Building Community in the New Year
 
 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


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January 2016
 
 
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In the cold of winter we find silence and time for deeper contemplation, but it is also good to remember warmer days and good times shared in community.

Building community through shared Benedictine values
by Lynne Smith, OSB, co-director of formation


Joanne-w-retreatantSister Joanne Kollasch will be quick to tell you that Benedictine spirituality does not exist in the abstract. It only comes alive as people embody it. It is learned and passed on person to person through relationships. Having lived this life for over 60 years, Joanne embodies the Benedictine values of the monastery in her unique way. Joanne is passionate about passing on the Benedictine way of life to everyone with whom she comes into contact. You have probably experienced the values of hospitality, respect, simplicity and beauty through Joanne. She embodies Benedictine values in the way she greets guests, in her formation work with our Benedictine Sojourners, Denise and Paz, in the way she decorates spaces in the monastery and through her conversations with guests (pictured here, on left, introducing a retreatant to our prayer books used for daily prayer), friends, coworkers, volunteers and community members.

Those of you who have been around the monastery for a while embody Benedictine values in your lives. Benedictine spirituality comes alive in you as you offer hospitality to guests, work for human rights, walk with ex-offenders, or care for your children. 

One of the pillars of Benedictine life is common dialogue. The primary way the sisters pass on our mission, vision and values is face to face through conversation and dialogue. This kind of conversation happens informally before or after Sunday Assembly, at the social time during an oblate retreat, while working on the prairie with Friends of Wisdom Prairie or around the dining table with retreatants. It happens more formally when we lead an oblate retreat, as we will do in February, or when we lead a retreat or offer input at a Sunday Assembly meeting.

This year, we are beginning a new initiative to be intentional about providing formation in Benedictine values for the communities and people associated with the monastery. The question we want to address is: “How can we live
the spirit and values of the Rule of Benedict more faithfully in our prayer and work? We seek to stimulate all of us involved at the monastery to think, speak and act with a greater awareness of the Benedictine spiritual foundation that supports what we do. This foundation is expressed in our statement of the mission, vision and values of the monastery. Upcoming opportunities already planned include the following:
  • Lenten Lunches, Wednesdays, February 17 – March 16, 2016, will be an exploration of forgiveness in the context of relationships informed by Benedictine values. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us, yet we often find it difficult to forgive ourselves and to extend God’s forgiveness to others. Coming to forgiveness is a transformative process arrived at over time. Benedict’s call for stability, respect for others, conversion of life and humility can help us in building relationships and coming to forgiveness and a Christ-consciousness in our lives. Oblate Claudia Greco and I will offer input, discussion and interactive experiences at the lunches. This is an opportunity to explore Benedictine values. 

  • Mike Crawford from Sunday Assembly is coordinating a Wisdom Read for families in Sunday Assembly. He and the people working with him hope it will spark conversations between parents and children around the value of hospitality. 

  • At the Sunday Assembly meeting on February 21, 2016 we will hold a brief conversation on hospitality. The Sunday Assembly new member orientation committee will also propose opportunities for conversation around Benedictine values during Lent. 

  • Oblate Carole Kretschman and I are working on a program related to Benedictine values to be offered later this spring for Sunday Assembly members and others. 
People at the monastery often express the desire for input from the sisters. Joanne, Mary David Walgenbach and I will lead the February oblate retreat on the theme: “A Call to Justice: Benedictine Perspectives on Listening, Right Relationships, and Public Witness.” Rosy Kandathil and I share insights and reflections on living this Benedictine life in our monthly blog posts, Letters Home and Building Community.  I feel excited and energized to be working with so many of you who are living the Benedictine values in your unique ways. I look forward to many rich conversations over the course of the winter and spring. I hope you will enter the dialogue.
 
Sisters & Sojourners 
Living in community blog posts
by Ann Moyer, director of membership

Community living insights from sisters and sojourners. Read the latest: 

Oblates
A sense of community among oblates
by Sue Bradley, Oblates Class of '02

When we become oblates, it is a personal decision and usually we are excited both with our discoveries of the Rule of Benedict and with what we design as our own personal rules. But when we take part in the ceremony to become oblates, we realize that we are part of a large group, especially as the oblate community offers “to journey with us.” 

