When was the last time you treated yourself to a deepening of your “soul life”? Nurture your relationship with God and others as you engage in “self-care”. Come away and rest for a while, engage with others, quench your thirsty soul. This fall we are offering a number of retreats, workshops and classes to nurture you. I don’t know about you, but with the fast pace we all live with, I recognize the need to step out, to take a breath and to refuel. Here is a place that you can do just that. We have 45 acres of quiet Ponderosa Pines, and qualified professionals who will lead you through prayer, reflection and study. Come away and rest a while.
Please take a look at our Pathways Catalog
Also, if you haven’t seen our Jubilee Video: View Now
Sister Clare Carr, Prioress
This Jubilee year marks a special way for our community to reconnect with others in remembering the past, celebrating the present and embracing the future. It was fifty years ago when a young group of nuns from Atchison boarded a bus for Colorado Springs with the dreams and hopes of ministering to the people of Colorado. And minister, we did! We opened schools, taught religious education, and educated adults on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We fell in love with the children, families and the locations we lived in. Click here to read about Jubilee in the Review.
We experienced times of great struggle and times of great grace. Today we continue to carry on our Benedictine values through our prayer life and our hospitality of receiving all who cross our threshold. We invite you to come be with us anytime within this year. We always celebrate Sunday Eucharist at 10:15 a.m. and on the fourth Sunday we offer rolls and coffee after Mass. We are eager to share the beauty of the pines with you. These are holy grounds that are meant to be shared by all. You are always welcome to rest your soul here at our retreat facility or to join us for prayers.
Please let us know of your prayer requests. Send your request. And remember the words of Matthew when you find yourself in doubt along the road of struggle. ..”behold, I am always with you, until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)
Recently, I met with a woman who is dying of cancer. She is absolutely radiant as she prepares for her death. We rehearsed her slide presentation to be given at the funeral, and her comment to me was how grateful she was for her life. And then I thought about Easter, and the choice Jesus made to walk into his death. We know that his response to his death was one of struggle, but we also see that he could have been killed at other times in his ministry, but he was able to just walk through the crowd to live another day.
I shared this with a friend we have in community, and he said one word to me that really struck home; the word was “surrender”. Both this woman and Jesus surrendered their wills to God. Each of them loved life, but each of them were also able to “let go” of the struggle and say “yes” to the events of their lives. Each of them remind me that I too, can surrender to whatever God calls me to this day. I have a choice. I can struggle against it, or I can say “yes.” I know when I surrender, I experience an Easter joy that means life, renewal and wholeness. May each of us daily embrace the joy of living our lives with “surrender” and saying “yes” to our lives and how God is calling us.
This week of Holy Week ascends like the Hallelujah chorus. We begin the week with the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem as a simple King on the back of a donkey. This reminds me of his coming into the world with his mother riding a donkey. He was a King for the poor, the broken, the oppressed, the blind, lame, and the powerful.
This is a week of drama. As the week progresses we hear from the scripture stories that Jesus while in Jerusalem prepares for the Passover, as any good Jew would. He and his friends make sacred a place to celebrate the memory of the flight of the Israelites from the land of Egypt. At this very special meal he institutes a new understanding of the “bread of flight” and the “wine of bitters.” The bread now becomes his body and the wine his blood. Of course we know that in the following hours he will be betrayed, arrested, beaten, and crucified as a common criminal. His body is broken and spirit taken because of our sinfulness, fear, and compliance. Broken because we just can’t trust his kind of love. A love that is unconditional, that liberates, and that embraces all.
His body is broken like so many bodies that are broken today in our world of war, greed, and avarice. His body is broken leaving behind the grieving disciples, his mother, and followers. His body is broken today, as we weep for the families who lost their loved ones in the Germanwinds flight 9525. And how many other families lose their loved ones to tragedy each day? His body and blood is still being spilt in the body of his people. Our Jesus died once, but his body continues to suffer. This is a week we are specifically to be “at one” with the suffering of the world. And just as we know the story doesn’t end with the crucifixion, so too, we believe that all those who suffer will have a resurrection with Jesus. God’s last word is for us to have life; and so as we remember the events of this week together and hold in prayer all those who suffer and trust that the “empty tomb” is our promise and belief. We can and do sing the Hallelujah chorus, because God does have the last word-resurrection.
Clare Carr, OSB-Prioress
“If anyone be in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come.”
-2 Cor. 17
I remember when I first heard this passage. I was nineteen years old, a sophomore in college. Looking back to that time, I thought I was such an adult, yet today I realize how innocent I was. Yet even in my innocence, I was also aware of my own sinfulness. When I heard the words, “the old has passed away, behold the new has come,” it reminded me how much my soul hungers for transformation. I long to be more whole and holy. Am I able to let the past be? Am I open to new possibilities? Can I allow all my relationships to be a new creation? Can I believe all of us are about the “goodwill” of each other; that we can bring out the love that is within each of us?
Examination of Conscience
Each of us has a force within us that frees us to bring darkness or light into the lives of others, the power of God working within us.
