Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gratitude & Introduction

Hello, dear blog-followers!  
Upon completion of my two and a half weeks of orientation & retreat at St Benedict's Monastery, I come to realize and appreciate that these weeks more accurately were the beginning, the launch of my nine months of service. I must first share a bit about the start to this journey before I share about the service site itself.

My time at St Ben's in St Joseph, MN included refreshing days of reflection--a much slower pace of life than that to which I am accustomed.  Sisters Mary Catherine, Mary Jane, and Ann Marie put much time, energy, and care into planning what resulted in a very balanced experience.  I was treated to at least one presenter each morning and afternoon, with topics varying from culture shock and service to the Rule of Benedict & looking further into some of the Benedictine Values to an introduction to natural healing and even interpretation of my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator!  I am blessed to have shared a meal and conversation with a number of the living groups in the monastic community, and could not have hoped for more genuine hospitality from these groups and from the entire community--my St. Ben's family.  I was surrounded by love and humility as I joined the Sisters for prayers and meals, and was sent forth with a very moving blessing of support and prayer.  A wholehearted Thank You to each of you at St Ben's and St Scholastica's!

For the 2012-13 year I am the only volunteer of the Benedictine Women Service Corps (BWSC). I am honored to be representing St Benedict's Monastery in serving for nine months in Ridgely, Maryland! St Gertrude's Monastery is my host site for this time; I will be living in the guest wing of their monastery and serving through their many incredible ministries.  Even though I will further explain in posts & stories my areas of service in Ridgely, a brief overview for the time being...
The Benedictine School is a residential school for youth with disabilities.  There are many vocational "mini-businesses" in the school-- these are trades such as floral arrangement, clothing screen-printing, and embroidery in which graduates of the school can continue to work upon completion of the program.  Also related to completion of the Benedictine School program--up to the age of 21--is the opportunity to live in one of many group homes available to the graduates.  Soon I will be orientated further and be able to share more accurate background and information on all of these ministries!
St. Martin's Ministries are also on the Benedictine Lane campus.  St. Martin's House is a transitional living program for single women and their children who are without a place to live.  Women can stay in the program for up to two years and are taught life skills including, but not limited to, cooking, parenting, household duties, and making use of resources such as the internet to search for employment, education, etc in order to get back on their feet.  St. Martin's Barn IS a barn that has been renovated and added onto.  The Barn provides dry and frozen foods, clothing, & household items to eligible persons in Caroline County.

There is much more to say about all of these things, but much more is to come! 
Thank you in advance for your enthusiasm and support!

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