News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
Morning Prayer (adapted) by Karen Kurka Jensen
from the current exhibit "Atmosphere" by Karen Kurka Jensen
Oct. 7 - 20, 2014
Meditation: Carrying Silence

"For me, the greatest gift of the monastic tradition, beginning with the desert stories that contain some of the best theology I know, and continuing with my own experience of the Benedictines, is how easily and even beautifully theology converts into experience, and vice versa. It's a boon of the monastic liturgy, something I happen to have discovered in the desert of a monastery on the high plains desert of Dakota, and no longer wish to live without."


The summer 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).

Taking a Chance on Pope Francis: Looking at the Church with Softer Eyes
Thurs., Oct. 9, 7-9p
Joe McHugh
Recent stories and images of Pope Francis and his vision seem to be leading many toward taking another chance on the church. What might the church look like through his eyes? Does he envision a church that's worth taking a calculated chance on? If so, why and how? Register online.

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, author, and retreat leader based in Minneapolis St. Paul. His book "Startled By God" is available online.

Remaining Steadfast in the Messiness of Life
by S. Carol Rennie OSB


S. Carol and Oblate Mary Janssen recently facilitated a "Great Conversation" on the topic of steadfastness. S. Carol offers this reflection to share the wisdom which emerged...


After a poem and some reflection, a rich dialogue identified a number of movements within our culture that contribute to messiness, chaos, and fragmentation: the rapid pace of change, mobility, specialization, diversity, compartmentalization, unrealistic expectations, isolation, and a climate of fear.


The stories of steadfastness were to be found, we discovered, in our own lived experience. Sometimes they were moments of encounter with nature or Scripture which brought us back to our center. Sometimes they were saints we met along the journey who inspired a sense of calm and focus. The key, it seems, is slowing down to attend to presence of God which is beneath and in between, sometimes hidden amid, all the messiness.


There are two resources you might consider for your own reflection:

  1. U-Theory: the summary is a bit dense, but if you jump to page 6 you'll find a visual and explanation for how researchers try to explain the phenomenon of slowing down to pay attention to a deeper truth. Christians have the advantage of a language of faith to help with that description!
  2. A Blessing of Beauty by John O'Donahue. This fine poem speaks beautifully into the midst of messiness with hope and prayerfulness.
Just Around the Corner
Taking a Chance on Pope Francis: Looking at the Church with Softer Eyes
Thurs., Oct. 9, 7-9p
Joe McHugh
See insert above. Register online.

Intro to Centering Prayer
Sat., Oct 18, 9a-2:30p
S. Virginia Matter OSB and Staff
This ancient spiritual practice is a Christian way of meditating that teaches one how to listen for God's invitation to deeper relationship. S. Virginia Matter OSB is a seasoned teacher and practitioner of centering prayer who was commissioned by Fr. Thomas Keating OSCO. Register online.


Sharing the Pilgrimage to Wales
Wed., Oct. 29, 7-9p
Freewill offering
A group of fifteen pilgrims from the Benedictine Center journeyed to Wales in early 2014 to explore the rich spiritual landscape and the unique Benedictine spirituality of the country's Cistercian monastic tradition. Through their stories, images, and songs now you, too, can share the pilgrimage. Come experience the sights, sounds, and maybe even flavors that stirred the pilgrims' souls. Hear also the insights of those we met, including the authors Esther de Waal and Chris Webb. Register online.


Barb SuttonThe Lifecycle of Ministry: Stages and Challenges of Living the Call to Ministry
Thurs., Oct. 30, 9a-1p
Dr. Barbara Sutton
$30 includes lunch
No leader in ministry-lay or ordained, paid or volunteer-is stranger to the challenges of serving wholeheartedly over time. While every setting and calling is unique, research and experience shows that there are predictable lifecycles in ministry, just as there are structures and approaches which enable the minister to cultivate resiliency and hope along the way. In this professional day Dr. Barbara Sutton will explore the practical insights she has gleaned from her own research and work as Associate Dean of Ministerial Formation and Outreach at Saint John's School of Theology*Seminary. Register online.


Holy Moments: Finding Ways to Be More Present
Thurs., Nov. 6, 7-9p
The Rev. Nancy Brantingham
"Holy moments" are not reserved for the rare occasions when the world falls quiet, the incense starts burning, and our minds finally begin to clear. Instead, we are called through various means to notice that the moment before us is, in fact, being made holy. Nancy Brantingham is an Episcopal priest, a grandmother, and person who practices living into that holiness. Join her for a prayerful conversation and find ways to become more present to the people and experiences in your own life. Register online. 


Position Opening at St. Paul's Monastery


St. Paul's Monastery is hiring a full time Healthcare Center Nurse Manager. The job posting may be viewed at the MN Council of Non Profits job board  at, or you may call Sue Larson in Human Resources at 651.233.4674 for more information. 

Download Latest Publication
Preview All 2014-2015 Offerings Online
If you have not received a hard copy of the new Listen publication and would like one, please email the Benedictine Center. Alternatively, download a PDF copy using the link below 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 values with everyday life. Available in digital and paperback.

Matters of Life and Death Poems by Victor Klimoski

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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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