I will never, never skip a word of the Rule of St. Benedict again!
All of you who read the Rule know there are parts that don’t seem to fit anymore in the 21st century. I was part of that group who would read what I THOUGHT was relevant and skip the rest.
Today I was at a conference with an ecumenical group of Benedictines. I casually made the remark about not having to read it all because, “Whoever heard of a monk sleeping with his knife anymore?”
No sooner had I said that when a bearded monk reached into his pocket and showed everyone the knife he slept with closeby!
So who knows what will come next?
That is the question that comes from everyone who participates in Being Benedictine, a movement begun by three courageous women: Judith Sutera, OSB, and Judith Valente, oblate, both from Atchison, Kan., and Linda Romey, OSB, from Erie, Pa.
Three years ago, these women came together to ask questions, and this past May, 220 men and women came together to ask more questions. We were vowed religious, oblates, volunteers, seekers, staff from Benedictine organizations, and, a surprise to many—Benedictines from other faith communities! There were representatives from dispersed communities which have vowed religious, lay people, children and dogs under the same roof! Everyone was passionate about how to move into the 21st century and carry the Benedictine voice to a world needing so much and often not realizing what is missing.
Sharing which took place was incredible in creativity, honesty, being vulnerable and risk taking. We learned so much from one another and yet, this is only the beginning. Being Benedictine needs all of you, all of us.
After being with persons from other faiths, I also would like to make a suggestion. We are so used to referring to them as “non” Catholics. I believe this is arrogant on our part. We are defining other faiths by what they are not. Why not use their name? If they are Lutheran, or Methodist, or Presbyterians, let’s say who they are. It may take a little longer, but they do have a name. However, there is a new group in our midst who does like to be referred to as NONE. Come to the Being Benedictine website and meet Nuns and NONES and much more.
Pat Pickett, OblSB
Photo: Benedictine medal, taken by Sister Nancy Bauer