News from the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery
from the current exhibit "2017 Seeing God Juried Exhibit" by various artists open 9a-6p through Mar. 3, 2017
Feb. 14-27, 2017
Words to the Wise
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex.  It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Attributed to E.F.Schumacher
2017 Benedictine Keynote Series

The Benedictine Center is pleased to welcome S. Edith Bogue OSB, a sisters of St. Scholastica's Monastery in Duluth, as the 2017 keynote speaker (three events listed below). S. Edith brings her experience as a professor of sociology and a leader in retreat ministry and sharing the Benedictine charism. Learn more about S. Edith online.

Ways of Being Benedictine
by Sister Edith Bogue OSB
reprinted with permission from Pathways (Summer 2016), a publication of St. Scholastica's Monastery, Duluth
Benedictine monastic life is selling like hotcakes, at least in bookstores. When I began to explore monastic life, only a handful of popular-press books promoted the notion that 20th century people might be inspired by an ancient monastic Rule or the little-known monasteries in America. Esther de Waal's Seeking God and Sister Joan Chittister's Wisdom Distilled from the Daily were mainstays for laypeople attracted to Benedictine spirituality. Beyond them, most books were written by monastics for monastics, filled with references to obscure practices.
Something shifted at the end of the last century. Kathleen Norris' Cloister Walk was a bestseller for 23 weeks. A trickle and then a river of books followed: on Benedictine prayer, silence, hospitality, simplicity, and more. Early in this century, several monasteries opened their doors to reality TV shows; monks guided ordinary people, mostly unchurched, through a sudden immersion in monastic life. Into Great Silence won film awards and drew large audiences, surprising for a documentary about reclusive Carthusian monks.
The popularity of monasticism is exciting, but sometimes misses one element of Benedictine spirituality: it's not a solo endeavor. St. Benedict disparages the sarabaites and gyrovagues in his Rule, monks only loosely attached to a community or roving about doing as they please. His Rule is written for cenobites - "the strong kind of monks" - who "live in monasteries and serve under a rule and an abbot" (RB 1.13, 1.2). For Benedict, the common life is as much a part of the spiritual journey as prayer, work, and worship.
Benedictines listen for Christ's call in the needs, joys, quirks, and gifts of the members of the community. We make our profession of obedience (from Latin ob, toward + audire, to hear) to the Rule, to the prioress and other leaders, and to the common practice of this particular monastery. In doing so, we proclaim our belief and trust that henceforth Christ's call - both encouragement and challenge - will come to each of us through our Sisters.
Laypeople write these enthusiastic books precisely because they have encountered Christ in the midst of a particular monastic community. They come for a quiet day, a workshop, or a spiritual guide. They are drawn to learn and be part of the monastery's prayer, way of life, and spirit of the community. There are many ways to share our Benedictine spirituality. All are listening, with the Sisters, for Christ's voice, ready to respond with the "good zeal that leads to God and everlasting life" (RB 72.2). The Sisters hold you in our hearts and prayers.

Benedictine in the Shark Tank: Wisdom for Organizational Life
Thurs., Mar. 23, 9a-1p
S. Edith Bogue OSB
$40 includes lunch
Register online.

Guard of the Heart in a Heartless World
Fri., Mar. 24, 7-9p
S. Edith Bogue OSB
$25 public presentation only

Monastic Habits for Ordinary People
Fri., Mar. 24, 7p thru Sun., Mar. 26, 1p
S. Edith Bogue OSB
$100 public presentation, retreat, commuting
$175 presentation, retreat, shared room
$225 presentation, retreat, single room
Register online and indicate preference for lodging in the comment field.

Coming Up . . .
Forgiveness: There IS a Way Out
Sun., Feb. 19, 1-3p
The Rev. Paul Feela
Freewill offering

Almost three months ago on the feast of Christ the King, Pope Francis shut the Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, signaling the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is an appropriate image for us to consider at Lent because, for reason unknown, we struggle to be generous with God's mercy; we seem to want to shut the door on people. Spend time in conversation with Fr. Paul Feela exploring the obstacles to realizing a reconciled world in today's culture and the power the biblical understanding of forgiveness holds in offering us a way out.
Fr. Feela is a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who taught sacraments and worship for many years at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas. He has written a number of articles in the areas of liturgy and pastoral theology and is currently pastor of Lumen Christi Catholic Community in St. Paul. Register online.
Shape of the Divine: Working with Clay as Spiritual Practice
Mondays, 6:30-8:15p, Mar. 6 thru Apr. 10
S. Virginia Matter OSB
$150 includes materials
Under the direction of an experienced potter and gentle teacher, learn how making hand-built vessels can be a process of meditation. Register online.
Bio-Spiritual Focusing Basics
Fri., Mar. 10, 8:30a-5:30p
S. Virginia Matter OSB and S. Joanne Dehmer SSND
$125 includes lunch and materials
Bio-Spiritual Focusing is a simple and natural process that teaches us how to accept ourselves by listening to our "body knowing" rather than to the messages and problem-solving of our head alone. By showing us practical steps to listen to our body, the process helps us to be with ourselves as we really are and not as we imagine we ought to be. Register online.
Artists, Help Us See God
This reflection is an adaptation of remarks made by Samuel Rahberg at the opening of the 2017 Seeing God Juried Exhibit, hosted by St. Paul's Monastery Gallery. The featured image above is "Water Birds" by Renee Sonka and is used with permission. 


