News Release: Retreat with The Saint John's Bible

Retreat with The Saint John’s Bible

Sower and the Seed, Aidan Hart, Copyright 2002, The Saint John's Bible, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.

Sower and the Seed, Aidan Hart, Copyright 2002, The Saint John's Bible, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.

Brad Neary, M.A. from Seattle, WA, and Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, will present a retreat titled, Praying with The Saint John’s Bible at Saint Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on October 19 – 20, 2019. The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten, hand illuminated Bible in more than five hundred years, on approximately 1,150 pages and including 160 major illuminations. The Heritage Edition is a limited edition, fine art reproduction of the original and has engaged the world’s finest printing experts and binders to ensure faithful representation of the original manuscript. A copy of it had been donated to St. Benedict Center where it will be on perpetual display starting in 2020. On this weekend, you will get to know The Saint John’s Bible and receive help with practicing lectio divina with the text and visio divina with the stunning and inspiring images.


 
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Brad Neary is the director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program. He is responsible for collaborating with institutions in the western region of North America who express an interest in acquiring one of the 299 sets of the 7-volume Heritage Edition. Mr. Neary also serves as senior development officer for St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He holds a Master’s in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota and resides in Seattle, WA. Listen to one of his captivating presentations here.

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Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB holds a Master’s of Religious Studies from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, and serves as administrator of St. Benedict Center.

The retreat begins on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and ends on Sunday after lunch. The program fee is $ 50; room and board are additional. For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819 or register here.














Fall Newsletter from Fr. Thomas, OSB

Dear Friends,

A French diplomat, who had close contact with Pope John XXIII, was asked what impressed him the most with this pope. His witty and humorous response: “It is his big ears!” Pope John XXIII was a good listener.

Mary and Martha, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA

Mary and Martha, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA

So was Saint Benedict. He begins his Rule with a call to listening. We are meant to hear Christ when he speaks to us. We are meant to listen to him, not only with our physical ears, but with our hearts: “Incline the ear of your heart,” Benedict advises (Prologue 1). According to the Father of Western Monasticism, the voice of the Lord reaches us through Holy Scripture—and through people as well, each of whom could be a messenger of Christ to us. Benedict devotes his long Chapter 53 to hospitality: “All guests who present themselves should be received like Christ, for he himself will say: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’” (Rule 53:1; Matthew 25:35). All guests: Openness to all people is characteristic for Benedictine hospitality, without selection, without social, political or religious prejudices. Benedict does, however, show a special fondness for the poor. “In them more particularly Christ is received” (53:15).

Part of hospitality is inviting the guests to prayer. The guests are taken into the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the center of the monks’ community life. Also, the monks are meant to show the guests every kindness, to make time for them, to sit down with them and to read Holy Scripture with them. This is an encounter at eye level. It is about exchanging experiences, not about instruction; it is about listening and sharing.

The guest is, according to Benedict, a gift of God to the community. He makes this point by having the community, in the presence of the guest, pray the Psalm verse: “God, we have received your mercy in the midst of your temple” (53:14; Psalm 47:10). A contemporary of Benedict, Cassiodorus, writes in an explanation of this verse: “We call Christ, the Lord, ‘mercy;’ in him, God has shown mercy to an orphaned world.” In the guest Christ, the mercy of God, comes and remains in the monastery. – At St. Benedict Center we are grateful to you, our guests; we try to listen to you and to serve you in the spirit of St. Benedict.

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Among the upcoming programs I would like to point out to you especially those related to our permanent exhibit of The Saint John’s Bible’s Heritage Edition which will open early next year: the presentation by Tim Ternes from Collegeville, MN, on September 10, and the retreat on Praying with the Saint John’s Bible on October 19 – 20. – I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator



News Release: Marriage Enrichment Retreat at Saint Benedict Center

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On September 7 – 8, 2019, Jim and Maureen Otremba will come to St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, and present a retreat for married couples titled, Gifts and Fruits: Cultivating a Spirit-Filled Marriage. Come join these veteran facilitators as they examine the transformation which comes when couples accept and live out the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Each couple will be empowered with tools and practices that will bless their marriage with new and abundant fruit. Includes talks, personal and couple reflection time, Mass and Reconciliation.

