temperatures up and down as needed for a period of hours before temperatures return to the pre-set level. As we think about our personal energy management this winter, we will be keeping three things in mind:
  • Provide suggestions and comments to Eric (who will share them with me as appropriate). We are counting on active participants in our living laboratory.
  • In a room that is warmer than an adjacent space (say an office compared to the corridor), keeping a door closed or mostly closed will keep the higher heat in where it is needed.
  • Floors of most areas of the monastery have in-floor or radiant heating. This tends to make you feel warmer at any given air temperature. The base level of heating that comes off of the floor is supplemented by fan coil units that further warm the air coming into the room in order to reach the temperature setting for the room. 
I look forward to collaborating with the coworkers at Holy Wisdom as we learn to be even better stewards.  
__________________________
Mark Hanson is the director of sustainable services at Hoffman, LLC, the company that provided planning, design and management services for the monastery building. 
We are grateful to Mark and join with him in a continued commitment to caring for the environment. 
 

#Giving Tuesday: celebrating the season of giving
by Car McGinley, director of communications & IT
Giving-Tuesday
Photo by Kent Sweitzer

As many of you know, Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the buying season, but #Giving Tuesday, on December 1, 2015, kicks off the giving season! Join others who feel that giving is more important than buying, and donate to Holy Wisdom Monastery on #Giving Tuesday this year.

Your donation to Holy Wisdom Monastery makes a difference:
  • in the lives of women who come here as Benedictine Sojourners to explore living in community
  • in the local environment as the prairies at Holy Wisdom filter pollutants and keep phosphorous out of area lakes
  • in the spiritual growth of people who come here to pray, learn and retreat
  • in the lives of the volunteers who find a connection with the land
I would love to hear why YOU donate to Holy Wisdom. Click here to tell me your story! Look for an email reminder on December 1, 2015 and donate to Holy Wisdom Monastery on #Giving Tuesday and make a difference in this season of giving!

For more information, visit our #Giving Tuesday page or contact Nancy Sandleback at nsandleback@benedictinewomen.org or 608-836-1631, x105. If you would rather mail in a donation, download our donation form and return it by December 1, 2015.


Remember, #Giving Tuesday is on December 1, 2015!

 

Sunday Assembly
Help us create our Advent wreath
by Lynn Lemberger, director of worship & music

wreath-preparation-collageAdvent begins this year on Sunday, November 29, 2015. A special addition to our Sunday Assembly worship during the four Sundays of Advent is the presentation of each week’s Advent candle, brought into worship by one of our children. Each new candle is placed on our 6-foot Advent wreath, which stands in the front of the assembly room, in anticipation of the light that is coming into the world with Jesus’s birth on Christmas Day. 

We will prepare the Advent wreath for the assembly room on Wednesday, November 25, 2015, at 9:30 am. You are invited to participate in this annual pre-Christmas event! The wreath is built on a metal/wood frame using freshly cut evergreen boughs that groundskeeper Paul Boutwell collects from the monastery grounds. It takes about 45 minutes to put the wreath together, less time with more helpers. Come join us before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend begins!  All are welcome!

 
Join us for an Advent day
by Lynne Smith, OSB, co-director of formation

Icon-Jesus-Christ-by-David-Giffey2
Join us on Thursday, December 10, 2015, 11:45 am–1:30 pm for Reflections on Art and Prayer, an Advent day of reflection with David Giffey. David is an artist, iconographer, journalist and photographer who is currently exhibiting a selection of his work at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Reflections on Art and Prayer will begin with midday prayer and lunch.

After lunch I will host a conversation with David as he shares some ideas gathered during 40 years of painting liturgical art. The presentation will include stories of travels and teachers, visual examples and a brief introduction to traditional Easter Christian prayer. A short time of silent meditation will be followed by a general discussion. More information and online registration is available on our website at: Reflections on Art and Prayer. Please register by November 25, 2015.
 

Guests & Retreatants
The gift of time at Holy Wisdom
by Monica Jefcoat, event & accounting assistant
 
solitude 2Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas are all approaching soon. What a wonderful time to give thanks and count our blessings. Life is fast-paced and we don’t always take the time we need to do these things. Whether it’s during the week or on the weekend, Holy Wisdom Monastery offers a contemplative environment with daily prayer opportunities, spiritual guidance and Sunday worship service. 

To schedule personal time to reflect on all that is good, please send me an availability inquiry or call me directly at 608-836-1631, x158.

Looking for thoughtful gift ideas for those you love? Consider giving them a retreat at Holy Wisdom Monastery. One night stays in 2016 start at just $60. Overnights in our hermitage begin at just $83/night. To purchase a gift certificate, call me directly at 608-836-1631 x158. More information about arranging for some personal time and space is available on the personal retreats page of our website. 
 
