News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit "Beneath the Surface" by Chuck + Peg Carlson Hoffman
Nov. 17-30, 2015
Words to the Wise
"We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship."
Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness
This article is a guest contribution from Victor Klimoski, who is reflecting upon an event he led in 2015 at the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery. His event was called, "What Do Christians Do With Polarizing Conversation?" It is used with permission.
The concern for civility in daily life draws increasing attention. We see the ill effects when people mistake shouting for discussion and assume the outcome a controversial topic is either winning or losing. Is it possible to change the culture of talk so that we can learn from one another even as we deepen our own convictions about the positions we hold?

The answer is a guarded yes. There is no easy set of six steps that magically produce "good conversation." What we have are ways to form our hearts so that when we find ourselves in one of those tense conversations we neither flee in fear nor dig in to win a decisive victory over the one who surely is wrong from the start!

A good starting point are words themselves. Words are seldom neutral. They are the way we describe and interpret the world. They carry our convictions, embedded with the emotions that come from feeling something deeply. Their shared meaning, however, cannot be assumed. What I understand a word to mean may not be what my listener hears for she can understand that word differently. We all have filters particular to us that have developed as part of our life experience, background, family upbringing, values, and culture.

That is why writer Marilyn Chandler McEntyre focuses on the challenge of "caring for words." In a book by that same title, she argues that we are called to be stewards of words especially in a culture in which language is used thoughtlessly, imprecisely, and without concern for its ultimate impact on fostering understanding. "Words are entrusted to us," McEntyre says, "as equipment for our life together, to help us survive, guide and nourish one another. We need to take the metaphor of nourishment seriously in choosing what we feed on in our hearts and in seeking to make our conversation with each other life giving." So we need to become good stewards of language.

For this process, we can turn to St. Benedict for ways to form our hearts. Read on . . . 

The Way Forward: A Collection of Benedictine Inspirations
by Victor Klimoski, edited by Samuel Rahberg
The Way Forward (Aetos Publications, 2014) is a selection of lifetime educator Victor Klimoski's writings, edited by Samuel Rahberg and featuring seven original poems. The reflections have their roots sunk deep in monastic spirituality. Those new to Benedictine wisdom will encounter the invitation to move closer to a discerning life guided by the Gospel. For those who already know well the Benedictine Way, these prayerful readings demonstrate the application of monastic values and provide encouragement for the long journey.
Coming Up . . .
Thomas Merton: Christianity and the True Self
Thurs., Nov. 19, 7-9p
S. Mary White OSB
Merton drew upon the Christian wisdom of the West as well as the East to describe a path to the True Self. From the philosophies of the non-Christian East he discovered insights into the human ground all people of faith share; still, he remained a committed Christian. This evening considers how a psychology of the "integral self" can offer insight into Merton's contemplative path to the True Self, and its challenge to the individualism and violence of our world. Register online.
Advent: Let Us Pray
Sun., Nov. 29 thru Thurs., Dec. 24
No cost
Guests are always welcome to join the Sisters for prayer, but Advent is a particularly beautiful time to mark our waiting for the coming of Christ with prayer together. The Sisters prayer morning, midday and evening daily. Come, let us pray. Call 651.777.8181 or for the schedule.

Saint John's Bible Seeing the Word: Praying through Advent with The Saint John's Bible
Tuesdays, 9-11a, Dec. 1, 8 and 15
S. Virginia Matter OSB
$50 includes materials
This series of guided reflections journeys through Advent praying with three images from The Saint John's Bible-the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned in more than 500 years. Register online.

Embracing the Sacred Time of Advent
Sun., Dec. 6, 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.

Seeing God: 2016 Juried Exhibit of Sacred Art

The Art and Spirituality Team of St. Paul's Monastery invites all artists to submit sacred art for the 2015 Seeing God juried exhibit. Entry Rules and an Entry Form are below. We seek works of art that:


  1. are rooted in themes drawn from religious traditions, Scripture, nature, the human journey, and/or an interpretation of the mystery of life.
  2. show how art reveals a deeper sense of wonder.
  3. are appropriate for the environment that greets the Sisters and guests daily.


2016 Key Dates
(Exhibit is open thru 3/5/16)
1/13/16Submissions Due
1/20/16Acceptance Notification
1/23/16 and 1/24Delivery of Art Work
1/27/16Opening Reception
3/4/16Exhibit Closes
3/5/16 and 3/6Pick-up of Art Work
Please address questions to Artist/Coordinator Kathy Fleming at 612.839.4439

With Gratitude . . .

Your generosity towards the Sisters and their ministries on Give to the Max Day humbles and inspires us. With St. Paul we proclaim that we will not cease to give thanks for you and remember you in our prayers (Ephesians, 1:16).
You ensured that we reached our matching gifts for the Monastery and the Art Studio.You helped us surpass our goal of raising $15,000 for the Monastery. You reached out to your friends and connected them with us.
Because of you are able to reach out to people seeking direction in their lives, advocate for victims of human trafficking, offer pottery classes and art programs, host personal retreats,
welcome all as Christ at the Monastery, and support our Sisters in the healthcare center.
God bless You!
Opening at St. Paul's Monastery
St Paul's Monastery is hiring an LPN 32 hours per week, benefits eligible, 2nd shift.  The job is posted on jobs indeed, or you may call Sue Larson in Human Resources at 651-233-4674 for more info.
Exhibit Open 9a-6p Daily
Beneath the Surface
by Chuck + Peg Carlson Hoffman
Chuck and Peg's traveling art exhibition titled "Beneath the Surface" is now open at St. Paul's Monastery.  Journeys to the Holy Lands offered Chuck and Peg personal glimpses into its contrasts, vibrancy and yearnings for the elusive dream of peace. Come journey beneath the surface of the Holy Land through the eyes of two artists. Open 9a-6p daily. Freewill offering.
Latest Benedictine Center Publication
Hardcopies of the latest edition of Listen are now available and should reach mailboxes soon. To request a copy, 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

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.
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Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery | 2675 Benet Road | St. Paul | MN | 55109