It smells like snow here…and it might actually snow a bit tomorrow. I am happily ensconced in Evin Hall – a living group adjacent to the Spirituality Center at St. Benedict’s Monastery. I am, happily, staying with Benedictine sisters.
I have known this community since I first came to St. John’s in 1999. Somehow, early on, I discovered that there were women living the monastic life right around the corner and made a trip out to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in their midst. I spent the next three years of Sundays in their Chapel – absorbed in the beauty of their monastic liturgy. The sound of the monastic schola singing, the banners of multi-colored ribbons, the reverence and care with which every action of the Eucharist was undertaken – all of this touched me deeply and, like the siren’s song, led me deeper into the reality of female monastic life.
I owe this community – certainly, not a debt in conventional terms, but the gratitude that comes from deep within the heart. These wonderful women nurtured my vocation even though it was to another house. The mystery of stability is reverenced here – the unexplainable movements of the Spirit, honored. What I know now and respect about the particularity of monastic vocations, I learned at St. Ben’s. Their hospitality and kindness enabled me to finish a three-year program without losing my marbles or my vocation. These good women invited me to share in their liturgical ministries and to volunteer at their retirement monastery. They knew what to do with a lonely, homesick grad student. They got me engaged in serving and loving – turned my focus inside-out so that GOD could make use of my sorry, little self. Without this community I would have bolted early on – probably abandoned my studies so I could begin my monastic journey at Bristow. What I couldn’t understand then, I understand now. The monastic journey begins in the heart the moment we say, “yes.” My journey started in this house and because of that I will always love these women and pray for their good.
Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki
Visit this community at http://www.sbm.osb.org/ .The Vocation Director is a personal friend, Sister Mary Catherine Holicky, OSB