All of us in guest services at Holy Wisdom wish you happy, meaningful holidays ahead. 
 

Volunteers & Coworkers
Welcoming a new coworker
by Car McGinley, director of communications & IT
 
LaRae-GavicThis month we welcome LaRae Gavic as our operations manager, a new role at Holy Wisdom. As operations manager, LaRae is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the facilities, grounds and guest services as well as long-range operations planning and marketing. This is a position that pulls together responsibilities formerly assigned to the director of guest services and the chief operating officer. We are grateful to Jill Carlson, former guest services director, for her work at Holy Wisdom, and to Barbara Dannhausen, OP, our current chief operating officer, who will be moving into a consulting role for Holy Wisdom at the end of this year.
 
LaRae brings to Holy Wisdom a background in social work, management, business administration and marketing. As operations manager, she will work closely with coworkers and volunteers and will take on a leadership role as part of an administrative team responsible for communications, marketing, strategic/operational planning, finances, personnel and program planning. 


"I live in Middleton and have often been drawn to the beauty of the monastery's grounds and to the mission and values here." LaRae comments.  "I am very excited to now be a part of this wonderful place and am looking forward to many new adventures." 

Please introduce yourself to LaRae the next time you visit Holy Wisdom Monastery.
 

Membership in the Friends of Wisdom Prairie—a special gift idea
by Greg Armstrong, director of land management & environmental education


FWP-giftWhy join the Friends of Wisdom Prairie or give a membership as a gift? This vital and growing group is making a significant impact on the care of the earth at Holy Wisdom while having a great time! Over the past year the Friends of Wisdom Prairie and the monastery partnered with Dane County, Madison Community Foundation, and other individuals who value caring for the earth to:
  • burn 120 acres of prairie
  • sow prairie seed on 35 acres of former agricultural land
  • mow new prairie land to keep weeds from going to seed and to let light in for new prairie seedlings
  • install a storm water detention facility covering 4 acres
  • clear fencerows of weedy shrubs and trees in preparation for oak savanna restoration
  • remove invasive weeds on 160 acres
  • Provide environmental and eco-spiritual education through dinner lectures, monastery tours and outings to other natural areas
Many interesting and enjoyable activities are planned for next year, including dinner lectures on monastic history, birding in Peru, and exploring nature in Madagascar and South Africa. Our planned outings include a boat trip in the Horicon Marsh, a trip to the Aldo Leopold Shack and a visit to the International Crane Foundation. Help make a difference by working in the monastery prairies, savanna and woodlands during our Wisdom Prairie Workdays. 

You are invited to join the Friends of Wisdom Prairie for 2016. Or—wouldn’t a membership make a very special Christmas gift for a friend or loved one? Friends of Wisdom Prairie brochures with an application for membership are available at the monastery or on our website. An online registration form is also available on our website.

 

Call for art exhibitors
by Nancy Sandleback, collections manager

The art exhibits at Holy Wisdom Monastery, hosted by the sisters in the spring and fall, tie in with Holy Wisdom Monastery’s mission of hospitality—welcoming artists of various backgrounds and media as well as those who view the art. Our current exhibit, Icons by David Giffey, runs through December 24.
  
Last month we put out an open call for proposals to display artwork at the monastery for two months beginning Friday, May 6, 2016 with a gallery reception. Submissions are due November 30, 2015. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, contact Nancy Sandleback at nsandleback@benedictinewomen.org.  Art gallery guidelines are available at http://benedictinewomen.org/blog/art-gallery.

Please share this information with any artists you know.

 
Sisters & Sojourners 
Experiencing monastic life for 6 months
by Ann Moyer, director of membership  

Would you or someone you know like to experience the rhythm of monastic life—prayer, work, study and leisure—at Holy Wisdom Monastery for 6 months? We welcome single, Christian women, ages 21-50, to consider this possibility beginning in the fall of 2016. The first step to learning more is to come to an Exploring Benedictine Sojourners Retreat. Three new retreat dates are on the calendar for 2016:
•    February 12-14, 2016 (apply by 2/2/2016)
•    April 8-10, 2016 (apply by 3/29/2016)
•    July 15-17, 2016 (apply by 7/5/2016)

More information about Benedictine Sojourners and the Exploring Benedictine Sojourner Retreats is available on our website, or contact Ann Moyer at amoyer@benedictinewomen.org, 608-836-1631 x197.

