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Winter 2012

Connecting Point Wisdom Stories from the Benedictines Recorded writings on wisdom date back to the Ancient Greeks, including Aristotle, Socrates and Plato. Theism claimed it (the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament), as did Christianity (St. Paul’s letters). Thomas Aquinas considered wisdom to be the cause of all virtues. But what, really, is wisdom? Webster’s says it is “discernment and judgment; discretion; sagacity.” Ask a Benedictine Sister for her thoughts, though, and she’ll tell you it’s not about a definition. Instead, she says wisdom is about how we listen, learn and give our gifts away. Monastic Benedictine women should know. They steep themselves in scriptural wisdom, contemplative wisdom and the wisdom of their founder, St. Benedict. By the time Sisters retire from active ministry, they have accumulated the wisdom of the ages. Here, then, are the wisdom stories, reflections and observations from some of our elders. David’s Gift Sister Catherine Maloney says she gained more wisdom from a seven-year-old boy than she did from anyone else during her service as a Sr. Catherine hospital chaplain. She met Maloney David as he was losing his battle with cancer. “David had the heart of all children,” Sr. Catherine says. “He didn’t fear death.

Sisters of St. Benedict

He was sorry to be leaving his parents, though. He drew a picture for me of his house and the apples he wouldn’t be able to pick with his father. “David helped me understand that my job was not to preach, but to honor and respect the wishes of every patient. He helped me understand that my job would often be to help patients on the road to heaven. He helped me understand that patients would be less agitated and more willing to let go of life if their wishes were honored.” She says she learned that lesson during David’s First Communion. “All of the kids in his second-grade class had made their First Communion,” Sr. Catherine says. “I asked him if he wanted to make his, and he said he did.

St. Mary Monastery

So we made all these adult decisions about it. We brought balloons and gifts and invited a lot of guests. When the day came, we went into David’s room and he said he didn’t want to do it after all. We were all stunned. I asked him privately, David, is there a better time or way to do this? And he said, Yes. I want my mommy to bake the bread. “I went out and told his parents and the priest, and everyone agreed to do it. So we all came back the next day with his mother’s bread, and he made his First Communion. Thank God we did what he wanted. It made him so happy. He died a week later. I’ve used that lesson throughout my ministry.”

Continued next page

Rock Island, Illinois


Letter from the Prioress

The Spirit of Wisdom came to me Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of our desire; the one who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for that one shall find her sitting by the gate. Wis. 6: 12-14 I learned early in life that there was a big difference between intelligence and wisdom. A person can be very knowledgeable but lack wisdom. Years of experience interacting with different personalities and dealing with various situations oftentimes produces more wisdom than many years of education.

Sr. Phyllis McMurray

My daily prayer for wisdom and an understanding and compassionate heart began after I had done lectio on The Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament. The book expresses Solomon’s deep desire for wisdom and describes wisdom with stunning imagery and abundant metaphors: Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. (Wis. 7:7-10) Doesn’t that description make you want to learn more about wisdom? I encourage you to read Chapters 6 through 10 of The Book of Wisdom for an inspiring narrative describing an incredible gift that so often goes unnoticed. It’s well worth your time.

Wisdom Stories

cont’d. from page 1

Contemplative Listening The importance of deep, selfless, contemplative listening cannot be overstated, the Benedictines say. Sister Rosemary Becker says asking questions allows her to get to the heart of another’s need. “I pray for wisdom every day,” Sr. Rosemary says. “I pray to listen deeply, to avoid self righteousness and criticism of others. I pray to remain open Sr. Rosemary to seeing Christ in all, rather than simply my own vision of them. I pray to Becker avoid my own self-deceptive ways.” The Gift of Change At 93 years of age, Sister Mary Jean Feeney credits change as a tremendous teacher. “It was most challenging in my life to be going along, satisfied, and all of a sudden be called to something completely different. I was a teacher for 40 years before being called home to the business office as Treasurer. It was a surprise. I was a math teacher and had no accounting background. I was 65 years old. Continued on Page 6 2


The Veil She Prized Turned Out to be a Habit! “I never wanted to be a nun.” This is the first of several surprising admissions from Sister Marlene Miller, OSB, who obviously changed her mind. “I wanted to get married and have 6 children.”   Boy, did she. As a young girl, Marlene’s favorite game was “bride.” She dressed up in lace curtains and chose names for her children (Paul, Marcus, Marsha, Brian, Keith and Andre). By the time she entered high school, Marlene was so distracted by boys that her grades had dropped. Her parents decided to take action.

