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Category: Monastic Spirituality


Living Out the New Creation

I have a deep affinity for crows and ravens as they seem to connect two important parts of my life together.  Ravens and crows are a part of the same Corvidae or Crow family with ravens being larger and perferring wilder places. Saint Benedict (whose Feast Day is today) is often depicted with a raven by his side because legend has it that a raven saved him from eating poisoned bread. Special connections and relationships to animals were once a sign of holiness.  Thomas Merton wrote in one of his letters that this is what the monastic life is ideally all about: “the

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Measuring Time

         Before I left for Ireland I had a dream in which my husband and I return to our old apartment building in San Francisco which was going to be demolished and help to save an old clock tower that rests on top of it (the clock tower is not there in waking life).  I brought this dream to my spiritual director who pointed out that clock towers rest at the junction between chronos time and kairos time.  For those of you not familiar with those terms, chronos time refers to everyday time, the time we measure out

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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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