News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit Submitting to Natural Beauty by Fred Somers
Mar. 24-Apr. 6, 2015

The mainstream of Benedictine spirituality has not rejected the enjoyment of beauty, especially when that beauty is associated with the praise of God. Whatever possessions a monastery or an individual happens to have, they are on loan from Christ. They are to be treated with great respect.


This meditation is from Essential Monastic Wisdom (HarperCollins, 1999), an insightful book about practical Benedictine wisdom written by Fr. Hugh Feiss OSB. Fr. Hugh recently facilitated a series of retreats at the Benedictine Center.

Poll: 2016 Pilgrimage to South Korea, Land of the Morning Calm?

The Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery has been invited to bring pilgrims to experience Benedictinism within a rich culture with language, music, stories, and beauty unlike our own. Help us explore the possibility by taking the poll. Would you be interested in journeying to the enchanting "Land of the Morning Calm" to pray with two monastic communities who have been shaped by stories of joy, suffering, and the call to serve as missionaries?


Imagination and Adversity


Fri., May 1, 7-9p

$25 per person, Half off for three or more

Register online


H. Emerson Blake became an editor because he believes in the power of art and the potential it holds to unlock people's inner lives. He also believes that when people's inner lives are unlocked that outer change becomes possible. Join him for a public lecture which explores his work at Orion Magazine, a nationally acclaimed publication which seeks out and curates both writing and visual art that aims at healing nature and community.


H. Emerson Blake (Chip) has served as Editor-in-Chief of Orion and Executive Director of The Orion Society since 2005. Previously he was Editor-in-Chief of Milkweed Editions, a nonprofit book publisher based in Minneapolis. Work he has edited has been nominated for and received numerous awards.





Monastic Wisdom

for the Sake of the Planet
Sat., May 2, 9a-3p

Register online


The time is now to sharpen the conversation about the responsibility we share to care for our planet and our communities. Be part of the solution.



  • Poet Victor Klimoski on true connection
  • H. Emerson Blake on writers, artists, and change
  • Also representatives from inspiring local efforts . . .


  • Common Ground Garden
  • Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light
  • Peace Coffee


$40 per person includes lunch

Half off for three or more

Current Exhibit
Submitting to Natural Beauty
Fred Somers
Freewill offering
Open 9a-6p daily

Fred Somers is a man whose encounter with God through nature and Scripture becomes visible through his canvases. Convinced that the Spirit moves in us through Creation, he paints to share what he himself has experienced and to invite others to submit to the beauty around them. Enjoy Fred's current exhibit at the St. Paul's Monastery Gallery. The exhibit is open 9a-6p daily through May 14.
A Guided Journey through the Triduum

Thurs., Apr. 2, 3p thru Sat., Apr. 4, 9p
S. Carol Rennie OSB
$160 includes lodging and meals
Register online.


Hermitage Retreat
Fri., Apr. 10, 7p thru Sun., Apr. 12, 1p
S. Virginia Matter OSB
$150 includes lodging and meals
Register online.


A Day of Quiet and Solitude
Sat., Apr. 11, 9a-4p
S. Virginia Matter OSB
Register online.


Christ in Our Presence: True Community
Tues., Apr. 21, 7-9p
Fr. Michael Byron
Pilgrimage in the Bold Footsteps
of Benedictine Women

Fri., Jun. 5, 8a thru Sat., Jun. 6, 3p (option to stay through 6p for Vigil and supper)
$175 for double lodging
$200 for single lodging (limited availability)

In this pilgrimage, we trace the bold footsteps of the women we have come to admire, from the founding of St. Paul Priory on Summit Avenue to St. Benedict's Monastery, and then the journey back toward St. Paul as if we were among the founding members. Along the way we will be joined by expert storytellers who will help us see how the past continues to shape the present and future of St. Paul's Monastery. The pilgrimage departs from and returns to St. Paul's Monastery. Includes transportation, meals, and overnight accommodations at St. Benedict's Monastery. Ideal for Oblates, volunteers, and friends of St. Paul's Monastery. Register online.
DeepeningEngagementCoverAuthor Interview: Deepening Engagement by Diane Millis

The Benedictine Center interviewed Diane Millis, author of the newly released Deepening Engagement: Essential Wisdom for Listening and Leading with Purpose, Meaning and Joy.


Tell us about your connection to St. Paul's Monastery.


I have a deep appreciation for the Benedictine charism and have an immense respect for those who have made a vowed commitment to it. My first teachers were Benedictines (at the Catholic grade school I attended in Moorhead, MN), my maternal grandparents attended the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, and I had the privilege of teaching in those communities for many years. Now that my work is based here in the Twin Cities, I am grateful for occasions to get to know more of the sisters here at St. Paul's Monastery. I enjoy both attending and facilitating retreats at the Benedictine Center. Engagement with all of these communities has shaped my lifelong quest and commitment to "listen with the ear of my heart."

What did you see and hear that made you feel called to write Deepening Engagement?

The calling to write this book emerged in response to two expressed needs from my readers. First, as I began offering workshops and retreats on my first book (Conversation-The Sacred Art) I met leaders who were seeking a framework and language to deepen engagement in conversations about purpose and meaning that are difficult to talk about in any setting--especially workplace settings. I wanted to offer such a framework for dialogue and introduce language, idiom, and images that drew upon the rich, profound wisdom to be found in spiritual traditions without including explicit God language. Second, I also heard from many readers that they were reading my first book in small sections (as a daily reflection guide). Therefore, I specifically designed this book to be used in that manner, both as a daily resource for personal reflection and as a community resource for conversations in small groups/teams.

What is one of the most important tools or practices from your book that would help readers with listening and leading?

There are no shortages of books on either of these topics. However, too many of these leadership books focus on listening and attending to our external conversations, i.e., the verbal and nonverbal dimensions of what others communicate. Fortunately, given the growing interest in the practice of mindfulness and our burgeoning understanding of neuroscience over the past decade, more and more books are helping us learn how to hone our attention and listen to our internal conversations. However, there are very few books on leadership which invite us to cultivate and practice interior listening to the "sound of the genuine"-an image given to us by Howard Thurman.

Regardless of whether or not we occupy a formal leadership position, each of us can lead a life committed to listening to the sound of the genuine within us, between us and among us. Deepening Engagement is designed as a guide and a resource for those of us who aspire to do so. The book features twenty-four guiding precepts for engaging our true self (e.g., heed the whispers); engaging one another (e.g., open to what is unfolding); and cultivating engaging communities (e.g., mine the meaning). In particular, I believe the format of each chapter-to pause, ponder, and practice-will especially appeal to those of us who are drawn to Benedictine spirituality. [Hint: See if you notice a resemblance between the pause, ponder and practice format and the contemplative practice of lectio divina.]



To order, visit SkyLight Paths Publishing 

The Latest Benedictine Center Publication

The latest edition of Listen is now available. To request a copy, please email the Benedictine Center. Alternatively, download a PDF copy now 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
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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.
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