initial resentment and unhappiness. Eventually, she grew to love her teachers and classes as well.   Called to wear a different kind of veil   The years went by happily, and Marlene began to consider life after SMA. She still planned to get married, but decided

again when I graduated.   “I went home and asked my parents, ‘What would you think if I joined the Benedictines?’ Dad was smoking and Mom was working in the kitchen. Mom said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us before we paid the non-refundable deposit at St. John’s?’ Dad blew smoke and said, ‘It will take a 1st class miracle to make it work.’”   Sr. Marlene entered on the last weekend of August ... and began a career in teaching that lasted decades. She never did get to nursing school.

  “They thought I was getting a little too frivolous,” Sr. Marlene says. “Mom wrote to three different religious boarding schools. I chose the one closest to home, so I could spend the weekends with my friends. But my parents had other ideas.”

  Lessons from the Convent  

  They drove three hours to Nauvoo, where they were given a two-hour tour. The Sisters described their program. The family watched the annual Passion Play put on by the students, in which the girls played boys’ parts. Her parents were smitten. Marlene was aghast.   “I pouted all the way home,” Sr. Marlene says. “Mom handed me some literature about the school and I threw it on the floor. I spent the summer with my friends, trying to forget where I was headed.   “When I got there in the fall, I hated it. Everyone had made friends already, as freshmen. I didn’t want to make friends. I wanted to make plans to run away.”   Within a few weeks, however, Marlene began to make friends in spite of her

to become a nurse in the meantime. She applied to and was accepted by St. John’s School of Nursing in Springfield.   “I was going to be a nurse!” I said to myself. “It was what I wanted, and I was happy, but I wasn’t thrilled. I thought I should be thrilled. I asked one of the elder Sisters why. She said, ‘Maybe it’s not what God is calling you to do.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to be a Sister. I want to get married and have kids.’ She said, ‘Sometimes it’s not what you want but what God wants.’

People often say the right decision brings a sense of peace, and Sr. Marlene is no exception. She says she felt comfortable, peaceful and happy when she had made her decision to enter the convent, unlike her feeling of uneasiness as she contemplated attending St. John’s.   “Every life involves sacrifice and hardships,” she says. “Living with one another, keeping your vows whether in marriage or religious life: these can be hard to do. But the sense of peace I felt when I came here has never left me.”   As for her career path? Sr. Marlene chuckles and says it’s proof that God has a sense of humor.

 

 

“Well, I thought, I don’t want to be a teacher. I want to be a nurse or even a social worker, but never a teacher. Mother Clarisse suggested I pursue nursing school and think about entering

“Tell me God doesn’t have a plan,” she says. “I absolutely loved teaching. And I love my job as sub-prioress today. Any job I’ve had, I’ve loved. Any place I’ve lived, I’ve loved. I have been truly blessed.” 3


An Oblate’s Journey into Thoughts It’s a sunny and crisp October day in Rock Island. Puffs of exhaust trail from cars as Benedictine Oblates pull into the monastery parking lot. They are arriving for an annual retreat day which will include deep sharing, laughter, a little business and a challenging presentation from the speaker, Sister Meg Funk, OSB. The Oblates are a group of about 200 people who live according to the Rule of Benedict in their own lives and homes. They are Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian and unaffiliated. They are machinists and professors, pastors and stay-at-home moms. They are women and men, retired and working, single and married. As diverse as they are, the Oblates have at least one thing in common. They are seekers. “Oblates are simply ordinary people who affiliate themselves with a Benedictine monastery to grow spiritually,” Oblate Director Sister Ruth Ksycki, OSB says. “Anyone can come to the meetings to learn about our program. All that is Sr. Meg Funk plays the recorder to inspire contemplative moments during required is a desire to seek God.” the Oblate Retreat Day in October.

Seeking God the Benedictine Way The Rule of Benedict begins with the word, “Listen,” and that’s what the group will do today. Fortified with coffee, rolls and the joy of seeing old friends, the Oblates turn their attention to the podium. Sr. Meg – a Benedictine author from Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Ind. - begins her presentation with a meditative melody played on a flute-like recorder. This, too, is Benedictine: contemplative moments - whether musical, pictorial or utterly silent – help put one in a receptive, prayerful mood. “What’s it mean to be saved?” Sr. Meg asks as she sets her recorder down. She frames her presentation, which is based on her books Humility Matters, Thoughts Matter and Tools Matter, personally. “We mustn’t look for a savior outside ourselves, but through ourselves. Through our own relationships.”