Learn more about the Benedictine Sojourner experience from our current sojourners’ most recent blog posts (excerpts below, follow link in title to each full blog post):

maple
Glory days, by Denise West
One of the hopes I have for my six months at Holy Wisdom is to deepen my relationship with God or, more precisely, to find out what I mean when I say I believe in “God.” Though I’ve been on a path seeking God for a number of years, I have gotten to a point where I realize that I am too often trying to generate a sense of God, rather than having a conviction of God’s presence. ...

 
Paz-Denise-in-orchard1 
Leaving the lab, my family and my friends to live here on the prairie was not an easy choice. But, I am here waiting to experience a northern winter for the first time in my life. I was and I am still excited and scared at the same time. I was born and lived in Mexico for the most part of my life. Then, six years ago, I moved to US and was living in Houston, Texas. So I don’t know what to expect about winter in Wisconsin. But the winter is not the only thing that scares me… 
 

Sisters' community life blogs

Sisters Lynne Smith and Rosy Kandathil have added new posts to their blog series as well, providing additional insights into life in community at Holy Wisdom
(excerpts below, follow link in title to each full blog post):
  morning-walk
I believe that a call comes right out of one’s life. That means that rather than being something extraordinary that drops down from heaven to overwhelm a person, a call grows from the values, characteristics and dreams one has already begun to develop. My desire to care for the earth and feeling connected to God in creation was part of what brought me to our community at Holy Wisdom. ...
 
Lean-on-me-Stickworks
There are some commitments that change our lives forever. ... As we dedicate ourselves fully and consciously to certain bonds, our whole world shifts—impacting every relationship in its scope. What, but love, could draw us to make such strong promises? ...
 

Visitation, a time of grace
by Mary David Walgenbach, OSB, prioress
 
joella-kidwellBB lorane-coffinBB
Once every five years each monastery in the Federation of St Gertrude receives a team of sisters whose role is to review and support the ways in which Benedictine monastic life is carried out in their setting. In early December, Holy Wisdom will receive Joella Kidwell, OSB, a member of the Sisters of St Benedict, Ferdinand, IN and president of the Federation of St Gertrude (pictured near right), and Lorane Coffin, OSB, a sister from St Martin Monastery in Rapid City, SD (pictured far right) as their visitation team. 

Benedictine federations provide a framework of mutual support among their member monasteries, guiding and supporting each other in the interpretation and adaptation of the Rule of Benedict for their particular time and place. Most of the Benedictine women’s monasteries in the US belong to one of three federations. Holy Wisdom Monastery is an ecumenical affiliated member of the Federation of St Gertrude

“This is privileged time for you and your community,” notes Sister Joella, who also references Federation documents calling this "a time of grace, a call to celebrate life.” The Federation states that, “the purpose of the visitation is to assist the monastery in reviewing its monastic way of life in terms of monastic profession, prayer, common life, formation, fiscal management, and the works of the monastery.” We look forward to receiving the visitation team for this friendly visit from those who come to listen to and encourage us.

 

Oblates
Oblates consider Christian identity in a multi-faith world
by Ann Moyer, director of membership

McLaren-bok-coverThe oblates of Holy Wisdom have a book recommendation to share—a book with a very long, but intriguing title:  Why Did Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, by Brian McLaren. This book is the focus of conversations and sharing within the oblate community as they gather for a retreat this weekend, November 13-15, 2015.

In his book, Brian McLaren discusses the concept of modern Christian identity at great length and depth. He explores how far modern Christianity has come from the teachings of Jesus. He provides a fairly comprehensive history of change. McLaren looks at the ways various Christian doctrines have served more to divide than unite.

PC Moisan-Thomas, oblate class of 2002, who is leading the book discussion, comments on this book: “Brian McLaren shares many heart-warming stories of his experiences of people of different faith traditions. He calls us to think deeply about what it means to be a Christian today and to develop a greater sense of hospitality.” 

Learn about the oblate community and becoming an oblate on our website.
 

New on our website
 
Follow the links to see what's new on our website.
 

