Tuesday, April 29, 2008

8th Grade Field Trip...to Washington, DC!

On Wednesday, at 2:30 in the morning, I'll be boarding a bus with twenty-nine 8th graders and 10 other adults.  We will be touring Washington, DC until Saturday where we will gather at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Basilica at 5:15 to celebrate the Ascension of Jesus.  Please keep us in your prayers.  Check back to hear more about this adventure!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Seeking God's Will in Our Daily Lives

Come and See Benedictine Vocation Retreat Opportunity in Beech Grove, Indiana at Our Lady of Grace Monastery

If you are a single Catholic Woman between the ages of 18-40 and in the midst of discerning God's voice in your life...have I a deal for you!  Please make plans to attend a very special vocation retreat weekend with us.  Sr. Marie Therese Racine and Sr. Anne Louise Frederick will be sharing their Monastic call with all who participate in this holy weekend.  You will have the opportunity to witness Sr. Julie Sewell professing her 1st Monastic Profession.  You will pray with the sisters of St. Benedict and enjoy talking to many sisters about their love for God and the Benedictine Way of Life.  There is NO CHARGE for this retreat.  The retreat begins at 7:00 P.M. on Friday, June 20, 2008 and ends at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday June 22nd.  All you need to bring is an open heart and mind!  For more information about this weekend you can go to our website at: www.benedictine.com

I hope to hear from you soon.

A Commentary for the 6th Sunday of Easter by Sr. Antoinette Purcell, OSB

Reflection on the Gospel of John 14:15-21

"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth."  It is suggested that "Advocate" is more accurately translated as "Paraclete" from the Greek, "parakletos" meaning "helper" or literally, "called to one's side."  Jesus says the Father will give us another paraclete or helper which implies that we already have one.  That one is of course, Jesus, who has been our advocate, paraclete or helper.  Jesus is the one who revealed truth to us during his time on earth.  As he goes, he sends the Spirit to be our Advocate, Paraclete or Helper on earth.

At the death of a Rabbi, his disciples were considered as orphans.  But Jesus tells us that he does not leave us as orphans because he will come back to us in the form of the Spirit. With the Spirit as our Advocate, Paraclete, Helper, we can see God through his indwelling presence in self, others, Scripture and creation. 

Obedience to God's commandment prepared us to receive the gifts which God desires to give us.  God's commandment boils down to love and mercy.  When we are loving and merciful, as God is loving and merciful, then we realize that we are one with the Father just as Jesus is one with the Father.  It is the Spirit who helps us to be loving and merciful as God.  When we love as God loves then we see the truth about our self, about others, and about our world because the Spirit of Truth who remains with us helps us to see. This is the truth that sets us free.  We are not hindered by a false self that distorts our vision so our love is like God's love that is always free and full of mercy.

As Christians, we know we can be tempted to feel scattered and isolated in a culture that does not share our faith.  Christ is our rule of life and his words come to life in our hearts through the indwelling of the Spirit. The more we venerate the Spirit in our hearts, the more deeply the  Spirit can lead us to the truth and the greater our ability to know Christ and live by his commandment.  Take a few moments to get in touch with the Spirit dwelling within you who is our Advocate, Paraclete, Helper.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Steps to becoming a Benedictine Sister Part One

Have you considered a lifetime dedicated to loving God and serving the people of God?  Maybe you have what it takes to be a Benedictine woman.  

Do you have:
  • a longing to Seek God?
  • a generous heart?
  • a desire to live with other women who share your desire to Seek God?
  • a deep desire to be in union with God?
  • a positive outlook and attitude about life?
  • a healthy body and a strong mind?
  • a desire to be of service to God's people?
  • a willingness to grow in holiness?
If this sounds like you, keep reading this blog to discover steps to becoming a Benedictine Sister at Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Commentary for the 5th Sunday of Easter by Sr. Susan Marie Lindstrom, OSB

