News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit Movement = Life by Lara Hanson
Sept. 13-26, 2016
Words to the Wise
"Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives."
Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality
New Exhibit Movement = Life by Lara Hanson
open 9a-6p daily until Nov. 18
This series of work was created during rehearsals of Merge, a collaborative piece performed by Black Label Movement and Contempo Physical Dance in 2016. I brought my pens and pencils, chalk and graphite sticks, brushes and ink, and varying sizes of paper to the rehearsal spaces and drew the dancers and choreographers in action. In my notation I am recording more than just the literal human form in space. I am also attempting to capture the pathway, emotion and energy of the movement. It is my hope that you as the viewer will be able to look at my drawings and recognize and feel what I experienced while observing the dancers. Even more importantly, I hope that you will be able to see dance in a different way and recognize the true beauty and workings of the human body in motion. Learn more about Lara Hanson and Moving Line Studio.
Peter Watkins
Soul Work
by Peter Watkins, spiritual director
     "Instructions for living a life. 
      Pay attention. 
      Be astonished. 
      Tell about it."
                      Mary Oliver
As a spiritual director I love accompanying people as they "pay attention" not only to the external world, but especially to their internal lives. The interior world is a tapestry where we encounter many layers: the head, the heart, the body, and the soul. 
What is it like for you to pay attention to your soul?  Is there a special feeling that comes with it?  Some experience it as their inner authentic voice that is deep and abiding-a deep knowing and wisdom.  For some it feels like a baby's first subtle movement inside the womb, the faintest fluttering.  Some understand it to be the Spirit that abides within that we can trust to lead us towards life and love.  Many feel strong emotions as they listen to the soul in prayer--often with the gift of tears.  Some feel joy to be alive and a sense of gratitude as they listen.  Others feel a sense of peace and consolation, and some a sense of centering down deep, the still small voice leading towards healing. 
When we are "astonished" we can't be occupied with labeling or analyzing or judging.  The experience is immediate, we are present, right there in the moment.  We catch our breath, we light up.  Being astonished happens to us; we can't really make it happen through our own efforts-it is a gift.  In astonishment we meet the unexpected, the miraculous, the God of surprises
How do we "tell about it"?  Whom do we tell?  Telling makes all the difference.  Whether we tell about it through art, or stories, music, or through a tearful conversation, it is the way we connect and awaken our own and others' souls.  When we tell about it we re-live it, make it present, and find new words and new insights.  We connect and know that we are not alone, and will never be alone.
Peter Watkins is a faculty member at Cretin-Derham Hall and a member of the Benedictine Center's spiritual direction team. He is available to meet with directees on Saturday mornings. Contact the Benedictine Center for a free initial consultation with Peter. To learn more about spiritual direction, consider participating in the discussion Attentive Companions on Sept. 20.

NEW! 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.
Share the Harvest: A Creative Exploration
by Sarah Cledwyn, spiritual director
The cornucopia is a beautiful fall image of abundance, spilling forth much produce and good food that ripens as we transition from summer into fall and winter.  As we take time to reflect on our spiritual lives, what abundance are we blessed with?  Where do we notice a lack of abundance or scarcity?  And how do we allow ourselves to give and receive in community so that we and all others have enough of what we need? 
All of us experience at times the feelings of abundance and scarcity. These experiences, when lovingly explored, are gateways into finding our way towards God and choices that enhance our practice of sacred community. Through our reflective prayer, we are called into God's invitation for our lives.
Join me on Sept. 27, 5-9p at the Benedictine Center. As we Share the Harvest, we will explore, through reflection, art, and writing our own lived experience of abundance and scarcity.  As these become more clear, we will listen for the invitation they hold within them and what they are asking of us. Together we will seek the loving way to offer these experiences to the greater whole of community and in turn be fed. What might it look like to gift our particular blessings to the world?  What might it look like to receive blessings we long for from each other?  Participants will leave with a greater awareness of the landscape of their spiritual lives as well as insight into practices to bring themselves into the moderation in all things that Benedict counsels; the place of mutuality, life and nourishment.
Sharing the Harvest: A Creative Exploration
Tues., Sept. 27, 5-9p
Sarah Cledwyn
$50 includes supper and materials
Coming Up . . .
Great Conversation: How Do I Live into My Own Path of Merciful Loving?
Thurs., Sept. 15, 7-9p
S. Carol Rennie OSB
Freewill offering
Conversation has the power to inspire and transform. Carol Rennie OSB, a spiritual director invites you to listen more closely to how you are being invited to experience and express God's mercy in your own life. A brief reflection will lead into dialogue. Limited to 12 participants. Register online
Attentive Companions: Spiritual Direction and the Journey with God
Tues., Sept. 20, 7-9p
Spiritual Direction Staff
Freewill Offering
No one can walk our spiritual journey for us. We enter, one by one, into the presence of the mystery of God and listen wholeheartedly to what God asks of us. But that journey need not be alone. There are times when having a companion who listens to us and who helps us to listen to ourselves sharpens our ability to listen to the voice of God. This workshop offers those new to spiritual direction a place to start and those experienced with spiritual direction insight into making the most of each session. Register online
Autumn: A Sacred Season for Letting Go
Thurs., Sept. 22, 7-9p
S. Paula Hagen OSB
Fall is the season when we see and feel the nature of change, as trees and vegetation begin to let go of the signs of summer's sun and rain. How do we, like autumn, embrace a sense of loss and allow ourselves to become shaped by change? How can we be transformed into new life? What do I do with that sacred longing for peace and acceptance of God's great mercy? Come explore these questions and more "listening with the ear of your heart" (St. Benedict) through silence and conversation with other seekers. Register online
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
13 Dementia Support Group
15 Great Conversation: How Do I Live into My Own Path of Merciful Loving?
16 Taizé Prayer
20 Attentive Companions: Spiritual Direction and the Journey with God
22 Autumn: A Sacred Season for Letting Go
27 Share the Harvest: A Creative Exploration


6 How Our Stories Determine Our Leadership
7 Labyrinths: Ancient Paths of Prayer
8 Intro to Centering Prayer
11 Dementia Support Group
13 Rhythms of the Soul: A Musical Reflection on the Spiritual Life
1416School of Discernment
21 Taizé Prayer
27 Benedictine Pilgrimage Reprise: South Korea, Land of the Morning Calm
3 Great Conversation: Cultivating A Heart For Community
4 A Time to Remember: A Retreat for Women Whose Mothers Have Died
8 Dementia Support Group
15 Our Human Condition and the Mercy of God
17 Give to the Max Day
18 Taizé Prayer
2527Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina Retreat
27+Advent: Let Us Pray

Other Events/Resources of Related Interest
Humility and Our Core of Basic Goodness
with guest presenter Shawn Kafader
Minnesota Contemplative Outreach
Oct. 14-16, 2016 
The complementary movement towards divine love is growth in humility (Fr. Thomas Keating). You are invited to join MN Contemplative Outreach for a weekend of peace and restoration, of contemplation and renewal, at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota. Learn more . . .

Sam Rahberg, Director


Like us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn
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