Pray for us during our time of retreat; we shall keep you in our prayers.
This week many of our sisters are gathered at the monastery for retreat.  The sister who coordinates our on-going formation sets a week for retreat that accommodates most of our sisters’ varying schedules due to their ministry and service in different works of the Church. Those who cannot attend this retreat are called to set aside another time and can retreat privately with a director, attend a retreat some where else, or retreat with a series of talks or spiritual book.

Brother Zachary Wilberding, OSB from Saint Meinrad Archabbey will be our retreat director.  His conferences will focus on “Freedom Through Forgiveness” and “will explore the power of anger to keep us captive and practical ways in which the forgiveness taught by Jesus can free us.” All of this with be viewed through reflection on Scripture, The Rule of Benedict, and story.  During this year of Covid-19 concerns, we’ve had to think around a few problems.  Our retreat director will be joining us electronically via Google-Meet to share his conferences and reflections. In keeping with recommended social distancing, some sisters who have been away from home are not able to be with us at the monastery; they too will be listening to the retreat Brother Zachary’s conferences via Google. Thankfully, these electronic advances help us continue to meet our Federation and Monastery norms concerning the importance of retreat in our spiritual lives.

Listen I (General Norms of our Federation) recognizes that “Benedictine formation is a lifelong process of daily conversion within a dynamic, monastic faith community.  The entire community is responsible, under the direction of the prioress, for the ongoing formation of all sisters.  The monastery fulfills this responsibility when it provides the environment for the sisters to share their life together in faith and to continue their own daily effort toward growth in Christ” (G111).

Listen II (Specific Norms of our Federation) reminds the prioress that “the Monastery Norms specifies the ways a monastery provides for the continuing spiritual development of its sisters, such as community renewal, annual retreats, days of recollection and other opportunities” (S129).

Our Listen III or Monastery Norms (specific to our monastic guidance) take all this into account and very simply states a list of items to support this continuing formation including “annual retreats” (M111.g).  Simple…However, this yearly week of retreat is so important within our monastic life that it is even written into our contracts so we that may set at least a week aside for personal and private prayer, reflection, and community.
Retreat allows for a deepening of relationship with God in the silence of our day, broken only by Sister’s conferences and our prayer, and through our personal prayer which supports our times of Liturgy of the Hours.  All this additional time in prayer reminds us to follow Saint Benedict’s injunction on the oratory:
“Let the oratory be what is 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.  And that 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 52).

During our retreat, we will continue to hold you and your intentions in both our communal Liturgy of the Hours and personal prayer.

Blessings to you,

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