One Heart and One Soul: Stories from our Monastic Home"And so we are going to establish a school for the service of the Lord...For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love." Rule of Benedict, Prologue 45-49
Tonight we begin our celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the patronal feast of our monastery. We will begin this evening with first Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. The celebration continues on the day of the Feast with our prayer and Eucharist being celebrated in the Bishop Marty Chapel. The Psalms and antiphons all echoing the reminders of Christ’s great love for us poured out through His Sacred Heart.
“Let us love one another with fervent love, endure one another’s infirmities; patiently serve and obey one another, and prefer nothing whatever to Christ.”
~ Vespers Antiphon
“Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love”
~ Hosea 11
The day of prayer is accented with little joys to join in the celebration: flavored coffee during the day and time to gather for laughter and recreation. These little joys are part of our family tradition too. Tradition runs deep in our Benedictine life. The mosaic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (below) in the Chapter room of the monastery. He has was designed by the artisan sisters in our community; each sister in our community joined in the art by placing individual tiles within the design. The lintel block of our name (below) was placed above our early convent doorway over a hundred years ago. When we rebuilt the monastery in 1999-2000, the lintel was preserved and still declares our presence. Today, it is built into the retaining wall of the flowerbeds in front of the monastery.
We invite you to join us in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel for our celebration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:
~ First Vespers ~ Thursday, June 22nd at 5:15 PM
~ Lauds ~ Friday, June 23rd at 6:30 AM
~ Celebration of the Eucharist following prayer at approximately 6:50 AM
~ Vespers ~ Friday at 5:15 PM
on this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
we remember the love with which you first loved us.
We remember the gift of your Son,
Jesus Christ who brings us to birth and feeds us
with the blood and water flowing from his side, pierced on the cross.
Inspired by the Spirit of Love, we desire to give our hearts to you,
and to make the heart of Jesus our own.
Through his most Sacred Heart
we consecrate to you our monastery, the life and work
of each member of this community, and our beloved sick.
We ask you to receive this offering, which we make through Christ,
in the power of the Holy Spirit, one with you forever and ever. Amen.
Blessings to you,
This weekend is TRIPLE the celebration for the monastery. We will be gathering for our Monastic Chapter, installing Sr. Maribeth as our fourteenth prioress, and celebrating the descent of the Spirit upon the Apostles with Pentecost Sunday.
It is wonderfully appropriate that our June Monastic Chapter should coincide with Pentecost, for we rely on the wisdom and guidance of the Spirit as we discern the needs of our monastic community. We also ask for your prayers as all of our sisters, from prioress to novice, travel home to discuss the “important business [that] has to be done in the monastery” (Rule of Benedict 3:1).
Whenever any important business has to be done in the monastery, let the Abbot call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted upon. Then, having heard the brethren’s advice, let him turn the matter over in his own mind and do what he shall judge to be most expedient. The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.Let the brethren give their advice with all the deference required by humility, and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions; but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot’s judgment, and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare. However, just as it is proper for the disciples to obey their master, so also it is his function to dispose all things with prudence and justice (Rule of Benedict 3).
Sister Maribeth, do you promise to encourage your sisters to love God, to live the Gospel, and to observe the Rule of Benedict?
Sister Maribeth, are you resolved to encourage your sisters to be faithful to the traditions of the monastic way of life by example as well as by words?
Over the past year, our sisters have been meeting with liturgical advisers and artists, seeking to renew our Peace Chapel space. We desired to keep many of our original sacred elements: the hand carved legs of the altar and ambo, the simple black iron candle stands, as well as the tabernacle, eternal light, and stands designed by one of our sisters. We were also planning for our sisters; chairs with arms to support our elders, chairs with padding to warm the color of the Chapel and absorb the echo from the brick and sandstone walls.
Our central worship space was back-lit by our beautiful stained glass windows. However, the light from the windows and open walkway space distracted our focus of vision and prayer from the altar, the center of our Eucharistic Celebration. It was advised to create a solid wall to backdrop and draw due honor to the altar, ambo, and presider’s chair. Both pictures show our Chapel during the Easter Season, and the Easter banners and Candle highlight the joy-filled season in our new Peace Chapel. As the Church seasons change, our sisters will bring different artwork, banners, and statues to highlight the space and draw our prayers together at the altar. You are welcome to join in the prayer of the Divine Office and the Celebration of the Eucharist with us weekdays in the Peace Chapel.
Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer; and let nothing else be done there or kept there. When the Work of God is ended, let all go out in perfect silence, and let reverence for God be observed, so that any sister who may wish to pray privately will not be hindered by another’s misconduct (Rule of Benedict, chapter 52).
We have also been renovating the chapel set aside for the reservation of the Eucharist. The tabernacle has always held a place of honor in the center of the space, but the pale curtain did not fully highlight the tabernacle. The renovation changed the curtain out for another wall, this one with a slight curve and a warm and rich color to draw our eyes to the center. The deep wine of the wall brings an even greater shine to the tabernacle peak and causes the contrast of the oak and iron to stand out. You are welcome to take time in your day to rest and pray with our Lord.
And at other times also, if anyone should want to pray by herself, let her go in simply and pray, not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart. She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore, shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory when the Work of God is ended, lest another be hindered, as we have said (Rule of Benedict, chapter 52).
Blessings to you,
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Pope Francis said, “The Eucharist affects the way we see others. In his life, Christ manifested his love by being with people, and by sharing their desires and problems. So, too, the Eucharist brings us together with others–young and old, poor and affluent, neighbors and visitors. The Eucharist calls us to see all of them as our brothers and sisters, and to see in them the face of Christ.” ~ February 14, 2014 General Audience.
God Bless You for Visiting!