Discerning with the Holy Spirit

The month of April begins with a transition at the Monastery. At this moment the Benedictine Sisters of St. Paul’s Monastery are in discernment over the Monastery’s direction into the near future and which Sister would be the best leader for whatever that direction happens to be.

This is a frugal process that has been in place since the first Latin publication of The Rule of St. Benedict nearly 1,500 years ago. St. Benedict dedicated chapter 64 to this process. It is titled “The Election of a Superior”. The Sisters are following the very first paragraph at this moment:

In choosing a superior, the guiding principle should always be that the one placed in office be the one selected either by the whole community acting unanimously in the fear of God or by a portion, no matter how small, who possess sounder judgment.

Discernment with the Holy Spirit

The last few newsletters have contained a prayer asking all readers to pray with the Sisters for this discernment. This is a process of silence and deep listening as the Sisters determine their best course forward for the community. The prayer will serve as a guidepost through this process.

The second element of this discernment is choosing the leader who best fits the qualities needed for that future course. As the first week of April closes, the Sisters will be sitting in silence, praying, and then engaging in a discussion with an outside facilitator. The Sisters want this time to be uninterrupted so they have asked staff members to work from home and the Monastery itself will be closed to guests.

The Sisters are following a prudent path that is lit by prayer by firmly placing their discernment in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Please continue to pray for them in their process of discernment and watch for an announcement of the outcome on our website.

Melinda Markell is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for St. Paul’s Monastery and its Benedictine Center (since 2022).