Sr. Meg Funk

Sr. Meg suggests that we prepare ourselves for this work by identifying and renouncing things that take us away from spiritual growth and inner life. “First, we must renounce our former way of life,” Sr. Meg says. “We must learn to talk like and be like Jesus. We must follow the teachings of and incorporate the Gospel into our lives. To do that we must renounce the way we were. “Second, we must renounce all the thoughts that take us back into our former life. Those thoughts can be categorized into eight Afflictive Thoughts (next page). When we do this, 4


we enjoy purity of heart and radiate light.

greedy, owning too few can impoverish us. The goal here is to be mindful: am I buying something because I need it (remembering that beauty and comfort are needs) or because I’m trying to satisfy a deeper need?

Pictured are those who became Oblate candidates, Left to Right: Christine Spencer, Elizabeth Flores, Renee Wade, Rhea Cottingham, Kathy Negaard, Toni Wilkens, Pat Hartmann.

“Third, we must renounce all self-made concepts of God. By definition, thoughts of God are not God. We must learn to experience God unmediated by language. We must learn to let God be God. When we do this we find illumination. “Last, we must learn to renounce thoughts of Self. We are not our thoughts. When we do this we become totally transparent. We totally mediate God.” The Afflictive Thoughts By devoting serious, prayerful attention to the renunciations, they can become more than ideals; they can become practical goals. That said, Sr. Meg notes, most of us will spend our lives struggling against the Afflictive Thoughts of the second renunciation. As with the renunciations themselves, methods exist for overcoming them. The first step? Recognizing that we can, indeed, control our thoughts. The Affliction of Food (and Drink) Many of us have issues with food and drink. We consume too much or too little; we obsess about it. The goal here is to be moderate. The Affliction of Sex Indiscriminate thoughts of sex are undesirable and can be destructive. They can lead, as all thoughts, to obsession, adultery and misery. The goal here is to be true to your vocation, whether single, married or religious. The Affliction of Things Our culture supports this affliction! The trouble is that the acquisition of things doesn’t end covetousness but contributes to it. That is, the more we get, the more we want! But here’s a caveat: While owning too many things can be

The Affliction of Anger Anger is a disease of the mind. It clogs up our arteries so that we are blind and no longer able to sort, deliberate or discern. The antidote is forgiveness. Period. The Affliction of Depression If you don’t eliminate your anger, it comes back as depression. It can manifest as an indistinct bad mood, a lack of energy and ultimately even a mood disorder. It doesn’t offend God, but it does deprive us of our relationship with God, because we are too dejected to feel joy. Confessing our feelings, finding help in others is a step in the right direction. Forgive those – including ourselves – and take medication if needed. The Affliction of Acedia This is sickness of the soul; of the spiritual appetite. We behave with scorn and derision to others, we are disdainful of the things that bring them joy. It can be toxic to a group or a relationship. Manual labor and faithful execution of duties are an effective antidote. It passes, usually with compunction. The Affliction of Vainglory Here, we do all the right things for all the wrong reasons! It’s sometimes hard to detect because those who are afflicted are so good at it. Often they are arrogant and competitive. A clue to whether someone is afflicted is their reaction to making a little mistake. They become quite embarrassed. Learning humility is key. Continued on back cover

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Wisdom Stories

cont’d. from page 2

“I was asked to think about it. I realized I had promised to do what was needed for the community, so I said yes. I went up to Notre Dame to learn accounting and computer skills. You know, every cloud has a silver lining: I found great satisfaction in learning a new skill. “The change turned out to be a blessing. I got to enjoy accounting as much as I enjoyed teaching. I’ve found joy in whatever I’ve done. It’s taken patience and perseverance. Everybody has ups and downs. The downs aren’t just bad. They’re alerting us to something that we shouldn’t miss.” Be True to Your Values As a spiritual director, Sister Teresa Ann Harrington has spent many hours both listening to and simply being present to her directees’ hopes and fears. What wisdom has come of that? “This may sound glib, but I believe the most important thing in life is to be true to your vocation, whatever it is,” she says. “The values of decency, honesty, caring for others, a willingness to give of oneself to others: these are important. They give you peace. Sr. Teresa Ann Harrington

6

Today, Sr. Mary Jean , left, works with Sr. Jackie Walsh at Benet House Retreat Center. Sr. Mary Jean says her computer skills have not only helped keep her mind sharp, they have helped keep her in touch with friends and family.

