News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit Co-Workers In the Vineyard: Words and Images from Ministry
through Saint John's School of Theology*Seminary
May 17-30, 2016
Words to the Wise
by Samuel Rahberg
This summary follows a workshop given through the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery called Great Conversation: Waiting for a New Calling.


Waiting. Who can wait when the world urges consumers to expect "blazing internet speed" and to access things "on demand"? Like anyone else, I sometimes notice my intolerance for the space between things, calling them "inefficiencies" or "inconveniences". What's really happening internally is that I am pressing so hard into whatever comes next that I cannot actually see where I am right now.


Not long ago I caught myself doing it again and I decided to practice waiting. I stood looking out a motel window through bare trees, wondering what I might see if I could just give the scene a moment. It was not long before I saw a robin hiding high up in the branches. I challenged myself to continue waiting, hoping that there might be another. A few moments later, a second robin re-positioned itself high on an opposite tree. That would have been enough, but I actually dared myself to wait yet more. Soon-and remarkably-a third robin came into view at the bottom of the scene. All three had been there the whole time. All three would have been missed without the discipline of waiting.


I see some lessons in this experience in the sense of waiting for clarity to emerge as God invites us into the next chapter of our lives. Discernment in general would be far easier if the choice was clearly either "yes" or "no." More often, we find ourselves somewhere in-between, much closer to a "maybe" or "I can't see what's next". What good, then, is the time of uncertainty along our journey? What can we do to welcome and explore the process of waiting for a new calling to emerge? Questions like these help us acknowledge the tension and weariness of waiting with candor, practice grounding in the midst of ambiguity, and express an enduring sense of hope and possibility. Read on . . .

The Blossom as a Symbol of Waiting
by Cathy Scherer Stubbs, a participant in the recent workshop "Waiting for a New Calling"
When we were asked to notice and share a symbol of "waiting" with the group, I found a blossom from one of the flowering trees. The blossom as a symbol of "waiting" was very powerful for me for several reasons:  
First of all it emphasized the importance of being attentive to the present moment.  Blossoms are fragile - wind, frost, heat and other forces of nature determine how long they will remain on the tree.  What is there today may be gone tomorrow.
Also, unless we've been around a particular tree through a whole year's growth, we don't know what's coming next.  Some trees have been bred to be "sterile," producing beautiful blossoms, but no fruit; some produce tiny "apples" that are more for birds than for humans; some produce crab apples that are great for making jellies and jams, but aren't great for eating, and some produce full-size apples for eating or cooking.
The point is that the blossoms themselves give no clue as to what's coming - they are a great image for this time of waiting and being ready for whatever comes next.
Pray for the Pilgrims
Pilgrimage to South Korea, Land of the Morning Calm
May 23 - June 2, 2016
Pray for the nine pilgrims who depart for South Korea on May 23. This journey will help them experience the global character of Christianity through the lens of Korean Benedictine life. The values will be familiar, but the cultural context is entirely new. May the Spirit open their hearts to the stirring language, landscape, heritage, and flavors of South Korea as a universal invitation to prayer and renewal.
Coming Up . . .
Virginia Matter
Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina Retreat
Fri., Aug. 12, 7p thru Wed., Aug. 17, 1p
S. Virginia Matter OSB
$375 includes lodging and meals
$150 thru Sunday only
Experience a time of profound silence and praying the Scriptures as you enter into deeper relationship with God and self. Blends a rhythm of centering prayer, lectio divina, and prayer with the monastic community. Register online.

Carol Rennie
Taizé Reflection: The Questions of Jesus
Fri., Aug. 19, 10a-8p
S. Carol Rennie OSB and Mary Janssen Oblate
$40 includes lunch and supper
This day of conversation and quiet reflection is inspired by the provocative questions of Jesus found in the Gospels. Led by a spiritual director and Oblate of the monastic community, the experience concludes with prayer in the style of Taizé. Register online.
Writers' Workshops, Including a Keynote by Victor Klimoski
The Selim Center for Learning in Later Years at the University of St. Thomas is pleased to offer three educational programs this summer, including two lecture series and a writers' workshop. This flyer provides a synopsis of each program; complete program details including instructor biographies, can be found online. Victor Klimoski's keynote is "Write Your Life, Leave a Legacy" on Tues., May 24, 7-8:39p at Owens Science Hall Room 150 (3M Auditorium).
Word and Image Exhibit Now Open
open 9a-6p daily
The Word and Image exhibit is a welcome reminder that as each minister interprets their experience, they contribute to a larger process of understanding within the Church. The contributions of this small group of pastoral ministers remind us of the power of mystery to help us glimpse what might be possible for the church.  The collages and the poems they have evoked are a visible form of Benedictine hospitality welcoming viewers into symbols and words that shape the experience of this sampling of lay ecclesial ministry. Exhibit thru May 31, 2016
Explore the Benedictine Center's Latest Publication
To request a hardcopy, please email the Benedictine Center. Alternatively, Download a PDF copy to view the new edition or  explore online the upcoming opportunities for retreat, prayer and rich conversation.
Recommended Reading
The Way Forward:
A Collection of Benedictine Inspirations
Timeless meditations connecting Benedictine wisdom to everyday life. Available in print and digital editions.
Matters of Life and Death by Victor Klimoski
Poems that capture ideas that will not let go, including what it means to live up to the day we die. Available online.
Illuminating Ministry
A Journal, Vol. III
An opportunity for church leaders to join in prayer and reflection with The Saint John's Bible. Available online.
Upcoming Events
Other Events/Resources of Related Interest

Giving Thanks to God: For every remembrance of YOU!
Thurs., Jun. 9, 6:30-8:30p at St. Paul's Monastery
A Gathering of Centering Prayer Facilitators on a summer evening. Pray, Connect, Discuss, Enjoy. All who serve a local prayer group are invited so please share with the leaders in your group. RSVP to Diane Boruff

Sam Rahberg, Director


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The Benedictine Center shares the monastic heritage of St. Paul's Monastery with all who seek to live with the Gospel as their guide.
Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery, 2675 Benet Road, St. Paul, MN 55109