The passage we hear today from John's gospel is part of Jesus' farewell discourse...his final words of challenge, instruction, hope and encouragement for those who have journeyed with him.  In the ancient world a person's last words were always very special. Biographers would take great care to ensure that they contained the most important things that future generations should learn. While the gospels are not biographies, they are written to a particular audience.  John's listeners are both Jews and gentiles, all now calling themselves Christians, many of whom have been victims of persecution.  To the early church community, the instruction, "Do not let your hearts be troubled" would have been significant.  Today, we might call it "guarding your hearts."  In Greek, the statement is, "Decide not to let your hearts be troubled."  Faith and trust in Jesus, who reveals Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life, is a conscious, deliberate choice.  The apostles were confused and distressed; Jesus tried to reassure them that if they kept their hearts open to what they had seen and heard while they were with Him, they could remain strong.  For us, St. Benedict echoes similar sentiments.  What is more delightful than this voice of God calling to us?  See how God, in love, shows us the way of life.  (Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue 19, 20)

Today, in a church that is so much more diverse than that of the early Christian community, perhaps the good news lies in Jesus reassurance that, "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you...so that where I am you may also be?"  Our journey will not take us to some random place, but to a dwelling place prepared for us by the God who knows each of us by name, who molded and fashioned us.  DWELLING places...not merely a residence, but a DWELLING place, a place where one lives in the midst of relationships...in this case, a relationship with God and with the God we encounter in others.  When we dwell rather than just live we know, we understand, we linger, we move toward wholeness.  There are many dwelling places in God's house. An ancient translation of the word house is "a place where even the most vulnerable child will be raised in the safety and the knowledge of God."  

This translation offers us a challenge for how we live as monastic women.  Not only do we dwell with God...we dwell with each other.  By our monastic profession, by living together in this house of God, we have promised to "support with the greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior."  The good news in today's gospel is that ALL are welcome, all are invited to dwell in relationship with Jesus. There is a place for each person, a place of hope and reconciliation.  This hope is captured in a song some of you may remember from Westside Story.  There's a place for us.  Somewhere a place for us.  Hold my hand and we're halfway there.  Hold my hand and I'll take you there.  We share a dwelling place now, and anticipate the one that is still being readied for us.  Let us journey together into the heart of God that God might bring us all together to everlasting life!

Lectio Haikus

I am so blest to have the opportunity to teach middle school students Religion.  Today we did Lectio Divina using the upcoming Gospel for Sunday the 5th  week of Easter; John 14:1-12.  I encouraged the students to write Haikus using the words from Scripture.  I've included a few in this blog for your reading enjoyment.  So, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
God is forever,
Believe that I'm your Father,
I am truth, way, life.
(Christopher R.)
Believe in one God,
Always have faith in the Lord,
Heaven is your goal.
Jesus, I trust you,
You said you are the Father,
Jesus I believe!
All believe in Me,
The Father and I are one,
We are truth and life.
Philip said to him,
Master, show us the Father,
"Still you don't know me?"
You have faith in God,
Don't let your hearts be troubled,
Have faith in me, too.
Jesus said to him,
No one come to the Father,
Except through the truth.
Do not be troubled,
You have faith in God and me,
You will know the way.
You have faith in God,
Where I go you know the way,
I'm the way and truth.
We will know the way,
The way towards God and Jesus,
God shall dwell in us.
I am the Father,
Don't let your hearts be troubled,
I'm the lamb of God.
(Devin C.)
Jesus said to us,
Don't let your hearts be troubled,
You have faith in God.
(Wyatt M.)
Show us the Father,
For whoever believes shall,
Have known the Father.
Have I been with you,
For so long a time and you,
Still do not know me?
Believe me that I,
am the Father and he is
In me, too.  Amen
Our vocation is
to always go and serve the
Lord and his people.
Jesus said to us,
No one comes to the Father,
except through his Son.
You have faith in God,
That will be enough for us.
Do you not believe?
(Wyatt B.)
Have faith in me, too,
I am the way and the life,
I'm in the Father.
Jesus said to us,
If you know God the Father,
Then you know Jesus.
Have faith in me, too,
Where I go I know the way,
Show us the Father.
(Pete P.)
Whoever believes,
Who does the work that I do,
Will go to the Lord.
Master, show us the
Father, that will be enough
for us to believe.
Show me the Father,
Don't let your heart be troubled,
Please have faith in me.
Have faith in the Lord,
and you and I shall dwell in,
God's house forever.
You dwell in my life,
Jesus, I have faith in you,
Show us all your works.
Jesus told his friends,
I'm the way, truth and the life,
Do you believe me?
The faith is in me,
I do not speak on my own,
Just believe in God.
(Kristen N.)
Lord hear me crying,
Father, show us your mercy,
For I live in you.
Where are you going?
To prepare a place for you,
In my Father's house.
(Deven L.)
If  you know me then,
You also know my Father,
Do not be troubled.
If we believe him,
Jesus will show us the way,
To heaven and God.
(Kristen S.)
I am the Father,
Believe in me said Jesus,
I believe in you.
Do you believe that,
I am in the Father, the
Father is in me?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center

