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Living Benedictine: Topics for 2014-2015
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Sep 7 Vocation: Benedictine Perspectives
Oct 12 Benedictine Family Life
Nov 9 Holy Benedictines
Dec 14 Benedictines & Other Monastics
Jan 11 (2015) Benedictines & Leadership
Feb 8 Benedictine Works
Mar 15 Benedictines Around the World
Apr 18 (Sat) Retreat: Benedictine for the Long Haul
May 17 Living Your Oblation

Talk: The Myth of Religious Violence

25 September 2014

“Is Religion a Force for Good or Ill?”

The Peace & Justice lecture series at our college could not have a more relevant topic this year!  As always, there will be four speakers whose views on the topic differ substantially.  Chosen before ISIS over-ran Iraq and when Boko Haram was not a familiar term, the question of religion as a force for good or ill in the world is now front-page in the news.

William Cavanaugh: The Myth of Religion Violence on Oct. 6

A professor of theology at DePaul University, William Cavanaugh has been a lay worker in a poor area of Santiago, Chile, a Catholic Studies professor and is a senior research professor at  the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology.  He has written a book on this evening’s topic:  The Myth of Religious Violence:  Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict.

Oblates are invited for Evening Prayer and/or supper with the Sisters before the talk. Contact Sr. Edith before Oct 3 to let her know if you want to come for supper.

Other lectures in the series:

Ways of Being Benedictine: 2014-15 Meetings

30 August 2014

Deutsch: Benedikt von Aniane (Ikone). Polski: ...

For the last two years, we have worked intensively on the spiritual life of Benedictines.  This year, we will take those ideas and widen our gaze, looking at ways that Benedictines have lived – and are living – from that spiritual reality in a variety of settings.

Here’s the line-up for the coming year:

Sept 7:  What is Vocation? Benedictine Perspectives.

The word “vocation” never appears in The Rule, but is a clear element. Vatican II theology highlights God’s call on the life of every Christian – each of us has a vocation.  For Oblates, this includes the Benedictine charism.

Note:  Oblates are invited to join the Benedictine Sisters in celebrating the Perpectual Monastic Profdesion of Sister Gretchen at 11am in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel.
Oblates:  You are invited to mix with the sisters at the noon meal.
RSVP by Wednesday September 3.
MEETING will begin at 1:30pm

Oct 12:  Benedictine Family Life

The Rule is written for dozens or hundreds of adults living under one roof – but it has a lot of wisdom for living modern family life.  Perspectives from The Rule and from modern lay people.

Nov 9:  Holy Benedictines

November begins with the celebration of All Saints followed by the day we commemorate all who have died. At this meeting, we’ll take an in-depth look at Hildegard of Bingen, and share an overview of many other holy Benedictines, ancient and modern, whose struggles and examples can help us live our vocation.  Special presentation by Sister Paule Pierre.

14 Dec:  Benedictines and Other Monastics

Most religious traditions have some form of monastic life, many with practices similar to The Rule.  In this time of Advent, we consider some of these traditions, and learn from their perspectives on Benedict’s Rule.  Readings and discussion with John Pastor.

11 Jan 2015:  Benedictines and Leadership

With the start of the new year, the Benedictine Sisters begin the process of discernment and election of a prioress. Oblates are called to leadership in a variety of ways as well.  We’ll look at what The Rule teaches about leadership, and also what modern CEOs take away from Benedict’s Rule for their roles.

8 Feb:  Benedictine Works

St Benedict does not assign any particular work to his monks other than prayer and the necessities for maintaining the household.  Benedictines have sponsored schools, retreat centers, hospitals and health care, outreach, pastoral work and many other works. Benedictine artists, musicians, authors and scholars bring a particular flavor to their work. Benedictines share that charism in their sponsorship of large organizations and through the Oblates’ own lives.  In February, we’ll consider whether and how that charism makes a difference.

15 Mar:  Benedictines Around the World

St Benedict lived in Italy; Europe was the center of the Benedictine way of life for centuries.  In modern times, it has spread far and wide. There are more Benedictine monasteries, and a larger number of Benedictines, in the nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America than all of Europe and North America combined.  Living by the same Rule , they give us good insights across cultures.  Special presentation related to our Twinning Communities.

18 Apr: Retreat: Benedictine for the Long Haul  

Our annual retreat focuses on living the vocation of Benedictine Oblate with depth and intensity through the changing times and situations of life.  Conferences, prayer experiences, and discussion give us a chance to ponder, plan and refresh.

17 May:  Living Your Oblation

At the end of this year of considering the myriad of ways and situations in which the Benedictine way of life is found, and on the day traditionally reserved for people to make their own Oblation, our discussion will focus on being Benedictine day by day.  We will focus especially on the Oblate promises and commitments.

Discussion: The Big Silence, Part 5

19 July 2014

I apologize — I did not suppress the next episode’s blog posting quickly enough.  

I have made an extensive search: the movie has been completely removed from the internet by request of the BBC.  

I encourage you to continue in the Video Divina method – choose what you will watch with care, and then approach the experience of viewing not as “entertainment” but as another venue in which you can listen for God’s word in your life.

Video Divina

Sometimes film can bring more spiritual insight than reading. Oblates are invited to use the video divina approach to viewing this documentary.

“Watching [My Left Foot] profoundly affected how I search for my own humanness in the midst of few handicaps–and made me cognizant of complaining in the face of small odds. Not many books do that.”

~Fr Benedict Auer,
Video Divina: A Benedictine. Approach to Spiritual Viewing

Auer, Benedict, OSB. “Video Divina: A Benedictine Approach to Spiritual Viewing.”  Review for Religious 50.2 (1991): 239-44.

“The Big Silence” has been silenced

13 July 2014


It seems that the YouTube edition of “The Big Silence” that we’ve been watching was probably uploaded illegally, or that the BBC changed its access level.  At any rate, the links are no longer working.

As Sister Paule Pierre said in the comments, we don’t immediately see another online source.  We will keep looking — and will try to find a way to obtain the DVD if nothing else works.

St Benedict tells us, in so many places in The Rule that we do not own anything — and this time, the Internet and copyright law have come along in their own surprising way to help us practice the virtue of “holding lightly” to things we expected to be there. 

Many thanks to the Oblates who left comments to let us know that the links were no longer working. 


Discussion: The Big Silence, Part 4

12 July 2014

This fourth segment of The Big Silence completely moves into the 8-day retreat at a Jesuit center. Their retreat director gives the participants a first in-depth exercise on Listening.

Oblates: Please drop a note in the comments box to share your reactions or your response. Did you try the Listening exercise?  Even if you just say “hello” it’s nice to know you are here.

Visitors: We are always happy to welcome people into our oblate community through the comments section; comments are moderated.

How to watch:  Video Divina

This is an excellent segment for applying the contemplative approach of lectio divina to viewing a video.

“If viewed properly, [video] can challenge monastic religious and others searching for God to explore their lives and apply the film’s principles to their own environment.”

~Fr Benedict Auer,
Video Divina: A Benedictine. Approach to Spiritual Viewing

Auer, Benedict, OSB. “Video Divina: A Benedictine Approach to Spiritual Viewing.”  Review for Religious 50.2 (1991): 239-44.


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