Calendar
 
Sunday Worship, 9:00 am
Monastery Assembly Room

Daily Prayer
Monastery Oratory
Morning Prayer, Sunday-Saturday, 8:00 am
Midday Prayer, Monday-Friday, 11:45 am
Evening Prayer, Sunday-Saturday, 4:30 pm

Follow the links below to register for upcoming events at Holy Wisdom Monastery

For the complete calendar visit benedictinewomen.org/events/

October 2-December 24                       
Icons by David Giffey, art exhibit
Exhibit hours:
Monday-Friday, 8:00-4:00 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Sunday, 8:00 am-12:00 pm
 
November 15               
Anniversary of the Dedication of Holy Wisdom Monastery
 
November 15               
Children’s Liturgy of the Word, 9:00-10:00 am
Offered twice a month during Sunday Assembly. Students are dismissed from worship after the opening hymn and introduction to leave with the teachers, to hear and learn about the scripture readings at their level. All ages are welcome to participate—little ones with a parent and older students as readers and helpers with the teachers. For more information contact Colleen Hartung at 608-825-2032 or kchartung@aol.com
 
November 15               
Sunday Assembly Fall Meeting, 10:15-11:30 am
All members are encouraged to attend the fall meeting and have an opportunity to discuss issues significant to the members. Updates from committees will be presented.
 
November 17               
Eco-friendly Monastery Building Tour, 1:00-2:30 pm
Learn about geothermal heating and cooling, renewable resources, daylighting, photo voltaic cells, rain gardens, pervious concrete, green roofs, solar tubes and more! No registration necessary, $5 suggested donation at the door.
 
November 17               
Merton Movie Night, 7:00-9:00 pm
To close out the 100th anniversary year of Thomas Merton’s birth, this showing of The Many Storeys and Last Days of Thomas Merton will be followed by time for dialogue with other Merton scholars, enthusiasts and admirers. No registration necessary, just come. Free-will offering taken at the door.
 
November 20               
Taizé Prayer, 7:30-9:00 pm
Prayer in the style of Taizé is a ministry of Sunday Assembly and is organized monthly during the academic year. A rich contrast of silence and singing characterizes the prayer. No registration necessary, just come.
 
November 22               
Feast of the Sunday of the Fulfillment  
 
November 22               
Thanksgiving Sunday/Recognition of Volunteers, 9:00-10:00 am
We honor and bless the many volunteers who generously share their time and talent to help make Sunday Assembly possible. We are grateful for everything you do!
 
November 29               
First Sunday of Advent
 
December 6     
Children’s Liturgy of the Word, 9:00-10:00 am
Offered twice a month during Sunday Assembly. Students are dismissed from worship after the opening hymn and introduction to leave with the teachers, to hear and learn about the scripture readings at their level. All ages are welcome to participate—little ones with a parent and older students as readers and helpers with the teachers. For more information contact Colleen Hartung at 608-825-2032 or kchartung@aol.com
 
December 6                 
Sunday Assembly Advent Brunch, 10:15 am-12:00 pm
 
December 6                 
Social Justice Group, 10:30-11:30 am
Planning session for 2016.  Contact: Dennis Collier at dennis.collier@hotmail.com or 608-516-1656.
 
December 8                 
Luke House
On the second Tuesday of each month, members of Holy Wisdom Monastery participate in preparing, serving and sharing a meal at Luke House. We serve a vegetarian lasagna dinner, complete with salad, bread and cookies.
 
December 10               
Reflections on Art and Prayer, led by artist David Giffey 11:45 am-1:30 pm
David Giffey will share some ideas gathered during 40 years of painting liturgical art. The presentation will include stories of travels and teachers, visual examples and a brief introduction to traditional Eastern Christian prayer. Includes lunch. Register by November 25, 2015.
                                   
December 16               
Eco-friendly Monastery Building Tour, 3:00-4:30 pm
Learn about geothermal heating and cooling, renewable resources, daylighting, photo voltaic cells, rain gardens, pervious concrete, green roofs, solar tubes and more! No registration necessary, $5 suggested donation at the door.
 
December 18               
Taizé Prayer, 7:30-9:00 pm
Prayer in the style of Taizé is a ministry of Sunday Assembly and is organized monthly during the academic year. A rich contrast of silence and singing characterizes the prayer. No registration necessary, just come.
 
December 20 
              
Children’s Liturgy of the Word, 9:00-10:00 am
Offered twice a month during Sunday Assembly. Students are dismissed from worship after the opening hymn and introduction to leave with the teachers, to hear and learn about the scripture readings at their level. All ages are welcome to participate—little ones with a parent and older students as readers and helpers with the teachers. For more information contact Colleen Hartung at 608-825-2032 or kchartung@aol.com
 
December 20               
Sunday Assembly Council Meeting, 10:30-11:45 am
 
December 24
               
Christmas Eve Liturgy, 8:30 pm
Worship at 8:30-10:00 pm, followed by refreshments/social in the dining room, 10:00-11:00 pm.
Get social with us!
white-logo-for-new-BB
Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road M, Middleton, WI 53562 
Phone: 608-836-1631
Website: www.benedictinewomen.org 
Email: info@benedictinewomen.org




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Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road M
Middleton, Wisconsin 53562
US

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