Take your hands, look at them carefully. How often have your hands brought darkness into the life of another? Have your hands refused to serve your neighbor, the poor, the sick, the aged, minority groups, and even your family? (Pause briefly)
We are called to be the hands of Jesus. Lord, we ask that our hands may bring light to others. Lord, have mercy.
Close your eyes. How often have you brought the darkness you are experiencing now in the life of another? Do you look at others with envy, hatred, and jealousy? Do you see only the vices and faults of others and fail to see what is good? Do you look at others as less important than you? (Pause briefly)
We are asked to see others with the eyes of Jesus. Lord, we ask that our eyes may bring light to others. Lord, have mercy.
Concentrate now on your words. How often have your words brought darkness to another? Do you speak angrily to others, damage another’s reputation or honor? Have you injured others by lies, dishonesty, the violation of a secret? (Pause briefly)
We are asked to speak to others as Jesus did. Lord, we ask that our words may bring light to others. Lord, have mercy.
Concentrate and listen to your heartbeat. Have your feelings brought darkness to others? Do you refuse to forgive and make peace? Do you harbor hatred and the desire for revenge? Do you give a feeling of coldness and indifference to others? Does love of God and neighbor find no room in your heart? (Pause briefly)
We are asked to have the heart of Jesus. Lord, we ask that our feelings may bring light to others. Lord, have mercy.
ST. PAUL, MN – To shine a spotlight on the profound impact of Catholic sisters and in conjunction with National Women’s History Month, the second annual National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW) will be held March 8-14, 2015.
Through events and activities happening across the country, NCSW connects young women with Catholic sisters, who number nearly 50,000 in the United States by highlighting their vital contributions to society and demonstrating their lifestyle is relevant today. Currently, approximately 1,000 American women are in formation to become Catholic sisters and nearly 100 will make their final vows in 2015.
“National Catholic Sisters Week celebrates the commitment, compassion and influential work of women religious from pressing the front lines of social change to praying in cloistered chapels,” said Sister Mary Soher, OP, co-executive director of the Hilton Sisters’ Project National Catholic Sisters Week. “We’re calling on people across the country to join our celebration – tell the story of a sister you admire, share a photo, visit a monastery, attend an NCSW event or host your own little gathering inspired by women religious.”
We will celebrate at Benet Hill Monastery by featuring wisdom from a different sister each day on Facebook beginning March 8. We will post every day until all participating sisters have shared.
Lent is a time to be aware of the need of others, to give alms and use our resources of talents, time and treasure to serve those in need. It is a time to walk in the “shoes of the other”. Lent is our time to carry the suffering of the world. It is up to us to feed the hungry, to care for children on the streets, it is a time to pray for our government leadership and those of the world; we pray that all hearts may be softened so ALL people can live in dignity and peace.
Joan Chittister says, “Lent does not permit us luxury..Lent ends in the shadow of an empty cross and in the sunrise of an empty tomb. There are great things to be done by us and each of them takes great effort, requires great struggle, we will face great resistance. But the way to the empty tomb goes through the mount of the cross”.. and ends in resurrection. May we take each day as a gift from God with gratitude, patience, compassion, hope, commitment and truth.
The readings for the past two weeks have been rich for reflection. On Sunday we celebrated Epiphany; the journey of the Magi from the East seeking Jesus, our newborn God. Ancient tradition believed that when anyone was born, a new star was created. So, with the birth of Jesus, we have a new star. These eastern astrologers recognized the specialness of this new star and thus sought out its destiny. They came bearing gifts for this special newborn. They were seekers of truth bringing presents, but it was Truth, the Present (Word made flesh) that sought them out.
The Truth seeks us also. We are used to making things happen in our culture. Many of us make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. We may resolve to lose weight, exercise more, pray intentionally every day, or attend Sunday Mass or other services more often. Unfortunately, by March we may experience failure. Even though our resolutions are made with good resolutions, perhaps we should focus less on the list of accomplishments and more on the One God who seeks us out with passion and gentle wooing. When we do this we are more open to experience being loved. The antidote to “doing” is to remember that our very “beings” are loved. How can we take this Love out into the world, which is so desperately in need of love, conversion, and forgiveness?
In a world of daily bad news and hatred, I find consolation in an innocent child who reminds me what is important in life. Innocence has a way of softening our hearts and reminding us of our vulnerability, like the smell of a new baby’s skin. Yet, we seem to live in the reality of the harshness of life. Our God calls us to a different existence.
How can we become innocent and vulnerable in this harsh life? Is there any room for this kind of reality? I am able to enter into this humble stance through my own suffering or the suffering of another. When I become the beggar, the broken, or the hungry, then my soul is more open to the possibilities. When I am desperate for consolation and my heart experiences the tender touch of gratitude; then I rediscover my humanity and vulnerability.
May this Christmas season find us open to our deepest vulnerabilities, longings, and moments of gratitude so we can celebrate the innocence of Christ and those around us.