Seeking God


At the opening reception of this year's Seeing God Juried Exhibit, I was struck by how many artists and patrons sought me out, looked me in the eye, and thanked me for my words. What seemed to me a straightforward affirmation of the artists in our midst had apparently struck a more timely chord than I expected. In the event that even one more artist or one more patron is needing to hear these words of encouragement, I share them once more:

The staff of the Benedictine Center and the Sisters of St. Paul's Monastery simply delight in helping artists share their work with all who seek God in this place. Every program year reflects the intention to approach art and spirituality in ways that enrich the lives of spiritual seekers and that encourages artists in their practice. The Seeing God Juried Exhibit is a shining example of that larger effort.


Benedictines and Art


The sacred art made at the hands of these many women and men is at home here because Benedictines have always cherished the way artists give voice to their spiritual lives - in service to the larger community. God is present here in and through your work, and when we walk through this hall, it pulses with your wonder and prayer.
Benedictines understand art to be an imperative for our communities, and they are not alone. "Beauty will save the world," wrote Dostoyevsky in one of his novel The Idiot (Part III, Ch. 5); and Pope John Paul II picked up on that theme in his Letter to Artists:


People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm [of wonder] if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us. Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that "beauty will save the world" (§16).


When you respond to and foster in others the enthusiasm of holy wonder, you awaken the world to another way of seeing God and being community together. The greatest hope our world and our communities have is the possibility that good people like you will continue to hear God's invitation and respond to the call. When you make something and share it with others, you teach all of us how to share the gifts inside us. You demonstrate a calling we all share-for the spiritual life to bear fruit in community. Thank you for your wonder and witness.

The Call to Artists and Patrons


Noble artists, help us see God. We are grateful to you for intentionally cultivating your gifts and for choosing to share the fruits of your wonder. Fine patrons, absorb and buy sacred art. For the good of your souls and for the good of our communities, support these artists in their service as much as they inspire ours.

2017 Seeing God Juried Exhibit (open 9a-6p daily thru Mar. 3)
Bring your friends and groups to explore the 2017 Seeing God Juried Art Show, which provides a venue for artists who think deeply about their work and whose creativity helps viewers experience the Divine.  As a member of the Art and Spirituality Team said, "We believe art can be an interpretive lens into the mystery of God, so we are looking for works that capture that deep sense of wonder."
S. Jackie Leiter OSB
John Denham
Let There Be Light
Rita Corrigan
The Grandeur Of God

Ellie Quam
Unique Creations
Eva Potvin
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.
School of Lectio Divina
Fri., Feb. 24, 1p thru Wed., Mar. 1, 1p
Dr. Kathleen Cahalan
$700 includes lodging and meals
The Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery is offering the School of Lectio Divina to adapt the ancient monastic riches of sustained lectio divina to contemporary people. Through an intensive retreat experience set in the rhythm of life at St. Paul's Monastery, participants receive teaching about lectio, spend time meditating on a sacred text significant for them, have the opportunity for individual spiritual direction, and participate in reflective conversation with other participants. In addition, the Benedictine Center will provide a variety of on-going support activities and resources after the retreat to help participants make sustained lectio core to individual prayer and spiritual development. Limit 15. Download application materials.
For more information or call 651.777.7251.
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
14 Dementia Support Group
17 Taizé Prayer
19 Forgiveness: There IS a Way Out
243/1School of Lectio Divina
1+Lent: Let Us Pray
6+Shape of the Divine: Working with Clay as Spiritual Practice
10 Bio-Spiritual Focusing Basics
12 Margin Notes: A Poetry Reading by Victor Klimoski
14 Dementia Support Group
15 Seeing the Word: Lenten Day of Reflection with The Saint John's Bible
17 Taizé Prayer
19 Embracing the Holy Time of Lent
23 Benedictine in the Shark Tank: Wisdom for Organizational Life (S. Edith Bogue OSB)
24 Guard of the Heart in a Heartless World (S. Edith Bogue OSB)
2426Monastic Habits for Ordinary People (S. Edith Bogue OSB)
6 Great Conversation: Measured Speech: Speaking As Though Every Word Mattered
7 SoulCollage Retreat: An Exercise of Religious Imagination
11 Dementia Support Group
13 A Guided Journey through the Triduum
20 Poems for the Earth
21 Taizé Prayer
22 A Day of Quiet and Solitude
23 On Care for Our Common Home
28 Together In the Mystery: Training for Supervisors of Spiritual Direction

Other Events/Resources of Related Interest

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

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