News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit "Strong Women" by Peggy Thompson
Jul. 29-Aug. 11, 2014
Meditation: Carrying Silence

The silence of the Plains, this great unpeopled landscape of earth and sky, is much like the silence one finds in a monastery, an unfathomable silence that has the power to re-form you. And the Plains have changed me. I was a New Yorker for nearly six years and still love to visit my friends in the city. But now I am conscious of carrying a Plains silence within me into cities, and of carrying my city experiences back to the Plains so that they may be absorbed again back into silence, the fruitful silence.


The recent pilgrimage to Wales underscored the impact landscape has upon our spiritual lives, a theme carried forward richly in Kathleen Norris' much praised Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Houghton Mifflin, 1993). This excerpt is from p. 15.

So Many Words, So Little Conversation
by Victor Klimoski
former Director of Lifelong Learning for Saint John's SOT*SEM and the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
First published in the Oct. 2013 SOT*SEM newsletter. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Humans pride themselves on their use of language, noting that it separates them from other creatures and enables them to harness the power of memory. Human vocabulary is indeed rich and complex. Why is it, then, that we seem so angry and unable to converse across our differences? Some say that it is the result of there being so much at stake. Argument is fine about speculative matters, some say, but this issue [whatever it is at the moment] requires dominating all other opinions and defeating the ignorant. Mine is a harsh judgment, but I have just finished reading the morning paper where letters to the editor mimic that same unbounded oral outrage we hear from the mouths of politicians. In all the blatherskipe, very little is being said about health, about a nation's capacity to care for all of its people, about those who are systematically being cut off from care because a political point needs to be made. While it easy to throw darts at politicians, the same sort of scatter-gun approach to communication happens when people talk about the nature of God, what justice means in the Christian vision, the role of women, clericalism, etc. etc. etc.

This dismal picture needs to be balanced by the small, steady efforts - often unheralded and unreported - of people engaging in civil discourse. But why is the latter not normative? Why are shout radio and spit-making punditry the new mode of "making a point - firmly" in the public square? Into this comes a new book that offers an interesting notion about changing our brains as a way of changing the quality of our conversations. Continue reading...
2014-2015 Benedictine Center Offerings Now Online
Although it will be late summer before the next publication is ready to view, readers can get a sneak peek at the opportunities for retreat, prayer, and rich conversation which will begin in September. Click here to begin.
Redeeming Administration
Aug. 8, 9:30a-3:30p
Hosted by Saint John's School of Theology*Seminary
Facilitated by Ann Garrido
Aug. 8th event with 4 follow-up sessions - $140 (includes book, hospitality, and lunch); Aug. 8th event only - $55
Administration roles are vital to ministerial success in schools, parishes, religious communities, and other institutions. Yet the administrators themselves can find their own spiritual lives dry and fruitless, consumed by the daily tasks of their work and endless demands of their time and attention. "Redeeming Administration" offers administrators a chance to step back and reevaluate their work as holistically integrated with their spiritual life. Based on her book of the same name, Ann Garrido will facilitate the August 8th event and present the spiritual habits that form the foundation of understanding one's administrative work as vital to ministry. Four group follow-up sessions solidify the practice into the daily life of the administrator. One group will meet in Collegeville and another at the Benedictine Center in St. Paul. Register online.
Ann Garrido is associate professor of homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri and author of several books: Mustard Seed Preaching (LTP, 2004), A Concise Guide to Supervising a Ministry Student (Ave Maria, 2008), Redeeming Administration (Ave Maria, 2013), Preaching to the Choir (New Priory, 2014), as well as numerous journal and magazine articles.

Call for Artists Issued by Jubilee Museum


The Jubilee Museum and Catholic Cultural Center in Columbus Ohio is launching its first ever sacred art juried biennial this year. The biennial is thematic and this year's subject is Cain and Abel, Am I My Brother's Keeper? The full prospectus for the juried show can be viewed on their web site at The exhibition dates are December 6, 2014 -February 8, 2015. With questions, please contact Dr. Grazilla Marchicelli (


The Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery has a growing reputation for supporting artists who work with religious themes and shares this information as a courtesy to the public. The Benedictine Center is not otherwise affiliated with this particular show.

Virginia Matter
Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina Retreat
Fri., Aug. 8, 7p thru Wed., Aug. 13, 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.
Current Exhibit: Strong Women
A Series by Peggy Thompson
The current exhibit features the work of Oblate Peggy Thompson, who is ordained in the UCC. Open 9a-6p daily through Aug. 29. Peggy writes:

"A friend of mine observed that there are three primary issues we face in Western culture today: the loss of democracy, the under-appreciation of women and feminine values, and the way we treat the Earth. All three issues are tied together in that we have ignored the feminine characteristics of God in our lack of nurturing, receptivity, waiting, relationships, and contemplative silence. This series of portraits features strong women who embody those aspects of God in ordinary life. These women achieve no fame or glory through their actions. They simply allow God to work through them, modeling a grounded humility in the best sense of the word-the Latin 'humus' meaning 'of the earth' and 'true'. It is my hope that these women touch your heart and mind and bring you home to your center in a God who is both strong and tender."
Matters of Life and Death by Victor Klimoski
or in person at the Benedictine Center

Inspired by the life and death of a friend, this latest collection of poems by Victor Klimoski indeed reflect on the reality of death but without hanging crepe. Ancient spiritual masters always taught that the presence of death as a fact of life should not lead to a bleak fatalism but to a commitment to live more consciously and thus more fully. What that requires is a matter of life.
The Way Forward: A Collection of Benedictine Inspirations
The Way Forward: A Collection of Benedictine Inspirations is now available in both print and electronic forms. Purchase a print version and get the electronic edition free. Share it among friends. Proceeds benefit the ministries of St. Paul's Monastery's Benedictine Center and Saint John's Conversatio. Purchase print version or Kindle edition at
Upcoming Events
Sam Rahberg
Sam Rahberg, Director
The Benedictine Center shares the monastic heritage of St. Paul's Monastery with all who seek to live with the Gospel as their guide.
Other Events/Resources of Related Interest
Group Spiritual Direction Training (at St. Kate's beginning Sept. 18)

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