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.

I’ve often pictured Mary at the Annunciation during lectio divina. Interrupted in her prayers, this reflective young woman quietly spoke to the Angel and pledged her absolute trust in God and utters some of the most beautiful—and revolutionary—words of Scripture.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, 
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant (Luke 1:46-47).

How would I have responded to the Lord had I found myself in her place? How do I embrace hope? Growing up, my family would shut off the television for Lent. We would observe the Friday discipline of abstaining from meat and participate in Stations of the Cross. I have fond memories of Lent, not necessarily as a time deprived of things but as a dedicated time to focus on the things that matter, the moments that cultivate hope. The ancient disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are strong guideposts on our Lenten journey. How can the Monastery cultivate moments of hope for you? As these winter days melt into the beauty of Spring, consider arranging time to come home to the Monastery. Join the Sisters for prayer and experience the beauty of our new prayer books, stay an afternoon or overnight at the Benedictine Center, come walk the grounds, and make time for yourself with a spiritual director.

Lent, like the Christmas season, creates space for us to be mindful of our stewardship and the causes we support financially. We hope that the Monastery is a priority in your almsgiving this Lent.

Please join with me by committing to a monthly gift to the Monastery as part of our Sisters’ Circle. Monthly stewardship provides stability for the community to make strategic decisions for the future.

The Rule bids us to keep death daily before our eyes in a life dedicated to Christ (RB 4:47). These last two years of the pandemic have given pause to all of us to consider our own mortality no matter our age. My Benedictine Legacy is a way to honor the Sisters with an estate gift.

The Hildegard of Bingen Spring Flowers opportunity allows you to stock your garden with quality flowering plants, greenery, and vegetable starters from Gerten’s while supporting the Monastery. 30% of each plant sale comes directly back to the Monastery. Gift cards through this campaign with Gerten’s make great May Day and Mother’s Day gifts.

Commemorative Pavers hold in prayer our deceased Sisters, our own families and friends, as well as honoring important life moments. When you walk the grounds of the Monastery, stand in the presence of our statue of St. Benedict, look down and let your eyes rest on each of these prayers set on a paver. New brick pavers will be installed in the courtyard at a blessing on Founders’ Day (June 22) this year. Let us add your intentions to a paver this year.

Benedictine Festival returns this summer on Saturday, July 9! Save the date to come home to the Monastery for this important fund and friend raiser. Volunteers are the backbone of this celebration. Please help make an impact at the festival this year and volunteer - contact the Mission Advancement Team for more information.

We journey through Lent to the empty tomb and the joy of Resurrected Life. As the snow melts, and we see the ability for more activity at the Monastery with warmer days, please know that you are our hope.  The blessing of your presence and financial support is seen in every smile, every warm glance of our Sisters. We look forward to seeing you soon back home at St. Paul’s Monastery.