News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit  "Cultural Incarnation as Proclamation: Paintings of He Qi"
 open 9a-6p through Apr. 30, 2017
Apr. 25 - May 8, 2017
Words to the Wise
"We should be clear about what happens when we destroy the living forms of this planet. The first consequence is that we destroy modes of divine presence."
Thomas Berry
Into the Woods: Harvesting Nature's Wisdom for Listening and Leading
by Samuel Rahberg

This reflection began as a workshop presented at the recent Spiritual Directors International conference in Toronto. 


"Every farm woodland, in addition to yielding lumber, fuel, and posts, should provide its owner a liberal education. This crop of wisdom never fails, but it is not always harvested." 
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac



Dependent upon screens and digital realities as we too often are, the encounter with nature remains remarkably out of the ordinary. Standing and walking in holy landscapes can deeply influence how we understand and exercise our roles as spiritual directors and leaders. When the pressures of leadership begin to make me feel disconnected and discouraged, for example, I have learned to return to the woods. There, on a small tree farm in Southeast Minnesota, I immerse myself in the interplay of soil, water, air and wildlife as it instructs me in the wisdom of God.


Poets, writers and artists have long urged us to awaken to God's presence made visible in creation. For our own good and for the benefit of others, those who lead and listen to others need to enter the woods and harvest the wisdom found there. We need a compass for reconnecting with nature and reflecting upon how that experience helps guide both our wellness and our exercise of leadership so that we can support others in finding healing and transforming connections through the natural world. A good compass would:


  1. Identify the ways nature awakens their own physical and spiritual senses;
  2. Help us apply lessons gained from "a walk in the woods" to the demanding roles of listener and leader; and
  3. Identify resources and practices that would continue to help individuals and communities better engage the natural world for the sake of soul and society.


Coming Up . . .
Fr Mike Byron
Hearts Burning Within Us (Luke 24:13-55)
Tues., May 2, 7-9p
Fr. Michael Byron
As we go about our days mindful of our own worries and responsibilities, we are not unlike the disciples walking the road to Emmaus. Jesus the Christ, risen and present, comes nearer to us than we first realize and waits for us to see. He is patient and attentive and made known clearly in the breaking of the bread. How do we experience the presence of Christ in the modern day and what are we called to do with "hearts burning within us?" Fr. Michael Byron is a theologian and pastor of St. Pascal Baylon Catholic Church in St. Paul. Register online
Prioress Dinner
Thurs., May 4
The annual gala celebrating the Sisters and their ministries will once again take place at the beautiful Lake Elmo Inn Event Center. Prioress Paula Hagen will host an inspirational evening of rejoicing in the Spirit of Easter. For reservations, call the Development Office at 651.777.6850.

First Friday Prayer Vigil
First Fridays, 7p (next is May 5)
Karin Barrett, musician and liturgist for the monastery was convinced of the need to assemble to pray for the concerns of our time. "We want to extend a wide invitation and create a welcoming environment for people to come to pray what is on their hearts." No registration necessary. Walk-ins welcome.
Summer Solstice on the Labyrinth
Wed., Jun. 21, 7:30-9:30p
Sheryl Rose
And God said "Let there be light . . . .
This evening mini-retreat will begin with a reflection on the very beginning of creation and the gift of light in our own lives; and end with a walk on the outdoor labyrinth, lit up to welcome the very beginning of summer. Come and walk the prayer path of St. Paul's Monastery on the longest day of the year. "The sun once glimpsed God's true nature / And has never been the same." Hafiz Register online.
Condensed School of Lectio Divina
Fri., Jul. 14, 7p thru Sun., Jul. 16, 1p
Sam Rahberg and staff
$100 commuters, $150 shared lodging, $200 single

The Condensed School of Lectio Divina adapts the Benedictine Center's keystone experience retreat into a shorter, less-expensive format. The core teachings and the monastic experience remains intact. Sam Rahberg, in cooperation with S. Carol Rennie OSB and S. Virginia Matter OSB, leads five teaching sessions that distill the essentials of sustained lectio divina, making this an excellent introduction to the practice or a good review for past participants in the School of Lectio Divina. Maximum 20 participants as room arrangements allow. Register online.
Support the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
Every gift, no matter how great or small, helps the Sisters welcome guests in need of sacred space. Make a donation online today or send a check payable to St. Paul's Monastery. Please indicate your support specifically for the Benedictine Center.

St. Paul's Monastery|Benedictine Center support|2675 Benet Road, St. Paul, MN 55109
open 9a-6p daily until Apr. 30

For many Chinese people Christianity is a Western religion.  In his work, He Qi represents Jesus as Chinese - a Jesus who speaks their language, is part of their culture, and is one of them.  The vibrant colors of his art mirror the greater story of God's conspiring with humanity for the purposes of God's Shalom. Learn more about Art and Spirituality at the Benedictine Center.

Love and Tenderness in Action: The Vision of Pope Francis
Presenter: Vincent Smiles, Ph.D.
Apr. 28,  8:30a-1p - Emmaus Hall, Saint John's University

2017 Edition of the Benedictine Center's Listen
Download a PDF copy of the Benedictine Center's latest publication to explore online the upcoming opportunities for retreat, prayer and rich conversation. If you would prefer a hardcopy and do not receive one by the end of the first week of the year, please email the Benedictine Center.
Recommended Reading
The Gospel of John in Poem and Image

A collection of fifty-six reader's poems, combined with twenty-six original pieces of art printed in full color. Available online.
Margin Notes
Poems of the ongoing puzzlement over navigating the waters of daily life. Available online
Enduring Ministry: Toward a Lifetime of Christian Discipleship
Supporting and empowering women and men for lasting and effective Christian leadership. Available online.
The Way Forward:
A Collection of Benedictine Inspirations
Timeless meditations connecting Benedictine wisdom to everyday life. Available in print and digital editions.
Lamentation of
the Written Word
Reposition the dark periods of writing as moments to reclaim why it is important. Available online.
Illuminating Ministry
A Journal, Vol. III
An opportunity for church leaders to join in prayer and reflection with The Saint John's Bible. Available online.
Upcoming Events
Other Events/Resources of Related Interest
Power, Control and Pluralism: Being Church in a Secular Age
Presenter: William Cahoy, Ph.D.
May 11, 6-9p - Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Maple Grove, MN

Sam Rahberg, Director


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The Benedictine Center shares the monastic heritage of St. Paul's Monastery with all who seek to live with the Gospel as their guide.
Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery, 2675 Benet Road, St. Paul, MN 55109