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St. Paul's Monastery Blog

October 2022 E-Newsletter

October 2022
It’s October, and the days are growing crisp and cool. The sunlight is growing shorter. Summer’s vibrant greens are melting into autumn’s brilliant hues. The gold, orange, red, yellow, and even purple leaves dance in the sunlight. We marvel at the beauty of the trees’ foliage. We rarely take time to wonder at the science and lessons behind this transformation in the trees around us. The green color of the leaves in summer comes from chlorophyll, a substance that helps the plants absorb light energy from the sun to make food for the tree. Leaves contain other pigments, but chlorophyll’s green obscures them from our view. With autumn’s shorter hours of sunlight and cooler days, the tree prepares for winter. The tree stops making chlorophyll, and the colors of the other pigments become visible. We see yellow xanthophylls and orange carotenoids. These substances were already present within the leaf, helping the chlorophyll absorb light while protecting the leaf from damage from too much sun. Only now, as the chlorophyll breaks down, do we get to see the hidden beauty of their colors.
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September 2022 E-Newsletter

September 2022
September is a month of beginnings. Summer seems to pass all too quickly in Minnesota, but we find ourselves—one more time—at this month of beginnings. The school year begins with fresh school clothes, new shoes, and the excitement and energy of a new grade. Parish life resumes after the summer rest with faith formation, Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA), and higher attendance again at Sunday Mass after all our summer travel.
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August 2022 E-Newsletter

July 2022
God does speak to us through presence, dreams, visions and our thoughts. Further, God will use events and circumstances to speak with us. More often than not, God uses the people placed in our lives to speak to us. God is good, and St. Benedict reminds us on the Awareness of God by looking not in the abstract but in the ordinary events of every day. Stated in the Rule of Benedict (Chapter 19), “We believe that the divine presence is everywhere.
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July 2022 E-Newsletter

July 2022
Lately, I have been reflecting on the idea of commitment. The Community of St. Paul’s Monastery witnessed the final oblation of seven Oblates on June 5. The word Oblate has its origins in the word “offering.” The signing of the final oblation document on the altar is similar to that of the commitment that each vowed monastic makes when she places her document on the altar and signs her commitment to the Monastic Way.
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June 2022 E-Newsletter

May 2022
In June we observe Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. After his Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his followers in the Upper Room where they were hiding and afraid. Jesus breathed on them. He had two messages for them: Peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit.
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May 2022 E-Newsletter

April 2022
Do you find yourself excited when you are unexpectedly gifted a book? When I accepted the Director of Mission Advancement position here at the Monastery I received a copy of John Mark Comer’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry from a dear friend. It’s a captivating read and imbued with Benedictine wisdom, values, and spirituality (even if not outrightly stated by the author).
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April 2022 E-Newsletter

April 2022
We, as Benedictines, look forward to the month of March for it gives us the opportunity to celebrate one of the two feast days set aside to remember St. Benedict. On March 21, Benedictines around the world celebrate the “transitus” of St. Benedict, the day Benedict entered eternity. “Transitus” in Latin means passing from one state to the next— death is not the end of life, but the transition into eternity with God. It is one of two days that St. Benedict is recognized on the Benedictine calendar. Since this feast day is always during Lent, another commemoration date was set when Pope Paul VI declared St. Benedict the Patron of Europe at the rededication of the Church at Monte Cassino on July 11, 1964. July 11 is the Feast of St. Benedict for the Universal Church. Only Mary, the mother of Jesus and John the Baptist are remembered with both their birthdays and their day of entry into heaven.
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March 2022 E-Newsletter

March 2022
We, as Benedictines, look forward to the month of March for it gives us the opportunity to celebrate one of the two feast days set aside to remember St. Benedict. On March 21, Benedictines around the world celebrate the “transitus” of St. Benedict, the day Benedict entered eternity. “Transitus” in Latin means passing from one state to the next— death is not the end of life, but the transition into eternity with God. It is one of two days that St. Benedict is recognized on the Benedictine calendar. Since this feast day is always during Lent, another commemoration date was set when Pope Paul VI declared St. Benedict the Patron of Europe at the rededication of the Church at Monte Cassino on July 11, 1964. July 11 is the Feast of St. Benedict for the Universal Church. Only Mary, the mother of Jesus and John the Baptist are remembered with both their birthdays and their day of entry into heaven.
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February 2022 E-Newsletter