“I told my sister, ‘This will be my first miracle.’ She looked at me and said, ‘Your first? I have them every day!’”

“There will come a time in everyone’s life when the reality of their lives is right at their doorstep,” she says. “Live life so that you are ready for that.”

Sr. Rita’s nephew did, in fact, get better. But she says the wisdom contained in her sister’s sentiment is worth taking to heart. That is, everyday life is miraculous: the sunrise, the sound of a baby’s laughter, forgiveness. We should celebrate the miracles that make ordinary life extraordinary.

Claim Your Miracles

Forgive Yourself

On her first visit home after joining the community, Sister Rita Cain remembers being full of religious fervor. She had brought a Benedictine medal to pin to the sleeper of her sister’s new baby. He had been quite ill and Sr. Rita Sr. Rita Cain greets guests in the wanted to help him get better. Welcome Area of the monastery.

Sister Mary Jane Wallace is in-between piano lessons. She’s been thinking a lot lately about what we expect from kids in the classroom and at the keyboard. She’s decided we need to spend more time praising and less time criticizing.

Sr. Mary Jane Wallace

“As teachers, we always stressed the negative,” she says. “We would mark tests as -2 rather than +8, for example. But you know, that’s what kids


remember. The negative. They remember what they failed to do. And that’s not right. “I just had two beautiful young girls play a duet in a public performance. They played perfectly when they played alone. But when they played together they had trouble. Once upon a time I would have warned them about failing. But I told them just to have fun. “I think our tendency to criticize others comes from not forgiving ourselves. If we can learn to forgive ourselves for being less than we can be, maybe we can forgive others. And maybe we can model self-forgiveness to others.” Be Willing to Learn

Sr. Marilyn Ring

In a coffee house near Augustana College where she serves as Catholic campus minister, Sister Marilyn Ring sips her latte. She is feeling tender. Last night (All Souls Day night), the community had come together for the annual recitation of names of the Sisters who have died. Sr. Marilyn says she could see every Sister she had known as her name was read.

“I was filled with so much gratitude for what they had given to me,” she says. “Sister Modesta ran the laundry. Without obviously instructing me she taught me the value of working together, of caring for the Sisters’ sheets and towels and clothes. “Sister Claire Louise took such loving care of the little children at our school. She would put a raincoat on over her habit to give them a shower. Nothing was too much to ask of her. She loved and cared for those children as if they were her own. “Sister Bernarda, our nurse, showed loving care and respect for us when we were in pain. Nothing was ever too inconvenient or difficult to take to her. She was both a physical and psychological healer. Sr. Catherine Cleary chats with a guest during a tour of the chapel.

“Sister Martha – so aptly named! Anyone who went to her was

nourished and cared for, anytime of day or night. Guests, Sisters, students: anyone could come into her kitchen for a cup of coffee. “These women taught me hospitality, compassion, a spirituality of life and love. They taught me that it wasn’t all about me. For example, the work wasn’t done until everyone was finished. If there were dishes to be washed, they were our responsibility. I learned to focus on the ‘we,’ not the ‘me.’ This came from the elders.” Knowing Wisdom How can we recognize wisdom? “Well, if you are asking the question you are a seeker, so you already have some wisdom,” Sister Catherine Cleary muses. “Look within your own heart,” she says. “The answers are there, where God dwells. Take the time to listen. Wise conclusions, wise decisions resonate in your heart.” Sister Cabrini Rael adds a one-word caveat. “Silence,” she says. When pressed, she adds, “If you don’t practice the art of silence, you’ll never have any wisdom. Just don’t say anything.” Wise words to carry with us as the New Year unfolds.

