In my last post I asked you to tell me what you wanted to know about my life, especially in terms of my anticipated Perpetual Profession. Several people responded with a wide range of questions and I loved it! Here I will tackle the first inquiry.
How does the “Benedictine Monastic life” differ from the life of the Presentation Sisters or the School Sisters of Notre Dame? This is a good question and basically it is asking about the difference between women’s Religious Communities.
Religious communities differ in their flavor, feel, and attitude based on their foundation and history, their geographical location and local lore, and their make-up and focus. Women’s religious communities can be divided into three general categories. The hardest part about marking categories and labeling a religious community in any one group is that most communities have characteristics of all three. But here I go…
Active/apostolic communities focus on ministries directly with people. These sisters may minister as teachers, nurses, doctors, administrators, artists, missionaries, and the list can go on and on. Members of active/apostolic communities may live in groups or alone and they also have an active prayer ministry.
Cloistered/Contemplative refers to religious women who live in an enclosed space, not accessible to outsiders, and who may not go outside the area without permission. These religious women do not engage in active ministries outside their enclosure. Their lives are taken up in prayer and meditation. In order to sustain themselves, communities perform such tasks as bee-keeping, farming, artistic work, vestment production, baking, and computer work.
Monastic Life…Benedictine Monastic Life is a way of seeking God in response to the Gospel challenge and the Rule of St. Benedict. Benedictines live a contemplative/active life, grounded in liturgical and personal prayer balanced by work, study, and leisure. We got it all! Even though work and ministry are important and life-giving, everything revolves around prayer! Monastics encourage each other to develop individual talents and rejoice in the sharing of these gifts with one another. Community is a big thing!
One obvious distinction about Benedictine Monastic Life compared to other religious communities is our Profession – the lifelong commitment that we make. You may be used to hearing that Sisters take vows – the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. As Benedictines we profess stability, fidelity to the monastic life, and obedience.
In a future post I will share my thoughts about our threefold commitment to discipleship.
Sister Lisa Maurer
Sister Lisa Maurer was born and raised in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Before entering the Monastery, she taught and coached in Catholic Schools within the New Ulm Diocese. Sister Lisa made her first Monastic Profession in August 2009. Her first ministry was working at the parishes of St. Lawrence and St. Joseph in Duluth. Currently she is the Mission Integration Manager of the Benedictine Health System. See all of Sister Lisa’s posts.