January 2022
Happy New Year to you! At the Monastery, we do not celebrate with loud noisemakers and cheering at midnight to welcome in the New Year, nor do we celebrate New Year’s like the Romans by offering sacrifices to Janus (a Roman god), exchanging gifts, attending parties, and decorating with laurel branches. As a monastic community, we do not celebrate in the shadow of the secular world. Instead, we celebrate a Holy Day of Obligation, The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God who is the Author of Life in the mystery of salvation. "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me."
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Online Winter Marketplace

January 2022
From January 15-30, 2022, St. Paul's Monastery is hosting an Online Winter Marketplace, featuring unsold items from Christmas at the Monastery 2021 with significant discounts. Shop now before these items run out!
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January 2022 E-Newsletter

January 2022
Happy New Year to you! At the Monastery, we do not celebrate with loud noisemakers and cheering at midnight to welcome in the New Year, nor do we celebrate New Year’s like the Romans by offering sacrifices to Janus (a Roman god), exchanging gifts, attending parties, and decorating with laurel branches. As a monastic community, we do not celebrate in the shadow of the secular world. Instead, we celebrate a Holy Day of Obligation, The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God who is the Author of Life in the mystery of salvation. "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me."
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December 2021 E-Newsletter

December 2021
Angels played an important role as messengers in the sacred scriptures. They announced new life to Sarah and Abraham, Elizabeth and Zachariah, Mary and Joseph. In the Magnificat, or Canticle of Mary (Luke 1: 46-49, NRSVCE), we are reminded: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me."
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November 2021 E-Newsletter

October 2021
Every November, we have a special day set aside to be thankful. Our tradition is rooted in the tradition and practice of ancient Israel, where gratitude was not once a year, but a part of daily life. Many of the psalms we pray today show the people’s remembrance of God’s blessings not only in their own lives, but also throughout creation and in the lives of their ancestors who had come before them. They remembered God’s action and presence in their lives and all the gifts they had by God’s grace and love.
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October 2021 E-Newsletter

October 2021
As the warm green season of summer blends into a cooler, golden autumn, the frosty winter lays ahead of us. Here in Minnesota, black bears have long been preparing for the cold months of winter. As early as  midsummer, bears begin digging holes for a den or searching out a small cave or hollow tree trunk. Bears may spend up to twenty hours a day eating and gaining weight for nourishment during the coming winter months.
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September 2021 E-Newsletter

August 2021
Say what? Alleluia in September and it’s not even the Easter Season. As the Monastery continues to navigate the pandemic and Say what? Alleluia in September and it’s not even the Easter Season. As the Monastery continues to navigate the pandemic and challenge our norms, we move forward and enter what some call a “new norm.”
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Catherine Nehotte, OSB

August 2022
Wisdom, knowledge, a passion for her work and life as a sister, and a quick wit are a good summary of Sister Catherine, current Prioress of St. Paul’s Monastery. An example of her wit is when meeting on Zoom to plan for this article, and this writer’s microphone wasn’t working, Sister Catherine commented that this was some “real Benedictine silence!”
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Mary Lou Dummer, OSB

May 2022
In the Benedictine contemplative tradition, we are called to learn to balance prayer and work, Ora et Labora, balancing our being and our doing. For those who lean toward “doer”, this balancing act can be a bit of a challenge. This was the case for Sister Mary Lou Dummer, OSB, at least until the Spirit invited her into a space of “being” as a result of the COVID pandemic and its impact on the community of St. Paul’s Monastery.
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Louise Inhofer, OSB

