On the Craftsmen

Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 57 for April 10If 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 … [Read more...]

Bad Benedictine; "I love you, go home!"

As I anticipate coming into my tenth year as a Benedictine Oblate, I rejoice that the effect of Benedictine spirituality in my life has helped me to become less savage than I was, although I am still quite feral in some ways. But, as I explain in my latest column at First Things, there is a part of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict that still has me stymied: Benedictine Hospitality, and St. Benedict's dictum that we must receive everyone we encounter as receiving Christ. I have a long way to go, … [Read more...]

DigitalNun's Catholic Daily

The Benedictine Nuns of Holy Trinity Monastery in East Hendred in the UK are very sharp ladies. They continue the Benedictine tradition that once upon a time took place in the scriptorium by adapting it to the modern age and through their sophisticated website which offers an Online Retreat Service, a blog, digibooks, podcasts and more.Their offerings are uniformly excellent, but my favorite thing is the DigitalNun Daily, a virtual daily newspaper in which they cull together online articles on … [Read more...]

On the Measure of Food

Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 39 - for March 18... Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day, whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper. If they are to have supper, the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound to be given them at supper. But if it happens that the work was heavier, it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power, should it be expedient, to add something to the fare. Above all things, however, overindulgence must be avoided and a monk must … [Read more...]

Nun Humor on Fasting, More – UPDATED

By a Benedictine with a sense of humor.Benedictines -- at least the "old school" ones -- are bound by their vow of poverty to waste nothing, even unto making a little pile of their breadcrumbs and such from each meal and consuming it. So, for them every crumb does count...especially in Lent, when the fasting is (again, for "old school" Benedictines and more traditionally-minded monastics) fairly regimented.In his Holy Rule, Benedict writes:The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. … [Read more...]

Nuns, Monks, Friars Linkfest! – UPDATED

It's unusual to be writing much about monks, nuns and friars in February, but for some reason I have a flurry of news and reports, so here goes!The Norbertine Sisters are a very interesting group of women. You know they make fabulous Christmas Wreaths each year (we had ours by the end of November and only just threw it out because it seemed oddball to have a wreath up at Valentine's Day, but it still looked great, still wasn't dropping needles!)Well, the sisters are finally established as … [Read more...]

St. Scholastica; Irritating Sister

photosourceWhen I made my first inquiries about becoming a Benedictine Oblate, I received this icon with the monastery's response. It sits on my desk, still.Today is the feast of St. Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia. Very little is known about her, historically, and there is some debate about where her relics may be. While in Rome, we were able to take a tour of the monastery and cave at Subiaco, where Benedict founded the order, and our helpful guide communicated … [Read more...]

Interrupted by God…UPDATED

I love this piece by Benedictine Sister Ann Marie Wainright, writing from St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota:When I transitioned from my life as a layperson into life as a new postulant, getting used to the “interruptions” in my day was a challenging adjustment at times. The bells tolled, I dropped what I was doing and went to prayer. Afterwards, I returned to my previous work, studies, or ministry, or perhaps I shifted gears and began a new task, leaving the former one unfinished. … [Read more...]