News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit "The Place Where Possibility Is Born: Paintings by Kirk Sklar"
Nov. 22-Dec. 5, 2016
Words to the Wise
What To Do In the Darkness:

Go slowly
Consent to it
But don't wallow in it
Know it is a place of germination
And growth
Remember the light
Take an outstretched hand if you find one
Exercise unused senses
Find the path by walking in it
Practice trust
Watch for the dawn

Marilyn Chandler McEntrye
New Exhibit A Place Where Possibility Is Born: Paintings by Kirk Sklar
open 9a-6p daily thru Jan. 19

Kirk Sklar has hundreds of tools and knows dozens of techniques, but these works are accomplished with only one tool. He uses a flexible piece of plexiglass to spread acrylic paint on wood panels. The act is an acceptance of limitations and simplicity. Pressure and angle on the tool are managed to apply or remove paint. It is a pondering of what is possible inside of such a simple system. Paintings are discovered as they happen. The process is a collaboration with uncertainty. Each stroke to the tool causes a total transformation of the image. Working this way is risky and can cause the destruction of images as well as the creating of images. When a painting is complete, there is nothing that can be done to improve it, and that which compels him to paint finds release.



San Mateo

In Gratitude
The Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Paul's Monastery give thanks for the generosity of all those who made gifts on Give to the Max Day on Nov. 17 to support ministry through this place. Thank you and God bless you.
Speaking of Community: Results of a Great Conversation
by Victor Klimoski
The idea of community has broad appeal. While it is naturally associated with a monastery, community is pursued in literally hundreds of ways by people in sacred and secular settings. For the purposes of this essay, my definition is simple. Community is a group of people coming together around something they hold in common. Think for a moment what community means for you. Recall a time when you felt a deep, almost visceral sense of community. This was a question put to twenty-two people who gathered for one of the Benedictine Center's regular Great Conversations earlier this month. Their descriptors mirror much of what is written about community. Here is a sampling: instinctively comfortable; sense of safety; feeling validated and valued; people listen to one another; unconditional presence to one another; space to find one's voice; outreach to help each other find their souls; spirit of energy and vitality; trust.
If one ponders these descriptive words and phrases, it is quickly apparent that community involves more than occupying the same space and following the same rules.   People can indeed come together around a common purpose - even a compelling, noble purpose - and not create community. Read on . . .
Coming Up . . .
Virginia Matter
Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina Retreat
Fri., Nov. 25, 7p thru Sun., Nov. 27, 1p
S. Virginia Matter OSB
$150 includes lodging and meals
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

Peter Watkins
Embracing the Sacred Time of Advent
Sun., Dec. 4, 4-6p
Peter Watkins
$30 includes supper
Grounded in the Gospel of Luke, this gentle two hour "mini-retreat" invites participants to a quiet time of contemplation, guided meditation, and ritual which helps open hearts to Emmanuel, God with us. Draw on the power of your imagination and enter into the sacred stories of this season as we deepen our sense of God's desire to draw closer to us. Register online

Fr Mike Byron
Awaiting the Messiah (Isaiah 11:1-5)
Tues., Dec. 6, 7-9p
Fr. Michael Byron
Since ancient times the people of God have waited for the Messiah to come. In the time of Isaiah the people expected a shoot coming from the stump of Jesse. Today, as we celebrate the season of Advent and rejoice in the life, death and resurrection of Christ, what does "Messiah" still mean, and how can modern Christians take up and sustain the spiritual discipline of waiting in expectation and hope? Fr. Michael Byron is a theologian and pastor of St. Pascal Baylon Catholic Church in St. Paul. Register online
Benedictine Center Issues Call to Artists
The Benedictine Center is issuing a call to Minnesota artists to participate in its sixth annual Juried Art Show planned for January 25 thru March 1.  For the first time, it is accepting submissions from young adults (grades 9-12).  Submissions are due January 11.  Awards totaling $525 will be distributed to the top winners in each division. 
According to Sam Rahberg, director of the Center, awards for the Adult Division total $375 ($150 for first place, $125 for second, $100 for third).  Awards for the Youth Division are as follows: $75 for first place, $50 for second, $25 for third.  Awards will be announced at the official reception on January 25.
Called Seeing God, this show Juried Art Show provides a venue for artists who think deeply about their work and whose creativity helps viewers experience the Divine.  According to Rahberg, "We believe art can be an interpretive lens into the mystery of God, so we are looking for works that capture that deep sense of wonder."
The Benedictine Center's Seeing God art show has attracted more than 150 local artists in its five-year history.  Its goals are to encourage artists in their ability to give form to God's revelation in human life, nature and the cosmos; and to show how arts can expand our capacity to encounter God.

Christmas at the Monastery

Celebrate the Season with the Sisters at their annual open house. There will be a silent auction, handmade goods by the Sisters, delicious bakery items and candies, surprise gift bags, amazing food and warm hospitality. You are invited to stay for the Vigil of the 3rd Sunday of Advent. Register online or by calling 651.777.6850.

First Friday Prayer Vigil
Dec. 2, 7p
There are as many forms of prayer as there are those who pray.  Words, images, song, gesture, and silence, deep silence, find welcome in our hearts as we open ourselves to God's infinite spirit. 

The Sisters of St. Paul's Monastery are offering a prayer vigil for peace on the first Friday of every month. The next opportunity is scheduled for Dec. 2, starting at 7p.

Karin Barrett, musician and liturgist for the monastery was convinced of the need to assemble to pray for the concerns of our time, and gathered interested community members, oblates and sisters to help create the prayer. "We want to extend a wide invitation and create a welcoming environment for people to come to pray what is on their hearts." One person who attended in November reflects:

"The peaceful twilight outside was matched by the by a palpable sense of calm as the monastic community welcomed others to join with them in a vigil for peace. Soothing music greeted us as we gathered. Reflective prayers for peace were read and a litany was sung all of which helped to direct our minds and hearts to the work of peace."
Explore the Benedictine Center's Latest Listen Publication
Fresh copies will be mailed in early September, but reader's can preview the articles and events already. Download a PDF copy to view the new edition or  explore online the upcoming opportunities for retreat, prayer and rich conversation. If you would prefer a hardcopy and do not receive one by the end of the first week of September, please email the Benedictine Center.
Recommended Reading
The Way Forward:
A Collection of Benedictine Inspirations
Timeless meditations connecting Benedictine wisdom to everyday life. Available in print and digital editions.
Lamentation of the Written Word
by Victor Klimoski
Reposition the dark periods of writing as moments to reclaim why it is important. 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

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