groovy though they may be, I am not a benedictine

Three posts in one day … hmmm…. you’d think I hadn’t chatted with folks in a while! :)

Sr. Steph jokingly asked me in a comment to an earlier post if I’d become a Benedictine yet … And while I had a wonderful time in the peaceful environs of the Benedictine Monastery, enjoyed the numerous daily common prayer times and was well taken care of, the answer as expected is no. My time away affirmed my call to religious life, but as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.

My time there also confirmed that I do not feel a pull to monastic life, although I can definitely understand its pull. The regular common prayer, living mostly all together in one large community and having one geographic base to which you are rooted all have their appeal. On my many walks I often went by the Sisters’ cemetery, where each Sister has been buried since they were founded in the 1880’s. Even the foundress is buried there. This particular headstone is for the 1st American Sister, Protasia Schindler. She features in another story I hope to tell you all in the coming days.


Before I starting exploring all this vocation stuff, the difference between a monastic order and an active apostolic order would have seemed small, confusing or immaterial. But there is a difference, and the pull I feel is both to the particular charism of my groovy sisters and to the active apostolic life. Not that Benedictine Sisters aren’t active, but they are organized around the Rule of Benedict which, while they have obviously adapted it to modern times, leads to a more ordered and stable group existence.

And not that apostolic orders don’t pray. It’s just different. This passage from the groovy sisters’ constitutions explains it beautifully: “Our intimacy with God unifies our prayer and activity so that we are moved to action by prayer while action urges us to pray.”

Plus, since our foundress is buried in England and we have Sisters in the UK, Ireland, East Coast, Alaska, Pacific Northwest and El Salvador, I have lots of travelling in my future! Which I’ll admit I find very appealing.

There are MANY religious communities, which anyone who has perused the Vision Magazine can tell you. To a discerner this can be confusing, while you look for where Jesus is calling you. To regular church going folks, the differences perhaps seem small or insignificant. But each community is special and needed by the church. May they all continue to thrive and bring blessings to our world through their ministries.

1 comment:

Claude Muncey said...

Tremendous, Susan. While I am a Camaldolese Benedictine oblate many of my friends are members or associates of apostolic communities, and we talk a bit about the different charisms. It is a real grace to be able to work out this part of your discernment. My prayers for you will continue.