From June 30 to July 4, 2013, five Sisters from St. Scholastica Monastery attended the 28th annual Monastic Institute held at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. Sisters in attendance this year included Sister Agnes Fleck, Sister Ann Marie Wainright, Sister Donna Schroeder, Sister Mary Josephine Torborg, and Postulant Therese Carson.
The theme of this year’s institute was “The Monastic Imaginary and the Common Life,” exploring how our imaginations shape our lived experience as Benedictines. Imagination and creativity shaped the common life of prayer and work of our monastic ancestors and enhance our perception of the blessings and challenges facing communities today. Such awareness opens us to imagining what is possible, now and in the future, through the action of God’s grace.
The four speakers addressed this theme from a variety of perspectives, including: the experiences of three women mystics; the liturgical movement’s creative influence on social action for the poor as well as on laypersons; the power of art and worship space design; and the anxieties and wisdom flowing from the tradition of Greek philosophers, the desert fathers, and prominent Church figures like St. Augustine.
The Sisters also had the opportunity to tour the Abbey Church; view original pages of the St. John’s Bible at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library; enjoy a concert by the National Catholic Youth Choir; join the Sisters of St. Benedict’s Monastery for prayer, supper, and a presentation; and reconnect with old friends while making new ones.