The Benedictine life is both ordinary and human, extraordinary and divine. It is ordinary and human because St. Benedict in his Rule encourages us to get on with the business of monastic life; it is extraordinary and divine because it is a response to a call from God and it is a life lived for others. Welcome to St. Scholastica Priory, a community of sisters located in Petersham, Massachusetts.
Our good friend Cedric Liqueur, an international independent actor and playwright who has given unforgettable performances to our communities and guests, will present his latest work in mid-June at the Petersham Town Hall. He says that “‘A Window Half-Open: The Story of Blessed Maria Gabriella of Unity’ is not so much a call for unity among all Christians as a call for the ecumenical journey that begins with the divisions each of us have in our own hearts. It also celebrates the unity that now exists in our church life, other faiths, cultures and idealogies.”
Since 1997 Cedric has written and produced historical biographies as one-man solo presentations. Check back here for the date, and don’t miss it!
In 2014 St. Scholastica Priory will host two Monastic Experience Weekends for young women interesting in discerning their vocation by living with the community for a few days to see their life at close hand: from February 14-16 and from August 8-10. For information on the weekends please click here.
If you are a single Catholic woman between the age of 18-40, and would like to discuss and discern a monastic vocation, dates can be arranged outside of the Monastic Weekends.
On April 20, 2013, two public conferences for the Year of Faith were hosted by St. Mary’s Monastery and St. Scholastica Priory. To listen to them click here:
by Fr. Robert Imbelli
by Mother Mary Elizabeth Kloss, OSB
The main events of this week are Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) and Ash Wednesday. But before that begins we do have a feast of a saint that we as Americans shouldn’t let slip by: a great United States saint born and bred here – St. Katherine Drexel (November 26, 1858 – March 3, 1955.) That name is probably familiar even if you have never heard of her. You may have heard of Drexel University that was founded by her uncle; it started in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry by Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel to provide educational opportunities in the “practical arts and sciences” for women and men of all backgrounds. Katherine’s mother died five weeks after she was born. Eventually her father remarried to Emma Bouvier. She had a heart like her husband’s. They distributed food, clothing and funds from their door twice a week. Emma also taught her daughters to seek out those who were too proud to come to the line and lived by the adage, “Kindness is unkind if it leaves a sting behind.” Unfortunately, Emma and Francis both died, leaving the huge fortune to Katherine and her sisters. It is an amazing story. There are some really good biographies out on her and here is a link to learn more: Katharine Drexel.
On Wednesday Lent begins when we all receive our ashes. It is amazing to me how I have to realize again and again that things weren’t always as they are now. Ashes on Ash Wednesday is one of those things; the sacramental we practice now to begin Lent has been being done since 960 AD. It marks the entrance into a period of repentance, a time of renewal. The history is interesting though and here is a link to learn more: Ash Wednesday. One of the things mentioned is that there are basically two ways the ashes are given to each person: a cross made on the forehead or a sprinkle on the crown. Years ago at the Ash Wednesday Mass we had a visiting priest. His method was the sprinkle on the head. Those of us who had black veils didn’t mind that at all but the poor novices did. Their on their pure white veils now had a good dusting of black ash. Oh funny! That is for us who didn’t wear white!
All kidding aside though this is a time of great grace and strength because the whole world is observing a time of renewal and recentering one’s life. No matter the number of Lents we all need that time to pull our heads up and consider what we are doing with our lives. A time to make more space for the Lord who poured out His life, His teaching and His blood to give us life beyond this earth. We can give things up or add something in – giving up food was the way I did it for years but I realize that giving up some time on the internet, using that time for prayer, reading some Scripture, making the Stations of the Cross, sitting and reflecting are much more powerful on recentering my life. There are many, many ways, but the main objective is a way to make you more aware of the love and determination of God to get our attention and raise us high to Himself. One last word on what you choose – if your Lenten observance makes you more irritable, less compassionate – chose something else. Remember this is our awe in the face of Jesus showing us the ultimate love God has for us – even unto death.
Love and prayers from us all,
Mother Mary Elizabeth, OSB