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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

Prayer ~ Our Common Work

Greetings,

As Benedictines, our common prayer is central to our charism.  The Liturgy of the Hours also called the Divine Office is so much a part of our daily schedule that we sometimes don’t recognize how unique it might be to others outside of our life.  The National Religious Vocations Conference reinforced the importance of our common prayer when they shared a recent “Fun Fact Friday“:

What attracts people to religious life? The top two reasons, say new members, are a sense of call and a desire for prayer and spiritual growth
(Source: 2016 USCCB/CARA Profession Class Reports).

When asked what attracted them to religious life, 76% of new entrants identified prayer and spiritual growth as “very much” a part of that attraction. Us too!  Benedictines have been gathering for community prayer of the Divine Office for over 1500 years!


Benedict’s Rule established common prayer in the center of his plan for community life.  The Rule of Benedict includes at least 20 of his 73 chapters dedicated to the topic of the Divine Office including: the organization of Psalms, the times for prayer, and even seating arrangements at prayer.  Our sisters begin the day with Lauds, the morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, and Celebration of the Eucharist with the whole community.  After lunch, our sisters gather with their living groups for Noon Praise before continuing their day of service for God’s People. The community returns to Chapel before supper for Vespers, evening prayer. Finally, the day ends with the sisters sharing Compline, night prayer, in their living groups.

81% of New Entrants also identified a sense of a call to religious life as a part of their attraction. In chapter 58 of the Rule of Benedict, our founder connected a person’s sense of call to their dedication to the Work of God (prayer).

“A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls, to watch over them with the utmost care. Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God, and whether she is zealous for the Work of God…” (RB 58).

A Sister guides our postulants and novices to help them learn to balance time for prayer, work, and study during their first two years in our Benedictine Community. Sometimes the lessons overlap; they study the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalms, and forms of personal prayer that are traditional to our Benedictine life.  This study helps our new members understand the history, tradition, and faith expressed in our communal prayer.  It also guides them as they continue to reflect and discern on their sense of call.

Wondering if our life of Liturgy of the Hours and service to the people of God is for you?  We invite you to join us for a “Come and See”, some time set apart to reflect on God’s call in your life.

Blessings to you,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

Celebrating Saints Maur and Placid

Greetings,

On January 15th Benedictines celebrate two saints mentioned in Book Two of the Dialogues telling about the Life of Saint Benedict.  In chapter seven, Saint Gregory the Great tells the story of Maur walking, well running, upon the water to save young Placid.  Although his actions are amazing, the story’s emphasis isn’t about the miracle, but Maur’s humble obedience in the extraordinary circumstance to rescue Placid who had been faithful in the everyday matters in following the will of Abbot Benedict and God.  Benedict’s Rule teaches that:Rule Benedict Obedience Yankton Benedictines Sacred Heart Monastery Sisters Nuns

“The first degree of humility is obedience without delay. This is the virtue of those who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ; who, because of the holy service they have professed, and the fear of hell, and the glory of life everlasting, as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior, receive it as a divine command and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.  Of these the Lord says, “As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me”.  And again to teachers He says, “He who hears you, hears Me” …

But this very obedience will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all only if what is commanded is done without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.  For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God, since He Himself has said, “He who hears you, hears Me”.  And the disciples should offer their obedience with good will, for “God loves a cheerful giver”…   (Rule of Benedict Chapter 5).

Benedict calls for not only a faithful obedience to the superior but also a cheerful and heartfelt obedience to our community (Rule of Benedict, Chapter 71). Celebrating this dual Feast of Saints Maur and Placid reminds us to celebrate our loving service to each other.

Maurus Placid Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel Sister Nuns Yankton Benedictines“Once while blessed Benedict was in his room, one of his monks, the boy Placid, went down to get some water. In letting the bucket fill too rapidly, he lost his balance and was pulled into the lake, where the current quickly seized him and carried him about a stone’s throw from the shore. Though inside the monastery at the time, the man of God was instantly aware of what had happened and instantly called out to Maurus: “Hurry, Brother Maurus! The boy who just went down for water has fallen into the lake, and the current is carrying him away!

What followed was remarkable indeed, and unheard of since the time of Peter the apostle! Maurus asked for the blessing and on receiving it hurried out to fulfill his abbot’s command. He kept on running even over the water until he reached the place where Placid was drifting along helplessly. Pulling him up by the hair, Maurus rushed back to shore, still under the impression that he was on dry ground that he came to himself and looking back realized that he had been running on the surface of the water. Overcome with fear and amazement at a deed he would never have thought possible, he returned to his abbot and told him what had taken place.