The Seed was planted 1500 years ago...The Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, housed in the former Our Lady of Grace Academy, opened in 1981 and was founded on the 5th century teachings of Benedict of Nursia, Italy. In the Rule of Benedict, St. Benedict provided a guideline for those seeking happiness and spiritual fulfillment through a search for God in the ordinary aspects of daily life--eating, sleeping, working, praying--all performed in moderation.  In effect, Benedict endorsed a balanced life.  He also believed spiritual progress depended on finding Christ in each person.  As a result, his directive to "Let everyone who comes be received as Christ" flowered into the renowned hospitality for which all Benedictine monasteries are now known.

From these values of moderation, hospitality and diversity sprouted our mission. We offer a variety of programs for men, women and children of all ages and faiths as well as exceptional rental facilities for use by a diverse roster of organizations for their own programs.  In this way, we reach out to the community with our hospitality and encourage the growth of our guests through opportunities for spiritual, emotional, intellectual and social interaction.  Thank you Sr. Mary Luke Jones for providing the information for this blog.  For more information about the Benedict Inn Retreat &  Conference Center go to our website:   www.benedictine.com.

“If heaven has a lobby....St. Paul Hermitage must be it!”

It is because of St. Paul Hermitage the Sisters of St. Benedict first came to Beech Grove.  In the mid 1950's Most Reverend Paul Schulte, Archbishop of Indianapolis, had a dream to open a retirement home for lay people.  The Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, IN were growing larger in membership and were in the process of deciding whether or not to open a new community in Beech Grove.   Archbishop Schulte's dream was a perfect fit for the sisters and so it was decided a new foundation would begin in Beech Grove and they would own and operate a retirement home for lay people.

The Archdiocese gave the new community 30 plus acres of land on the edge of Beech Grove and soon the groundbreaking took place for both a new monastery for the sisters and the retirement home.  The sisters decided to name the new facility, St. Paul Hermitage in honor of Archbishop Paul Schulte.
Today, St. Paul Hermitage continues to serve the elderly in the Indianapolis area and beyond. The sisters have found their residents happily call St. Paul Hermitage "home" which is truly a blessing.  The service provided nearly 50 years is indicative of the commitment the sisters have held in preserving the dignity of the elderly.  Archbishop Paul Schulte had a dream...the Sisters of St. Benedict helped to make it come true!
Thank you Sr. Ann Patrice for providing the information for this blog.  You can read more about St. Paul Hermitage by checking out our website:  www.benedictine.com.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Commentary for the 4th Sunday of Easter by Sr. Kathleen Yeadon, OSB

