News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit "Strong Women" by Peggy Thompson
Jul.15-28, 2014
Meditation: The Beautiful Places

When a friend referred to the western Dakotas as the Cappadocia of North America, I was handed an essential connection between the spirituality of the landscape I inhabit and that of the fourth-century monastics who set up shop in Cappadocia and the deserts of Egypt. Like those monks, I made a counter-cultural choice to live in what the rest of the world considers a barren waste. Like them, I had to stay in this place, like a scarecrow in a field, and hope for the brains to see its beauty. My idea of what makes a place beautiful had to change, and it has. The city no longer appeals to me for the cultural experiences and possessions I might acquire there, but because its population is less homogenous than Plains society. Its holiness is to be found in being open to humanity in all its diversity. And the western Plains now seem bountiful in their emptiness, offering solitude and room to grow.   


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 Ch. 1.

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.
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."

Praying with Imagination 2014: Igniting an Artful Response 
Sun., Jul. 13, 4p thru Fri., Jul. 18, breakfast 
Friday, July 18 (breakfast)

Saint John's Abbey Guesthouse, Collegeville, MN 

This ecumenical retreat invites pastoral leaders and catechists to pray with the Illuminated Word of The Saint John's Bible and to extend that prayer through the arts of bookmaking, such as calligraphy, painting, and storytelling. The retreat's morning sessions empower participants to practice the Seeing the Word process, delve deeper into learning the rhythm of visio divina and facilitate the practice with others. The afternoon will invite participants to ground their own spirituality through developing their artistic imagination. Learn more and register online.

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