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Category: Monastic Spirituality



How do we live out of our most authentic selves?  The self that Thomas Merton described as the True Self, the one that was created by God and dwells in God.  He said it is like a wave in the ocean of God, or a flame in God’s fire.  We are distinct from God, but also a part of the sacred presence in the world. We live in challenging times.  Of course, I often think that life itself is challenging whenever you live it.  But these times we live with so many choices and possibilities it can be paralyzing.  At

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Priory in Images

  This statue is of St. Placid and stands in front of the main building at St. Placid Priory.  Click the link to read the story of this relatively unknown Saint. I love what the sisters say about the anawim and being in solidarity with the least. Their chapel is very modern and simple.  My favorite part are the windows that look out onto the lush trees surrounding the Priory. They remind me when we pray the Psalms together here that creation is God’s first scripture. I also love watching the stained glass under the skylights above cast their hue on the wall and make their

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Monastic Commitment

  Tomorrow I head down to the Priory for our annual Oblate retreat, the topic is “The Heart of an Oblate” and I am looking forward to spending time with some of my Oblate friends.  Sister Lucy asked if I would consider being a mentor this coming year to someone who is becoming an Oblate candidate, which means she is exploring the possibility of making this commitment to our community.  I was delighted to be asked, even more delighted when I was matched with a woman I already know and for whom I have great fondness and engage in stimulating conversation.  I

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As I get older, I am slowly learning to take myself and my work less seriously. It is the fruit of embracing humility–that monastic virtue whose root is humus, meaning “of the earth.” At the same time, the more I let go of plans that don’t feed me, and the more I allow myself to go out to bloom, the more I experience a deep sense of peace within myself.  I am becoming the peace I want to see bloom in the world. In a world of busyness and productivity, we need a lot more uselessness, more being, more poets, artists, and monks

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Rule of Life at the Abbey

I have been reading a wonderful article from The Way journal by Andrew Linzey who is a theologian and writer on animal theology.  I was delighted to discover that he has in fact published several books on the subject.  Linzey writes: “People who keep animals have often made  an elementary but profound discovery: animals are not machines or commodities, but beings with their own God-given lives, individuality, and personality.  At their best, relationships with companion animals can help us to grow in mutuality, self-giving, and trust.”  (emphasis mine)  He goes on to quote theologian Stephen Webb who sees in these relationships

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Sacredness of All Things

I love poetry that speaks of the holiness of the ordinary, the sacredness of all things. We make artificial divisions between sacred and secular, between what is worthy of our awe and gratitude and what is not. This is one of the elements I love most about Benedictine spirituality. In the Rule, Benedict wrote that “all utensils and goods of the monastery” are to be treated as “sacred vessels of the altar.” (RB 31:10-11) Esther DeWaal writes that Benedictine life “simply consists in doing the ordinary things of daily life carefully and lovingly, with the attention and reverence that can

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Welcome to ‘Abbey of the Arts’

I spent some of my time away over Christmas reflecting on the year ahead and what direction I want to take some of my creative work.  I am not much into goal-setting, because my spiritual path tends to be much more organic, focused on listening to what is emerging and unfolding in me in a particular moment and trying to honor that impulse.  In many ways this practice is a balance to my own natural tendency to live in the future and always imagine what is next.  I do value big visions, as long as part of my plans are to make

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