Good Shepherd Sunday

Both the Gospel of John and the Rule of  St. Benedict highlight the importance of listening:
...the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  (John 10)
...Listen carefully my child to the master's instruction and attend to them with the ear of your heart.  (Prologue 1)
...the sheep follow the shepherd, because they recognize his voice.  (John 10)
...let us listen well to what the Lord says for he shows us the way...(Prologue 24)
There is mystery in sound and joy in the voices of the ones we love.  We can discern the voice over the phone, over PA systems and most especially in our hearts.  How good God is to let us discern the voice that calls us to life.
For the sheep, the shepherd's voice is life.  It means safety.   Without the voice, danger and death can lurk anywhere.  The gate is security through the night.  The gate allows the sheep to rest without fear.  The gate represents boundaries...we need to know our limits.  We need the security of the gate.
All of us have spent much time listening to the voice of God.  We have spent years discerning God's voice and learning to trust the voices of those God has put in our lives to lead and guide us.
The practice of Lectio Divina is a practice of training our hearts to listen for God's voice in the Sacred Scriptures.  The more the Scriptures become a part of our lives, the more the music of the Word dances in our heart and encourages us to follow the Shepherd.
The Gospel of John begins with the great Prologue that says:  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  Let the Word dwell among us, become flesh and bring us the abundant life the Gospel offers.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Brief History of Our Lady of Grace Monastery Part Three

The timing was perfect for the sisters as the Archdiocese of Indianapolis wanted someone to establish a retirement home for lay people. Archbishop Paul D. Schulte approached the sisters and asked them to take on this task.  The Archdiocese gave the sisters a 32 acre tract of land in the Beech Grove area where they would soon build a new monastery, a secondary school for girls and the retirement home.  It was decided by the Ferdinand community to send 113 of their sisters to begin this new foundation in Beech Grove.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Grace Monastery have been an active and viable presence in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the community since arriving in 1955.  We are involved in various ministries as teachers, principals, librarians, mental health care workers, nurses, Directors of Religious Education and Parish Administrators as well as retreat ministry.
Many have answered the call to serve God in an extraordinary way as a woman religious.  I invite you to listen to God to see where you may be called.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Brief History of Our Lady of Grace Monastery Part Two

Thirteen centuries later, in 1852, the Benedictine nuns of St. Walburga's in Eichstatt, Bavaria, in Germany, sent Mother Benedicta Riepp and two companions to found the first Benedictine Convent in the New World.  These sisters established a foundation at St. Mary's, Elk County, Pennsylvania, but they soon moved westward.  They settled first in Erie, PA, in 1856.  From there they moved to  Covington, Kentucky in 1859.  Their next move took them to Dubois County in southern Indiana.  

It was there, in 1867, that they established Monastery Immaculate Conception at Ferdinand, IN. This monastery flourished and it was blessed with an abundance of religious vocations.  Since the existing facilities of the monastery at Ferdinand could no longer accommodate the growing community, the superiors planned to establish a monastery in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  (Taken from Beech Leaves.)  Check back for the rest of the story!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sr. Juliann and Sr. Mildred and the Woman at the Well

On April 19th, Sr. Juliann and Sr. Mildred will be giving a retreat to over 100 women using the theme the woman at the well.  This time at the well will be spent to help the women be aware of their role in proclaiming the Good News as did the Samaritan woman.  They will look at all the nuances of the longest conversation Jesus had with another human.  The symbolism of water will be studied from Scripture.  All of us have been brought to the Living Water by some individuals, books or events. This retreat will give these women the opportunity and space to recall them in their own lives.  Sr. Mildred reminds us that we, too, must become wells for others so they know Jesus.  Sr. Juliann will enrich this retreat experience and story from Scripture with a creative art project that will help the women deepen their understanding of Jesus' teaching.  We will become the "Women at the Well!"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Brief History of Our Lady of Grace Monastery Part One

St. Benedict was born in 480 A.D. in Nursia, Italy, not far from Rome.   From an early age he left the allurements of the world to seek God in one of the twelve monasteries he founded south of Rome.  In 529 A.D., at Monte Cassino, the monastery in which he chose to live, St. Benedict composed a Rule of Life for monks. St. Scholastica, his twin sister, was the first woman to follow this Rule as a nun.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

New blog on its way!

While Juliann and I were visiting the Benedictines in Erie, PA, I finally had the opportunity to get a "blog" (weblog) started...and here it is!

Stay tuned as I start to add posts, spread the word, and add "accessories" ..including pictures, links, etc.

Susan Doubet, OSB, helped me start this and wants me to plug her blog..so here it is:
Light through Stained-Glass Windows at: