“All love relationships don’t end at the altar!” – Part I

As a rule, when it comes to interviewing celebrities, Tony Rossi is our go-to guy, around here. Last week, though, he could not work into his schedule an opportunity to talk to Mother Dolores Hart, the actress-turned-Benedictine-nun who was the subject of last year's documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis", and this year's best-seller, The Ear of the Heart. Mother Dolores is currently missing her cloister while she makes a major promotional tour in support of the book, and I had the opportunity … [Read more...]

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Benedictine Voices: Angels and Saints Debuts at #1

So, Katrina is in one of her hissing moods, tonight, and I have decided that what she needs is to listen to the incredibly sweet tone of the Benedictines of Mary, whose latest album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus has debuted at #1 on the Classical music charts.Why am I doing this? Because that's just the kind of gal I am, and also because "music hath charms to soothe the savage breast", and for soothing the savage there is almost nothing better than this stuff. I don't know if it's because … [Read more...]

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Advent: Love Words and Expectations in the Dark – UPDATED

I am so grateful that Advent is upon us; my favorite time of year! It is all hope, depth, mystery and promise of light, and it feels like we need it; it feels as though we have all been so occupied with politics, natural disasters, willful (and unpersuasive) belligerence and our own daily anxieties and stresses -- so many people I know are anticipating Christmas with dread rather than joy -- that we need our heads turned toward something great!In my column at The Catholic Answer I put it … [Read more...]

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Portrait of Saint Francis, Subiaco – UPDATED

When we visited the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco in 2010, my husband -- obedient fellow that he is -- did not take pictures of the glorious and vivid ancient frescoes that so fully adorn its walls. It was a grief to me, at the time, because my eyes couldn't take it all in, and I wanted to remember. But of course, I got the souvenir book, which I do look at, and there is the internet, where one can still get a glimpse.It's not the same as being there, of course, amid the cave where Benedict … [Read more...]

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“An Experiment in Catholic Old Media”

I'm going to write more about the Catholic New Media Conference a bit later, but this is one part of the conference that I just need to give a space of its own.You know what these conferences are like, right? There's a thousand people milling about, and after a while one feels lost amid a sea of new faces, but then something stands out. For me, it was a young, tousled-haired man wearing a tee-shirt showing a monstrance and the simple word: ADORE."I like that," I told him."Thanks, … [Read more...]

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Why not a Religious Vocation “Mission”?

Over at Word on Fire Ministries, Rozann Carter notes a Mormon celebrity putting his career on hold to make a two-year "mission" and wonders why Catholics don't have a similar mechanism in place to encourage religious vocations:I don’t agree with the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Nor am I advocating that charity, service, and evangelism should be mandated, like some sort of religious draft. But, there is something here, something in the Mormon faith, that speaks … [Read more...]

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Learning The Artist's Rule

I'm a sucker for wavy stripes; I find them restful. So when I saw the cover of Christine Valters Paintner's The Artist's Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom, I gave a little gasp of appreciation -- okay, I stared at it in a kind of bliss for a while -- and anticipated in those blurred, calming lines the message: more restful stuff within!Well. . .yes and no. There's a little treasure trove within the book, but how restful one finds it depends, ultimately, upon one's … [Read more...]

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St. Benedict: Stability and Detachment

Today is the feastday of St. Benedict of Nurcia, who is regarded the Father of Western Monasticism. He is also one of the Patron Saints of Europe, and our dear Holy Father Benedict XVI, who made a retreat at the saints own Subiaco monastery just before his elevation to the Papacy. Although I am a very bad Benedictine, I do my poor Oblate best to honor our founder, today, whose Holy Rule has shaped and defined monasticism for both Benedictines and Trappists and has even been adopted by … [Read more...]

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How Pilgrim Monks are to be Received

Part of my Lent has been re-reading the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, pertinent to the day. It's been speaking to me in very personal and private ways.Today as I contemplate a great decision that involved travel and has me doubting and unsure, the lesson is about stability, which is actually one of the Benedictine vows:If a pilgrim monk coming from a distant region wants to live as a guest of the monastery, let him be received for as long a time as he desires, provided he is … [Read more...]

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On the Craftsmen

If there are craftsmen in the monastery, let them practice their crafts with all humility, provided the Abbot has given permission. But if any one of them becomes conceited over his skill in his craft, because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery, let him be taken from his craft and no longer exercise it unless, after he has humbled himself, the Abbot again gives him permission. If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold, let those through whose hands … [Read more...]

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