Sr. Cabrini Rael 7


Monastery Notes Shared Wisdom Guides Benedictine Election Process April 2012 will be an election month for more than primary presidential, Congressional and municipal hopefuls. That’s when the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery will assemble to elect their next prioress as well. They will do so using a process quite unlike the one used in civic elections, however. They will utilize a process of discernment, guided by the Holy Spirit, minus electioneering, TV ads, and mailers. That process calls for what Sister Mary Benet McKinney, OSB terms “a philosophy of shared wisdom.” Discernment is “seeing with the eye of the heart,” Sr. Johnette Putnam, OSB writes.* “It’s … a way of life, the way of life of the Gospel, of the Rule of Benedict. The process simply facilitates the surfacing of the necessary information, i.e., the content of the decision, and helps to create an environment for attentive listening with the heart, freely sharing, and prayerfully reflecting together.” When the Sisters gather, they will listen with New Prioress Sr. Phyllis McMurray receives a blessing from outgoing Prioress the ear of the heart, see with the eye of the Sr. Ruth Ksycki in 2004, during Sr. Phyllis’ installation ceremony. Also pictured heart, and prayerfully reflect both alone and is Sr. Sheila McGrath. together as they move through the election process. The process includes formal periods of questioning, sharing, listening and reflecting, and continues until the entire community votes as one. “While there is no one way to do discernment, there are certain attitudes and behaviors that are critical to the process. Trust is essential. People must trust themselves and their personal wisdom, they must trust each other, and they must trust the Spirit to be at work within the group. “Holy indifference is another critical attitude. It is a very difficult stance but it is absolutely necessary if the Spirit is to be free to function within the group. Each person must approach the process completely open to all possibilities. To decide in advance who you will vote for or who you will not vote for is to interfere with the work of the Spirit.” Mary Benet McKinney, OSB* The election will take place over the weekend of April 20-22, and will select the 13th prioress of St. Mary Monastery in its 138-history. As spiritual and community leader, the new prioress will serve up to two four-year terms, and replace the outgoing Sister Phyllis McMurray, OSB. Sister Phyllis first was elected eight years ago, in 2004. We ask your prayers as we enter the election process. We will announce the new prioress both on our website, www.smmsisters.org, and on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ BenedictineSistersStMaryMonastery. *Selections taken from Discerning Community Leadership: The Benedictine Tradition, published by the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses, 1993. 8


Sister Maggie Completes Rite of Transfer Sister Mary Magdalene Buergler, OSB, became a Benedictine Sister of St. Mary Monastery during a simple but beautiful Rite of Transfer service in October. Sr. Maggie had chosen to transfer to St. Mary Monastery after her community - Our Lady of Peace Monastery - closed in 2010. Sr. Maggie says, while the decision to leave her home and friends in Columbia, Mo., was tremendously difficult, she loves her new home. “It took a great deal of courage and faith to begin again,” she says. “But I’ve experienced incredible growth. I am grateful my journey led me here to this community. “I am grateful to be a member of a larger community. Our Lady of Peace had just seven members when it closed. It’s been wonderful to have a diversity of ages and perspectives. My community, spiritual and prayer life have been enriched. I look forward to continuing to share who I am and move with this community into the blessings and challenges of the unknown future.” Sr. Maggie’s Rite of Transfer was held during Vespers on Oct. 29, 2011, and was followed by a festive meal of joyful celebration.

Monastery Open House Celebrates 10 Years in Rock Island To thank the Quad-City area for 10 years of hospitality, the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery invited the public to a party on Sun. Oct. 30, 2011. The party included tours of Benet House and the monastery, conversation and refreshments with the Sisters. About 200 guests came, including old friends from Nauvoo and new friends from the Quad Cities. “We were glad to be able to offer hospitality to the people who have welcomed us here in Rock Island,” Prioress Sister Phyllis McMurray says. “We have been very happy in our new Sr. Phyllis McMurray gives tours of the li- home. We wanted to say thank you to all those who have helped extend such a warm welcome brary during an Open House last October. to us.”

How About a Retreat this Spring? Many inspiring programs and retreats are on tap at Benet House this semester, including those listed here. For a complete listing, visit www.smmsisters.org! Holy Week Retreat Participate with the monastic community in silence, prayer and the solemn liturgies of the Last Supper, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thurs. April 5, 4 pm-Sun. April 8, 1 pm. Fee: $155 Women’s Retreat : Sacred Moments in Everyday Life This is an invitation to those who are seeking a deeper life of prayer. We will gain insights from the Rule of St. Benedict and challenges from “The Monastery of the Heart,” by Joan Chittister, OSB. Presenter: Sr. Marilyn Ring, OSB. Fri. June 22, 7 pm–Sun. June 24, 1 pm; Fee: $150 (private room), $135 (shared room). 9


The Class of 1986 held their reunion Sept. 23-25, 2011. Shown l-r: Catherine Dolan, Bonnie Bertucci Kassel, Betsy O’Meara McNeil

SMA News 1979 Deb Walsh feels blessed to have grown up with the most amazing group of women at SMA.

1998

Nan Iam owns a fashion shop in Thailand and plans to open a cosmetics shop too.

