Wednesday, July 8, 2009

BSWR and Back

Summers at the monastery are a wonderful treat, if you're a mission sister. Of course, sometimes it seems everyone is coming or going on vacation or retreat, or is off studying somewhere, or who knows what! For about three weeks in June I was one of the travelers, attending BSWR (Benedictine Spirituality Workshop and Retreat, a.k.a. "vow camp") at the Benedictine monastery in Yankton, South Dakota. Basically the program is two weeks of participating in lots of conferences on various Benedictine topics, then a lovely week of silent retreat. It provides time and space for sisters preparing for perpetual profession to reflect on whether this really is the life for them.

I enjoyed the conferences, for the most part, and the various artsy things we did, but I loved talking with the ten other sisters from other monasteries. We were able to compare notes on how we live this life, to laugh at some of our communities' common quirks, and to appreciate the gifts that make each of our monasteries special. While every one sounded good in its own way, I was happy to realize that I do love my own monastery and my own sisters the best! Sometimes being away helps you realize better where your home truly is.

We also talked about the future of monastic life, and I think we all were surprised and delighted to realize that while we may live the life a little differently, we all have a common vision of what we'd like Benedictine life to look like in 10-15 years. We agree on the main values, and we want to live our charism as authentically as we can. Benedictines have been around for 1500 years; while changes may come, especially for individual monasteries, as an order, we probably aren't disappearing any day soon. We all shared a lot of energetic hope about where we are going.

Having gained a little perspective, I am happy to be back in Ferdinand again, being hospitality minister for our chaplains and guests at prayer and mass, answering the phone at switchboard, helping in the liturgy office, and working in the bakery. (Not all at once!) I count it a grace to realize anew how blessed we really are. Feel free to come visit sometime!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you learned a lot when you were away in South Dakota at "vow camp". I look forward to doing those types of things in the near future! I also look forward to hearing all about it in person from you when I get there in August! Take care and thanks for your blog!
    Alex Larsen