Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Summer of Service

       I am excited about our upcoming Summer of Service! This opportunity is being offered by St. Walburg Monastery and by Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana.

        During May 28 to July 23, 2017, single women, ages 19 to 35 are being invited to experience service works in a Monastery setting.  They will stay at Beech Grove, Indiana for four weeks and serve the needs of people in that area.  Then they will come to Covington, Kentucky and serve the needs of people in our area.

       During these 8 weeks, the women will experience service to the poor and homeless, service to the elderly, and service to the earth, etc.  They will share in the Benedictine values of prayer, hospitality, stewardship, community and ministry.  They will join the sisters in prayer, community living and reaching out to others. They will have time for personal and community prayer and also retreat time.

      If you want to join us in this unique experience, please contact Sr. Julie Sewell, O.S.B. at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Indiana at 317-787-3287, ext. 3032  or Sr. Cathy Bauer, O.S.B. at St. Walburg Monastery in Kentucky at 859-331-6324.

       Please help us spread the word to any young women interested in a summer service project.

       I am reminded of a paradox that always happens when we reach out to others in service because it is always blessed by God.  It is that in giving of ourselves, we also receive more than we can imagine.  Sr. Barbara Woeste, OSB

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Oh No, Is It Lent Already!

            Not yet, but Lent is fast approaching. For many in this country and elsewhere in the world this is a difficult time.  Much hate filled language has filled the air waves. This Sunday we are presented with a Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) that addresses how we are to be with all peoples, prepares us for Lent and possibly causes us to “squirm”. 
           Jesus directs us to love everyone including those we might find most difficult and we are to hate no one. There is no room for enemies. “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Prayer along with fasting and almsgiving are the tenets of Lenten practice. Praying humbly reminds us, it is only through God’s action within us that transformation can take place. Through fasting we fast from engagement in gossip, accusations, hurtful and hateful speech, and retaliation of any sort.
           Again Jesus asserts; “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. . . Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles”. Through almsgiving we “Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn our back on the one who wants to borrow. . . If someone wants to go to law over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well”. Jesus speaking to us has great expectations of those who love him and want to be a follower, a Christ-bearer.

            Each year in preparation for Lent do you find yourself asking the same questions? What am I going to do this year? How much effort and commitment am I willing to put forth? How much do I really desire to grow into the person God is calling me to be? When the ashes are signed on our foreheads and the words spoken “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” maybe this Gospel message that seems to ask the impossible of us will come to mind.    Sr. Aileen Bankemper, OSB

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Feast of St. Scholastica

              Friday, February 10, Benedictines throughout the world will celebrate with great solemnity the Feast of St. Scholastica. Tradition teaches that Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict, whose dates are usually given as 480-547. The earliest writing regarding  Scholastica is found in the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great  who in Book 2, chapters 33 and 34 describes a meeting between the siblings and the subsequent death of Scholastica perhaps around 543.
Although Gregory’s Dialogues were written to inspire and edify and not as biography in the modern sense of the word, it would be inaccurate to claim that Gregory presented no facts about Benedict’s life and works. What a blessing that the Church has preserved Gregory’s stories about Benedict and his sister in the Office, readings and homilies we hear for the feast.  
Below is a rendition of their famous conversation at their last annual meeting at a place between their respective monasteries. After spending the entire day praising God and talking of sacred things, Scholastica entreated Benedict:
“Let us continue until morning speaking of the joys of heaven.”  
“What are you talking about, my sister? Under no circumstances can I stay outside my cell.”
Scholastica bowed her head in deep prayer, flooding the table with her tears. A torrential rain accompanied her tears, and there was no way Benedict could leave in the raging storm.
“God, have mercy on you, my sister. Why have you done this?”
“See, I asked you, and you would not listen to me. So I asked my Lord, and he has heard me. Go, now then, go, if you can. Leave me and go back to your monastery.”
The Dialogues continue:
             “Three days later while in his cell, Benedict looked up at the sky and saw the soul of his sister after it had gone from her body. It was in the form of a dove, and he saw it penetrate the hidden mysteries of heaven. Rejoicing because such glory was hers, he gave thanks to God with hymns and praises, and he announced her death to his brothers.
             While I have heard this dialogue over and over, I never tire of reading the above conversation. It brings to mind the many times God has heard my prayers and come to my aid. I recall the many requests on our prayer board that speak of the faith of those who believe in the power of prayer. I praise God’s love and wisdom even when God’s response is different from our request. I am reminded that God has plans for each of us and that those plans spring from God’s love, wisdom and unique concern for each of us.

