Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inclusion in action

There is a new affiliate at the monastery of St. Scholastica in Minnesota. Her name is Carla Flood and she is legally blind. As an affilidate, Carla will discern her call to religious life over the next six months to a year before seeking admission.

Upon her arrival, Carla was asked to state her intentions and, once those were accepted, she and the rest of the community  were led in a procession  by the Prioress, Sr. Lois Eckes, to the accompaniment of  recorder music to Mid-day prayer.

St. Scholastica is a community of Benedictine monastic women who seek God in response to the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict. They have been "rooted in the city and diocese of Duluth for 125 years". On their website, Sr. Barbara Ann Vierzba, the subprioress, says "I am amazed at how well we share our time, gifts, and talents with one another. I belong to a Benedictine family that participates in prayer, work, and leisure. Everyone is important."

Inclusion makes it possible for communities to open their doors to all who seek to "develop their individual talents and rejoice in the sharing of these gifts through different ministries". That is the message of this story. As Carla, like any other affiliate, prays, discusses and contemplates whether she will decide to permanently join the community at the monastery, I ask all of my readers to pray for the entire community - that already includes this affiliate among them.

[visual description: A photo above at left shows Carla standing before Sr. Lois Eckes, the Prioress of the monastery, stating her intentions. Carla holds a cane with a white tip and is dressed in a black suit with a pink blouse. The Prioress wears a robe and carries a black book.
In a photo at right, Carla follows the Prioress in a procession of the community. Behind her the rest of the community follows.]