April 2022
Sister Louise Inhofer has served as the Monastic Librarian of St. Paul’s Monastery since 2011. She brings her great love of learning and reading to others in her role as Library Manager, and orders new books each year to maintain a diverse and enriching library collection. She takes pride in arranging an interesting assortment of books based on seasonal liturgical themes for the Sisters and challenging them to read and appreciate new material. The Monastery library is tastefully decorated throughout the year for the holidays: angels and bells at Christmas and stars for the Fourth of July. Currently, the library shelves are adorned with glittery purple butterflies, harbingers of a long-awaited spring.
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Virginia Matter, OSB

January 2022
Sister Carol Rennie, OSB is originally from St. Cloud, Minnesota and came from a family of eight.  She Carol graduated from St. Joseph, High School in St. Cloud Minnesota and fondly remembers her siblings: Richard, John, Catherine, Mary Jane, and David.  Sister Carol was “lucky number five” and the youngest girl.
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Carol Rennie, OSB

December 2021
Sister Carol Rennie, OSB is originally from St. Cloud, Minnesota and came from a family of eight.  She Carol graduated from St. Joseph, High School in St. Cloud Minnesota and fondly remembers her siblings: Richard, John, Catherine, Mary Jane, and David.  Sister Carol was “lucky number five” and the youngest girl.
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Marie Fujan, OSB

November 2021
Sister Marie Fujan was born five days before Christmas and was named Mary Bell since she was deemed the new Fujan family Christmas bell. Sister Marie was the middle child of five with three brothers and one sister. Growing-up on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, to Bohemian parents, Frank and Marie Fujan, her childhood was robust and filled with chores, chickens and gardening.  One of her favorite childhood memories was playing football with her brothers. She remembers wearing her snow pants even in summer to protect herself from getting tackled in the backyard. Another special family memory was being a junior bridesmaid for her sister, Delores, who was eight years older. Sister Marie was very elated to be selected and adored the honorary blue hooped skirt dress for the special occasion.
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Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sisters Andrine & Andriette Schommer, OSB

October 2021
Sisters Andrine and Andriette Schommer were born in Munich, North Dakota, in a family of nine children of German heritage. As identical twins, they shared everything. Twins ran in their family on their Father’s side. When asked what’s life like as a twin, they respond by saying “What’s life like not being a twin?  We’ve never known it any other way!” 
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Reflection of St. Paul’s Monastery

May 2022
Reflection of St. Paul’s Monastery Written by Ann Siverling, OblSB As a Benedictine Oblate of St. Paul’s Monastery in Maplewood, MN, I have enjoyed the hospitality, support, and love of the Sisters for the past nine years. I can honestly say that there is no other place on this earth where I have felt so…
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Lent Is Around The Corner by Karin Barrett

February 2022
Lent calls us to repent or turn from of all that obscures God’s life within us, and to believe in and turn toward the Good News of the Gospel. Lent calls us to life, to become more in touch with God’s plan for us and for the wider community through practices which are meant to focus our attention on God’s presence.  Lenten fasting, prayer and almsgiving provide a sustained opportunity during Lent for us to grow closer to God, to allow God to work in us, and to recognize our own need for connection to each other.
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Mary’s Hope: Our Hope by Travis Salisbury

Every year, on March 25—exactly nine months to the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus—the Christian Tradition joyously celebrates Mary’s faith, trust, and hope through the Solemnity of the Annunciation. As the feast approaches, we pause to reflect on our own faith, trust, and hope at the Monastery through the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
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Saint Scholastica Honoree 2022: Pat Swanke

January 2022
The Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Paul’s Monastery established the St. Scholastica Honor in 2018, the year of our 70th Anniversary.  This honor celebrates the virtues of St. Scholastica and is presented to someone exhibiting the qualities and dedication to the Benedictine way of life in support of St. Paul’s Monastery. We are honored…
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Calling All Artists!

November 2021
It’s never too early to make art for Our Seeing God Exhibit held every year at St. Paul’s Monastery.  We encourage all to enter and join this large group of artists for this exhibit experience.  Dates of the exhibit are  January 24, 2022 through March 25, 2022. 
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