Wednesday, August 29, 2012


In these dog days of summer I find myself contemplating perseverance.  This week I have experienced both the delightful fruits of perseverance and an invitation for continued perseverance.  I am reminded once again of the value of the process…the steady determined steps which one day become the goal.  I also find my heart filled with gratitude as I contemplate God’s perseverance in maintaining the covenant even as my steps may wander and falter.  May we each have the grace to persevere as we live out the richness of the journey to which we are called.
     Sr. Kimberly Porter, OSB

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Falling upon God

     I am a visual learner. For example, when I need directions, a map or printed words clarify things for me much more than oral description. Since our recent retreat, I’ve been reminded several times of how I relate to images. 
     During retreat one of the psalms spoke of God’s love being poured out, and in my mind I saw someone being filled like a vase is filled with water. Now I’m finding this concept makes it a little easier to deal with difficult people. I guess it’s harder to stay upset with someone when you can visualize how much God loves them. 
     Then just the other day I was reading again Daniel Ladinsky’s renderings of poetry by the 14th century Persian Hafiz. (The book is called I Heard God Laughing.). Here’s the quote that jumped out to me this time:
“Pulling out the chair beneath your mind and watching you fall upon God…”
Wow! I saw myself in the air and gently falling into a cloud after the chair of my expectations/plans/whatever was pulled out from beneath me. 
     I wondered if I could I ever get to a point where I could “fall upon God” this readily when my best laid designs go awry? I can only pray and keep working at it. 
      Sr. Colleen Winston, OSB

PS: If you are also someone fascinated with imagery, I put more of those used by Hafiz into my personal blog. You might be interested in checking it out. It’s at

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

     August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.  It is a feast of mystery.  There are many mysteries in our Faith.  I guess that's the meaning of faith.  I am reminded of the famous saying: "Life is a mystery to be lived and not a problem to be solved".
      We know from Scripture how Mary lived. We know how she humbly listened to God. How she echoed Jesus' words, "Not my will but yours be done".  Mary is truly an example of faith for us and a model of how to live and be true disciples of Jesus.  She has many lessons for us. On August 15 and every day, we pray "Mary, lead us to eternal life with Jesus".

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Retreat Jottings

     The annual community retreat always leaves me with a spiritual high and this year’s was no exception. Directed by the Most Rev. Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S., Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, the July 29 to August 3 retreat raised the bar for inspiration, or more truly, for the certain presence of the Holy Spirit. 
     The Word of God in the celebrations of Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours, and in Bishop Charron’s person and conferences, spoke powerfully to all of us. While the soil outdoors baked in extreme summer heat, the community’s soul was drenched with grace. 
     We were reminded that “without silence words lose their meaning,” and that every day the Good News is that Jesus is knocking at our door with promise and mission for us. We were encouraged to be free, honest and humble enough to come close to Jesus and to respond to the will of God as Mary did. Yet conversion is an ongoing process, so forgiving and receiving mercy are integral to community life. Because we are tempted basically by “plenty, pleasure and power”, our religious profession calls us to be generous, hospitable and obedient as members of a monastic “communion”. 
     My favorite conference was on hope. Bishop Charron used the scriptural image of the potter shaping and re-shaping the clay to illustrate how God creates, shapes and sustains us so that, hand in hand with God, we become messengers of hope. Grounded in God’s powerful love, hope enables us to expect the positive, to grow in patience, forgiveness and generosity and above all, to trust God’s creativity without doubt. 
     The whole retreat provided a “time-out” and renewal for community members. We are grateful to God for Bishop Charron, for Sr. Martha Feder’s library offerings, for employees and for each other who made the 2012 retreat a highly holy journey.
      Sr. Martha Walther, OSB