1984 Sara Maritza Martinez Rodriguez loves this newsletter!

1999

1989 Alison Wild enjoys our website and is grateful we are still the rock of stability she knew as a student.

1995 Paola Gonzalez says “I’m so sorry if I gave you a hard time sneaking around at night so I could use the phone

Isabel Rodriguez married Eduardo Barrera and works with her father at the family’s Hotel Casa Contentinal in Mexico. Visit the website at www.hotelcasacontentinental.com.

for more than 15 minutes!”

Held on Oct. 7-9, 2011, the alums attending this multi-class reunion had a blast. Seated on floor, l-r: Cindy Verkler ‘81, Jessica Breen ‘77, Cathy Zeigler ‘77, Jennifer Gallagher ‘77. Seated on chairs, 2nd row: Monika Brunner ‘80, Andrea Riscinite ‘80, Laura Gallagher ‘80, Bernie Murphy ‘78, Deb Walsh ‘79, Betsy Durbin ‘79, Ann Schumacher ‘79, Chris Fitzmaurice ‘79, Tracee Hutt ‘79, Lisa Sardon ‘79. Back row: Hannah Breheny ‘80, Tina Meyers ‘80, Reeda Marts ‘77, Kathleen Cowhey ‘79, Diann Murphy ‘79, Jo Barrett ‘80, Stephanie Shay ‘81, Donna Moore ‘81, Nancy Yowell ‘81. Missing from photo: Pam Luth ‘76, Suzanne Connor ‘80. 10


Reunion Announcements Class of 1965 Reunion May 4-6, 2012

Class of 1952 Reunion June 30- July 1, 2012

Class of 1962 Reunion September 14-16, 2012

The Class of 1966 enjoyed a wonderful 45th anniversary reunion Aug. 12 – 14. Kneeling l-r: Carol Leonard, Barb Blough, Justine McHale. Second row l-r:  Nell Wiles, Linda Simon, Cindy Causemaker, Paula Jones, Betty Slupkowski. Third row l-r:  Mary Beth Kapp, Linda Knepper, Laura Tatarchuk, Mary Kay Wyffles, Betsy Van Horn and Marty Panther. 

Class of 1959 Reunion CANCELED

Staff members attending the Class of ‘76’82 Reunion include l-r: Sr. Susan Hutchens and Sr. Phyllis McMurray (seated), and Ann Conver, Vicky Tufano, Sr. Bobbi Bussan and Sr. Marlene Miller. Not pictured: Br. Bill Myers, Diane Francque, Nancy Clemenson.

Connecting Point

In Memoriam ... Anita Stablein Lomax ‘46, died in 2011. Mother of Stephanie Shay Buchholz ‘81, died in 2011. Mark, husband of Jessica Breen Dennis ‘77,  died Jan. 4, 2012. Victoria McMurray, mother of Sister Phyllis McMurray, died Oct. 21, 2011. Daughter of Bonnie Preuss Viviano ‘58, died Nov. 29. 2011. Mary Elizabeth Metz ‘36, sister of Sister Benita Reavy‘39, died Oct. 5, 2011.

Winter 2012 Published three times a year by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL 61201 Phone: 309-283-2100 Fax: 309-283-2200 Editor Susan Flansburg sflansburgpr@smmsisters.org www.smmsisters.org

Eddie Gordon, father of Diane Gordon Clow ‘68, died Aug. 24, 2011. Mother of Reeda Martz Buresh ‘77, died in 2011. Mother of Cheryl Costello, ‘68 died Dec, 8, 2011

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Oblates

cont’d. from Page 5

The Affliction of Pride This is doing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. This affliction can lead us to make deals with evil. When we regard ourselves as being morally above reproach, we behave as final arbiters in questions of daily living as well as morals. We are not. Again, humility is key. And Now, Tomorrow Martha Popson made her final oblation during the Oblate Retreat Day in October.

Join us on our Facebook page at “Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery”!

Vespers comes at the end of the day and with it, the prayerful quiet of the chapel. After a day of hard thinking, it’s a relief to simply … be. Be with God. The Oblates clasp hands and exchange best wishes for the coming year. Many of them won’t see each other till next October, although small groups do meet monthly. Digging car keys out of pockets and purses, they step out the door into the now-waning day. They are ready to continue along their own journeys, nourished for the next leg of the trip. The Benedictine Oblate Program is an ecumenical program open to all seekers. To learn more about it, contact Sr. Ruth Ksycki at rksycki@smmsisters.org or (309) 283-2106.


Connecting Point Winter 2012