The Benedictine Sisters of Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs have recently published a Special Edition of The Review, which celebrates their past, present, and future. On the inside of the cover, Sister Clare Carr, Prioress, outlines the significant happenings that are included in various articles in The Review. Among these topics are assessment of properties and the weloming of Sister Maria Plafcan into the Novitiate. To read more of Sister Clare's message and other articles, click on the link below.
A multitude of activities sponsored by the Benet Hill community are planned and described in their ministries catalog. Included are classes, workshops, and other programs planned through the spring of 2018. Other services listed include spiritual direction, bereavement education, Benet Gifts gift shop, and the Sisters' Thrift and Boutique. Among the events listed is the Chamber Concert Series, in which various musical performances are offered in the monastery chapel, and the Film Series, a partnership program with the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Institute. To view the details of the the ministry catalog click on the link below.
To find more information about happenings at Benet Hill Monastery visit their website at www.benethillmonastery.org.
As it has been recognized by many others who have come to know us, our
name, EMMANUEL MONASTERY, speaks to our call and response. In 1971 twenty-three faith-filled, courageous women left the monastery in Elizabeth, NJ and set out on a journey to a new and challenging future in a place that was unfamiliar and at a time when the Church was also being called to respond to the spirit of Vatican II. These 46 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have continued to be times of new growth and a call to openness to the ways of the Spirit. Truly our God has been with us!
We came to Baltimore mostly as teachers and worked in Catholic schools wherever there was the greatest need, bringing the concept of inter-community staffing to the schools, and freeing us from institutional sponsorships. Ensuing years broadened our calls to various ministries, again often involving us in inter-community as well as ecumenical and inter-faith endeavors. Along with teaching, we found ourselves branching out into retreat work, parish work, social service ministries, peace and justice studies and activities, and a variety of initiatives in Benedictine hospitality and spirituality. The latter was greatly assisted by the establishment of a permanent monastery in 1986 in Lutherville, MD.
From the very beginning, hospitality has shaped who we are. In our early years, living in a large convent in Severn, MD, we were able to provide a home for a young pregnant woman, a single mother and her baby, and a family in need of shelter among various other opportunities. A more recent experience during Christmas week of 2010 truly changed our lives and focused our hospitality outreach even more.
We received a request to provide housing for a young pregnant woman from Afghanistan who was seeking asylum in the United States. The facility where she had hoped to stay was full… “no room in the inn.” Sara came to Emmanuel Monastery on New Year’s Day, 2011. On January 6th, Feast of Epiphany, her son, Amin was born. They lived here with us for 2 ½ years, enabling us to experience first-hand the wonder of the growth of a child from birth, the forming of a friendship that is as strong as any family ties, and the broadening of understanding and relationship with our Muslim sisters and brothers as we experienced the beauty of Islam . Sara’s husband was able to join her about 2 years ago and they have a little daughter now as well. The community has been further blessed with having 3 other women live with us over the past few years, and a family from Nigeria during this past year.
Sara’s experience made us aware of the difficulties that women especially face when coming to this country seeking asylum. In March of 2011, only 2 months after Sara’s arrival, our development director Molly Corbett suggested we gather with other women religious in the area to talk about collaborating in a ministry to women seeking asylum in the US. From this AWE was born, Asylee Women Enterprise, which today serves a multitude of asylum seekers, men, women, children, families in myriad ways. For a fuller account of this whole story – a new Christmas story - visit the Global Sisters Report http://globalsistersreport.org/news/migration/transformations-follow-after-nuns-take-mother-and-child-946.
With eight other religious communities, we continue to be involved in the work of AWE, most especially during these precarious times in which we live. AWE today offers a wide variety of services to asylum seekers in addition to housing: employment services, medical and health services, ESL classes, career development, case management, community networking, and legal assistance…and this is only part of the story. Visit their web site at www.asyleewomen.org .
Another formative experience of which we are a part is the “Tri-Community Endeavor” along with St. Benedict Monastery in Bristow, VA and St. Gertrude Monastery in Ridgely, MD. Only two hours apart from one another geographically, these three communities have been in dialogue to develop ways to ensure that the Benedictine charism will be carried on in our part of the country. Our prioresses, councils, and the membership from all three monasteries have been meeting regularly, developing relationships and exploring new insights in a variety of areas. Our direction statement captures our hope and our purpose: As three communities of Benedictine women we commit to deepening our monastic life in our individual monasteries and together as a tri-community entity, attending especially to sharing of resources, formation of membership and temporal affairs. Visit our blog during the liturgical seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter for reflections on the Scriptures. Community members and our Oblates contribute to this endeavor: 3OSB Connections https://3osb.wordpress.com. A joint committee is presently working on the development of a website for the Tri-Community Endeavor.
Emmanuel Monastery is also blessed with a large number of Oblates and PACEM members (People Associated with the Community of Emmanuel Monastery) who share in facilitating our programs and in activities and life around the monastery. The monastery offers a variety of programs to the larger community. Our sister Eileen facilitates a weekly Lectio Prayer Group which meets each Monday morning at the Monastery. Other programs offered at the Monastery include VISIO DIVINA, the Heart of the St John’s Bible; Vespers and Quiet Prayer for Peace the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Co-Sponsored Programs include HOLY LIVING, LIVING WHOLLY: Exploring the Rule of Benedict for the 21st Century; Mary Oliver Series: Listening to the Voice of the Mystic; and THE SOUL’S JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF. Programs are facilitated by community members working with our oblates and other facilitators
It is with humility and gratitude that we say again that we have been aptly named:
“Emmanuel Monastery,” for truly God has been with us. We pray we may be that Presence to those who come here.
The Benedictine Sisters of Chicago have been finding new ways to welcome young women to the monastery. For National Catholic Sisters Week, Sister Belinda Monahan of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago decided to welcome young women to join the celebration. She organized an afternoon of knitting and fellowship invited women, 50 and under, to join the Sisters in making items for those in need.
Sister Belinda and Oblate Maureen Martin offered lessons to those who did not know how to knit or crochet. For more experienced crafters, patterns were on hand to create everything from hats to teddy bears. All the items are being donated to organizations for which the Sisters work who help those in need.
Throughout the afternoon, the young women chatted, drank tea, ate cookies, and got to know one another and the Sisters. Events like these have introduced many women to the monastery, including those who may be thinking about a vocation to become a Sister or an Oblate.
After a recent discernment retreat in which the participants asked if they could keep coming to the monastery, Sister Belinda began a book club so the women could gather for community and further discernment. It is called the “Spiritual Book Club” and women under 50 are invited to the monastery each month, whether or not they are discerning a vocation. This summer, the group has been reading Ronald Rolheiser’s book, The Holy Longing (and will continue with Henri Nouwen's "Discernment").
The monastery also offers periodical meetings called Young Women and the Word. These gatherings bring together those who want to explore the scriptures and learn how to pray Lectio Divina. Sister Belinda notes, “I organize these gatherings and invite young women to join us, but it is the Holy Spirit who puts the longing in their hearts for something more. I'm so grateful that our community is able to share with these women about the Benedictine way of life."
For more about upcoming programs, click here:
To learn more about becoming a Sister, visit:
Federation of St. Scholastica
916 Convent Rd NE,
Cullman, AL 35055