 
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Lively conversations abound at oblate gatherings.
As Joan Chittister wrote in Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, “Benedict doesn’t set up a model of rarified existence as the end of the spiritual life. Benedict sets up a community.” As we become oblates, many of us are so thrilled by the possibilities of spiritual deepening, that we don’t think as much about being part of a community of oblates. But if we do, then we are rewarded with sharing spiritual journeys with other oblates. We meet oblates at the gatherings we have at Holy Wisdom and often have such wonderful and deep conversations informally or in the integration groups. So, while the topic of the meeting may or may not interest us, we learn so much from each other. We discuss with each other how our spiritual journeys are going. At times, our life situations may be rough, but we have fellow journeyers with whom to share this. 

Some of us are lucky enough to belong to the regional reflection circles. I became an oblate in 2002 and have been a member of a regional reflection circle meeting in Madison for at least seven or eight years. Through these meetings we have developed much more depth with each other.
 

Sunday Assembly, Guests & Retreatants
Insights from the wisdom of Simone Weil
by Lynne Smith, OSB, co-director of formation

We are pleased to have E. Jane Doering, professor emerita of the University of Notre Dame, on retreat at the monastery for a few days at the end of January. She has graciously offered to give an interactive presentation on Simone Weil on Sunday, January 31, 2016, from 10:30-11:30 am in the monastery boardroom.

Simone Weil (1909–1943) was a 20th century French philosopher, mystic, social activist and educator, who dedicated her life to analyzing the malaise she observed in modern technological society. She lived through the horrors of World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and the beginning of World War II. She sought to imagine an ideal society, in which equal justice for all human beings allows its members to develop their full potential through work that contributes to the common good.

Join us for a conversation about Simone Weil's insights into attention and prayer. Participants may be interested in reading an essay by Simone Weil referenced in this link but this is not necessary for full participation in the discussion. No registration is required.

Dr. Doering has been reading and writing on Simone Weil for two and a half decades with a particular interest in how her social and political philosophy evolved after her mystical experience. We are grateful to Dr. Doering for offering this presentation while she is on retreat at the monastery.

 

Celebrate our natural community with the Friends of Wisdom Prairie
by Doreen Adamany, president, Friends of Wisdom Prairie

FWP-clearcutting-2015-v2-by-Mary-Kay-Baum

FWP-Sinsinawa-tour-v2Friends of Wisdom Prairie participate in work days, outings and more.  (top photo by Mary Kay Baum)

The Friends of Wisdom Prairie (FWP) was very active in 2015. Our updated 2016 Friends of Wisdom Prairie brochure highlights many of these activities and accomplishments.

The focus of the Friends group, formed in 2014, is to care for the earth at Holy Wisdom Monastery. Since then, the Friends have offered financial and volunteer support for the ecological restoration and maintenance of the monastery’s land along with an additional adjacent 60 acres owned by Dane County.

In 2016 we are particularly motivated to care for the earth as plans for a huge new housing development north of us continue to unfold. While urban growth is inevitable, our work and dedication, along with our friends at Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton and partners at Governor Nelson State Park, will continue to provide a natural sanctuary and refuge for all living things. 

Yes, we are one of three jewels whose work will significantly impact the ecological future of the north side of Dane County. Simply put, the prairie will improve the quality of the lake and watershed and provide needed food and habitat for insects, reptiles, and mammals along with nesting and migrating birds and other living creatures. 

A new project initiated by the Friends this past year was to create a phenology to help those interested in learning about when and what seasonal changes to the land and habitat occur at and near Holy Wisdom. Thanks to FWP Council member Sylvia Marek, you can easily monitor these changes and find out what to look for in Sylvia Marek's Phenology postsWe also encourage you to share your own observations and comments on this page. 

You are invited to learn more about our ongoing activities and how you can help by joining the Friends of Wisdom Prairie this year. We encourage old Friends to renew and new Friends to join us. It’s easy! Become a Friend of Wisdom Prairie today by registering online with the Friends of Wisdom Prairie 2016 membership form.

Thank you!  Happy New Year to all.


Save the date!
 
Holy Wisdom Monastery is hosting a unique environmental conference on Saturday, October 1, 2016—Ecology & Spirit: The Sacredness of Place.

The event starts with an opening ritual at sunrise on the hilltop overlooking Lake Mendota and the city of Madison and concludes with the setting of the sun on the prairie expanses at Holy Wisdom. The event includes three meals, keynote speakers, tours, work in the prairie, free time and breakout sessions. We are hoping that attendees will include students and adults who want to learn more about sustainability and the sacredness of place. Registration starts in April and we expect the event to fill fast. Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

 


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
 
Centering Prayer
Tuesday-Saturday, 7:35 am, monastery oratory
Tuesday-Friday, 4:55 pm, monastery oratory
Wednesdays, 7:00-8:00 pm, in the retreat & guest house room 10

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

For the complete calendar visit benedictinewomen.org/events/

January 17
Sunday Assembly Childcare Ministry
We are happy to announce that we will be offering a childcare ministry twice a month during the Sunday Assembly liturgy. Two adult care takers and teenage helpers will provide care for infants and toddlers in the hospitality room.
 