The holy man would not take any personal credit for the deed but attributed it to the obedience of his disciple. Maurus on the contrary claimed that it was due entirely to his abbot’s command. He could not have been responsible for the miracle himself, he said, since he had not even known he was performing it. While they were carrying on this friendly contest of humility, the question was settled by the boy who had been rescued. “When I was being drawn out of the water,” he told them, “I saw the abbot’s cloak over my head; he is the only I thought was bringing me to shore.”

Peter:  What marvelous deeds these are! They are sure to prove inspiring to all who hear of them.”
(Book Two of the Dialogues: Life of Saint Benedict Chapter 7).

We invite you to reflect on Saint Gregory the Great’s story of the young saints and find a word or two to call you to care for your community today…

Blessings to you,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

Epiphany Hospitality

Greetings,

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. Tonight at the monastery the sisters will process out of Chapel after Vespers to bless the main entrance of the monastery. In the midst of a simple prayer, the prioress uses blessed chalk to write the ancient inscription above our monastery doors “20+C+M+B+18”.  A reminder that our Benedictine Hospitality is extended to all those who come through these doors and enter our home.

Epiphany Blessing

Leader:         Let us bless the Lord, who gives us this home, filled with warmth and light.

All:      Blessed be God forever.

Write over the doorway:    20 + C + M + B + 18

Reader:         The crosses stand for the four seasons and the C.M.B. are the initials of the three Magi.  The chalk inscription is a reminder to welcome with hospitality all who travel here and treat them as Christ in our midst.

Leader:         God of all time and space, may this home be filled with kindness to one another, with hospitality to guests, and with abundant care for every stranger.  By the gentle light of a star, guide home all who seek You on paths of wonder, peace and charity, where we will join with the angels in proclaiming your praise:

All:      Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth now and forever.  Amen

Leader:  Let us give thanks to God now and forever.

All:  Amen


This welcome to strangers is also reflected in prophetic reading from the Mass celebrating this Feast of Epiphany…

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.  Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.  Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.  Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.  Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD (Isaiah 60: 1-6).


It is a joy-filled reading of the promised savior to come…Isaiah so long ago shared this vision of hope for everyone. But it is as vibrant in its promise today, we are all called to gather in the radiant light of the King. An amazing reminder that we are called to all come together and share in the blessing of Christ.

Blessings to you,

Praying for Peace

Greetings,

On New Year’s Eve, we joined with Pope Francis’ call for prayer on this 51st World Day of Prayer for Peace. If you weren’t able to  join our vigil here at the monastery, we invite you to share in our prayer in heart and soul wherever you may be.

From Pope Francis’ Message on the World Day of Peace:

Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night,is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.” In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.

In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.

We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others. Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home (Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search for peace).

Hymn:  Prayer of St. Francis

~Silent Prayer~

From Pope Francis’ Message on the World Day of Peace:

The wisdom of faith fosters a contemplative gaze that recognizes that all of us “belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth, whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.” These words evoke the biblical image of the new Jerusalem. The book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) and that of Revelation (chapter 21) describe the city with its gates always open to people of every nation, who marvel at it and fill it with riches. Peace is the sovereign that guides it and justice the principle that governs coexistence within it.

We must also turn this contemplative gaze to the cities where we live, “a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their houses, in their streets and squares, […] fostering solidarity, fraternity, and the desire for goodness, truth and justice” – in other words, fulfilling the promise of peace.

When we turn that gaze to migrants and refugees, we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them. We also come to see the creativity, tenacity and spirit of sacrifice of the countless individuals, families and communities around the world who open their doors and hearts to migrants and refugees, even where resources are scarce.

A contemplative gaze should also guide the discernment of those responsible for the public good, and encourage them to pursue policies of welcome, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good” – bearing in mind, that is, the needs of all members of the human family and the welfare of each.

Those who see things in this way will be able to recognize the seeds of peace that are already sprouting and nurture their growth. Our cities, often divided and polarized by conflicts regarding the presence of migrants and refugees, will thus turn into workshops of peace (Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search for peace).

~Silent Prayer~

Sung Prayer: Psalm 85

~Silent Prayer~

Reading: Matthew 5: 39-45

~Silent Prayer~

Intercessions: For those we are especially aware of this night, we life our hearts and voices in prayer to our compassionate God…
~For all who are living in fear amidst armed conflict and war…
+Show us Your mercy and grant us Your peace.
~For all who are mourning the violent loss of loved ones…
+Show us Your mercy and grant us Your peace.
~For all who have been wounded in body, mind, or spirit by violence…
+Show us Your mercy and grant us Your peace.
~For all who have fled their homes and are living in refugee camps…
+Show us Your mercy and grant us Your peace.
~For all who are working to bring aid into war-torn areas…
+Show us Your mercy and grant us Your peace.
~For world leaders, departments of state, ambassadors, diplomats,
and all who in any way further the cause of peace…
+Show us Your mercy and grant us Your peace.