    Sr. Victoria Eisenman, OSB

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Teacher’s Reflection

The article below was written over thirty years ago.  It still seems appropriate for Catholic Schools Week which we celebrate this week in the USA.
         In my twentieth year of teaching elementary school children, I have taken a good look at what I’ve been doing and why. I would like to share with you some of my reflections.
When children hover over simple, “mundane” marigold seedlings, amazed at finding a remnant of the seed still attached to a leaf, and react as though they were the first to discover such a phenomenon, my sense of wonder bubbles with theirs.
When a child, in tears, embraces another who has just hurt her and offers: “I’m sorry,” my trust in Creative Love is renewed, and I rejoice.
When children’s faces glow with fascination with the reading of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, their simplicity humbles me.
When a child, in a slightly quivering voice, expresses his dream for his future, I touch Reality.
When, growing in confidence, a child walks a little taller, I experience “This is a good place to be.”
When the day has been hectic and I am without strength to face that one, last class of eternally-energized youngsters, I am driven to remember wherein my strength lies … and inevitably, I discover Faithfulness.
I have made painful mistakes, experienced failure – and   I have grown through my role as an educator.  I have had more joy than I ever thought possible.
What I have learned and experienced in life so far – my share of Truth and  who  I  am, is what I bring to the students with whom I have been entrusted.  I hope it makes a little difference on their own  journeys. (They have to mine.)
 May our loving God accompany them safely on their way.
                                                   “For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
                                                     Which you cannot visit,
                                                     Not even in your dreams.”        Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Sr. Sharon Portwood, OSB

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Standing for Justice and Peace

       I took a sign reading “Pro-Life, Conception to Natural Death” to the Women’s Rally and March last Saturday, January 21, at Washington Park in Cincinnati. It was important for me to be there, to join in with the hundreds of thousands of women and men who want President Trump to hear the many messages of those who believe that they have not been heard by this president who has told us that he wants to be the president for all Americans. So I am hoping that he finds this demonstration more useful than annoying.

       We gathered to let him and Congress know that there is very strong support for upholding the human dignity of every person, the unborn, yes, and also all of us of every age, race, gender, civil status or faith tradition. We support individual rights to be free of violence, including sexual and emotional abuse, bullying, trafficking, gun violence and pollution. We support just immigration reform to include special allowance for those who came as children and for those who have been contributing to our society and paying income taxes for many years just as citizens. We support criminal justice reform that focuses on rehabilitation of those who have committed offenses and that decriminalizes the disease of addiction. We further support appreciation and care for our mother, Earth, and the regulations that need to be in place at national and international levels to protect our environment for current and future generations.

       I hope that this is the beginning of a new movement, more than a solitary event. And I commit myself to continue to study the issues, take them to prayer and work to bring the just and peaceful Kingdom of God to birth. If you want to join me, I will be at the Northern Kentucky Justice & Peace Committee meeting on Thursday, February 2, 7 pm at Our Savior Church Hall, 10th Street. Covington, KY. For details, email
      Sr. Dorothy Schuette, OSB

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dealing with Dreary Days

I need help!

The dreary days of January are too numerous. Twenty minutes of sunshine every four days is not enough for my feeble spirit.

I’ve tried watching videos of the Caribbean—no change of attitude.

I’ve tried eating chocolate—no change of perspective.
I’ve tried reading about exotic locales—no change of heart.

I know…accept what cannot be changed and change what can. The only thing that I can change is my own outlook. Knowing that God is with me, rain or shine, brightness or gloom, is a beginning to a better view of my world.

As e.e. cummings writes: “I thank you, god, for most this amazing day…”

Amen.   Sr. Nancy Kordenbrock, OSB

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Secret of New Year's Resolutions

       Early January and already it is time to evaluate New Year’s Resolutions.  As a science teacher I was fascinated by the teaser on CBS Morning News that announced the science of New Year’s resolutions. So I stayed longer than I had intended to listen.
    Some facts from the research indicate that 10% want to lose weight but 40% want to become better persons. As a person who has vowed conversatio to each day become better I was impressed.  But what struck me about the research was that most resolutions are not kept because they are built on will power.  It was explained that will power is like a muscle.
It is strengthened by use but breaks down and becomes useless if overused.  So depending strictly on will power to fulfill our promises to ourselves can lead to failure. This is true especially if one makes several resolutions that require major changes in behavior. The recommendation was for short term goals that have measurable outcomes.
     So I thought of a number of small things that I can do to advance my cause to be a better person.  An area or concern is always relationships. Specifics will remain unnamed lest the persons I live with think they are the object of my resolution. Those persons may be right and they may be wrong!  Either way I will try my best. Other areas are increasing environment efforts and peaceful non-violence.

     But I will not depend solely on my own will power. Rather I will pray, “Lord, grant that I may place my trust in you.  Too often I have depended on my own flawed person with its natural limitations and have failed to depend on You. So as I begin this year of 2017 I trust you will be there to assist me in my personal fulfillment and guide me in choosing appropriate, achievable resolutions. I am ever grateful for your unfailing presence. Amen.” 
            Sr. Mary Rabe, OSB