January 18-26
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
 
January 19
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.
 
January 24                 
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.
 
January 29                   
Writing as Spiritual Practice, led by Bridget Birdsall, 9:30 am-3:30 pm
A contemplative learning experience in which participants are invited to enter into their own inner world, to create a sacred space conducive to inner play, to cultivate imagination, to share their stories, and to experience the power of words to heal and transform. Register by January 20, 2016.
 
January 29
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.
 
January 31
Hospitality & Carpool Sunday, 9:00-11:45 am
Hospitality Sunday is the last Sunday of the month. All are encouraged to bring food to share. It is also a time for the Sunday Assembly community to meet and get to know other members and visitors. Carpool Sunday: gift your neighbors and Mother Earth by sharing a ride.
 
January 31                   
Presentation and discussion on Simone Weil, 10:30-11:30 am
Simone Weil: Love of God, Affliction and a New Saintliness—Attention as the Purest Form of Prayer. No registration necessary.
 
February 7
Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus
 
February 7                   
Sunday Assembly Childcare Ministry
We are happy to announce that we will be offering a childcare ministry twice a month during the Sunday Assembly liturgy. Two adult care takers and teenage helpers will provide care for infants and toddlers in the hospitality room.
 
February 7
Social Justice Group, 10:30-11:30 am
 
February 9
Sunday Assembly Luke House Meal
 
February 10
Ash Wednesday, Lent begins
Ash Wednesday midday prayer and distribution of ashes, 11:45 am-12:00 pm
Ash Wednesday Service at 5:30 pm with distribution of ashes, followed by light supper from 6:00-7:00 pm
 
February 12-14            
Exploring Benedictine Sojourners Retreat
Are you curious about life in a monastery? Single, Christian women, 21-50, who are interested in learning more about becoming a Benedictine Sojourner, are invited to apply to attend this retreat. Apply by February 2, 2016.
 
February 14
First Sunday of Lent
 
February 14                 
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.
 
February 14
Sunday Assembly Dialogue Group
 
February 14                 
Breaking and Sharing: Participant Agency and the Eucharistic Liturgy at Holy Wisdom Monastery
Colleen Hartung will be discussing her dissertation project, Breaking and Sharing. This discussion is hosted by the Sunday Assembly Dialogue Group. This will be an interactive discussion so feel free to come prepared by looking at Colleen’s dissertation posted on the Sunday Assembly password protected website www.sundayassembly.benedictinewomen.org/2015/colleen-hartungs-dissertation/. Contact Lynn Lemberger at llemberger@benedictinewomen.org to get the password.
 
February 17                 
Lenten Lunches 2016, Wednesdays, 11:45 am-1:30 pm
Dimensions of relationality: Benedictine spirituality informs our relationships
On the spiritual journey there are moments that call us to attention; stopping points or places of reactivity, worthy of reflection. We explore these invitations to be present to the unfolding of our lives and ways in which Benedictine spirituality can shape our relationships. Register by February 10, 2016.
 
February 17                 
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.
 
February 19-21            
Oblate Retreat (for Oblates and Oblate candidates only)
A Call to Justice: Benedictine Perspectives on Listening, Right Relationships, and Public Witness led by Sisters Mary David, Joanne, and Lynne. Register by January 29, 2016.
 
February 21                 
Sunday Assembly Childcare Ministry
We are happy to announce that we will be offering a childcare ministry twice a month during the Sunday Assembly Liturgy. Two adult care takers and teenage helpers will provide care for infants and toddlers in the hospitality room.
 
February 21
Sunday Assembly winter meeting, 10:00-11:30 am
 
February 24                 
Lenten Lunches 2016, Wednesdays, 11:45 am-1:30 pm
Bearing the details of your life
We are relational by nature and in all relationships there are times when pain takes us where we would rather not go. We examine the ways we live which may not now serve us. How might painful times in our lives invite us to deeper understanding of ourselves? Register by February 17, 2016.
 
February 26
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.
 
February 28                 
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.
 
February 28
Hospitality & Carpool Sunday, 9:00-11:45 am
Hospitality Sunday is the last Sunday of the month. All are encouraged to bring food to share. It is also a time for the Sunday Assembly community to meet and get to know other members and visitors. Carpool Sunday: gift your neighbors and Mother Earth by sharing a ride.

 
Get social with us!
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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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