Our Father

~Sign of Peace~

Closing from Pope Francis’ Message on the World Day of Peace:

God of Tender Compassion, hear the powerful cry for peace that has gone up from every land. Let us draw inspiration from the words of Saint John Paul II: “If the ‘dream’ of a peaceful world is shared by all, if the refugees’ and migrants’ contribution is more properly evaluated, then humanity can become more and more a universal family and our earth a true ‘common home’.” Renew our hope and faith, so that we may be instruments of Your grace and peace for each other, for our communities, and for our world. We pray now and forever in the name of the Prince of Peace (Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search for peace).
+Amen

Sung Blessing: Dona nobis pacem, pacem; Dona nobis pacem.

Blessings to you,

The Blessing of Wine

Greetings,

The Catholic Church continues the celebration of Christ’s Incarnation with feasts of the Saints and Apostles who proclaimed his message.  Yesterday, the Church honored Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist; our Monastic custom honors the Apostle and Evangelist with a special blessing of wine. It may seem at bit odd to honor the Beloved Disciple with a blessing and sharing of wine, but the tradition is two-fold in its origin.

First, it is a custom in the old countries to drink of “St. John’s Love”. The Church provided a special blessing of wine in honor of the Saint. According to legend St. John drank a glass of poisoned wine without suffering harm because he had blessed it before he drank. Second, the wine is also a symbol of the great love of Christ that filled St. John’s heart with loyalty, courage and enthusiasm for his Master; he alone of all the apostles [as well as Jesus’ Mother and Mary Magdalene] was not afraid to stay close to Our Lord during the Passion and Crucifixion. (CatholicCulture)

The sisters gathered in the monastic refectory (dining room) to celebrate the Feast of St. John by blessing of our gifts of Christmas wine: boxes of white zinfandel next to bottles of Merlot and even a bottle or two of Mogen David. The blessing began with a call and response, a reading from the first letter of John, and then the prioress sprinkled all the wine and sisters with holy water. Finally, Prioress Maribeth completed the blessing with a prayer that closed with a toast!

The meal was our simple Wednesday fare, but with a glass or two of wine, we all lingered at our tables. The refectory was filled with stories, chatting, and laughter…the sound of sisters catching up as family. These long meals are a gift to share our  Christmas stories and memories, and each sister has so many tales to tell!

(The Blessing Prayer)
Almighty and ever-living God,
You loved us so much,
that in the fullness of time
You sent Your eternal Word, born of Mary
to make His dwelling among us.
We ask You to bless this wine
which You have given us to cheer our hearts.
As we share this fruit of the vine,
empower us to become Your children.
Make us one in love
that we may share in fullness the life of Your Son,
Your Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendor of eternal light,
God for ever and ever.

(The Toast)
“Taste and see that the Lord is good! Amen”

Christmas blessings to you,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

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Monastic Horarium

Our weekday schedule at the Monastery.
6:00 AM ~ Early Breakfast
6:30 AM ~ Lauds in Peace Chapel
6:50 AM ~ Mass
7:30 AM ~ Breakfast
* Ministry and Service
12:00 PM ~ Lunch
12:45 PM ~ Noon Praise
* Ministry and Service
5:15 PM ~ Vespers in Peace Chapel
5:45 PM ~ Supper Evening
* Recreation and Compline
blog image- Wooden door inside Bishop Marty Chapel

The weekend horarium allows for a reflective start to the day.

7:00 AM ~ Breakfast
8:30 AM ~ Lauds
         Saturday in Peace Chapel

         Sunday in Bishop Marty Chapel

* Ministry and Service
12:00 PM ~ Lunch
12:45 PM ~ Noon Praise
* Ministry and Service
Saturday Evening
         Supper, Vespers, and

         Recreation in Living Groups

Sunday Evening
5:00 ~ Vespers Bishop Marty Chapel
5:30 ~ Supper
*Recreation and Compline

 

Prayer for Vocations

Prayer for Vocations God of Love,
You call us to live in your love through the grace of our baptism.
Bless us with the courage to carry out the mission of Jesus.
Grant us open and generous hearts to see the needs of others
and to respond with compassion.
May the Church be blest with women and men who are dedicated to you through marriage, the single life,
the diaconate, priesthood, and the consecrated life.
It is in Christ and through Christ
that we offer ourselves to you now and forever. ~Amen

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About the Author…

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I entered our Monastery on January 3rd, 1998. After professing my temporary vows, I began to teach high school English and speech. During this time, our community accepted me into Perpetual Monastic Profession. Now, I am teaching Theology while living on ‘mission’ in a city not too far from the sisters at the Monastery. Benedictine life is filled with opportunities to learn from the constant call to minister to each other. My stories and tales grow out of these opportunities to serve and learn within community life. blog

Eucharistic Love

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!

Yankton Benedictine Sisters blog

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