Jim and Maureen Otremba have been married since 1995 and have been part-time stay-at-home parents since 1999. They are the parents of 10 children, 7 in Heaven and three on earth. They are frequent presenters of retreats and workshops for couples, deacons and their wives, and lay ministers around the U.S. Both hold Master’s degrees in Catholic theology and have appeared on EWTN. Maureen is an adjunct instructor in theology at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. She has held a variety of Catholic ministry positions including working with youth and adults. Jim also holds a Master of Science in Applied Psychology, is finishing his doctorate in psychology, and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota. He is the owner of a state licensed mental health clinic in MN. Jim is a regular guest on national Catholic Radio (Relevant Radio). Together they bring their personal and professional teachings to thousands of Catholics each year throughout the U.S. through workshops, Catholic workbooks, and retreats. They created www.catholicfamilyresources.com to empower and equip Catholic families to live out their baptismal calling to holiness.

The retreat runs from Saturday 9:00 a.m. to Sunday after lunch. The program fee is $ 70 per couple. Room and board are additional. Register at www.StBenedictCenter.com or call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819.

Kathleen Norris to Speak at Saint Benedict Center

On June 28 - 29, 2019, award-winning poet, writer, and best-selling author Kathleen Norriswill come to St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, and speak on the topic of Seeking God Together.On Friday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. she will give an evening presentation, followed by discussion and sharing.  On Saturday, June 29, she will present from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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“Whether he truly seeks God”—this is the criterion in the Rule of Saint Benedict (58:7) for the novice master in regard of a person who wants to become a monk. Seeking God leads all of us beyond superficiality to what matters. Seeking God is not only an individual pursuit, but must be anchored in one’s local community. This means a constant struggle between freedom and obedience, listening and asserting oneself, possessing and letting go, clinging to stability and embracing change. Kathleen Norris will present stories of her own seeking God, as well as those of monastics, and invite participants to bring their own stories to share. Some reviewers have compared Norris’ portrait of the world of the monastics to the writings of Thomas Merton. Her presentations will be at once intimate and historical, rich in poetry and meditations, brimming with exasperation and reverence, deeply grounded in both nature and spirit, sometimes funny, often provocative and always important.

Norris is the author of The New York Timesbestsellers, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith,Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, The Cloister WalkAcedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks and a Writer’s Life, and The Virgin of Bennington.  Shealso has published seven books of poetry.  Norris also appears on the DVD and companion book project titled Embracing a Life of Meaning: Kathleen Norris on Discovering What Matters. Kathleen Norris is a Benedictine Oblate of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. Widowed in 2003, she resides in Hawaii. She travels to the mainland regularly for speaking engagements.    

The program fee is $ 60, for Friday only it is $ 20; for Saturday only it is $ 40. On Saturday, lunch is available at the Center for $ 10.76 (includes tax), if you pay for it BEFORE the program starts.  Guest rooms are available at St. Benedict Center for the night from Friday to Saturday.  Room and board charges will be added to the program fee. Register at www.StBenedictCenter.comor call 402-352-8819.

St. Benedict Center Summer Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Throughout the Easter Season, the Liturgy offers us readings from the Acts of the Apostles. Hearing these I marvel ever anew about how these apostles, without much education and not trained in public speaking, gave their witness to Christ who had suffered the terrible death on the cross but who lives and who is for us the "leader to life" (Act 3:15). That's perhaps the best translation of the Greek archegon tes zoes in the speech that Peter gave in the temple after he had healed the blind beggar in Jesus' name. Dangers and persecution cannot stop the apostles! Their own personal prayer supports them, as well as the prayer of the Christian community.

The starting point of this amazing and wonderful dynamism was the experience of Pentecost when the live-giving force of the Holy Spirit had transformed their hearts. We, too, need the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is not sufficient to pray for it once a year only. We need it daily in order for us to learn how to love as Jesus loved and to keep his commandments and his word as he desires.

Pope Paul VI once asked the question: "What is the greatest need of the Church?" He answered: "The Church's first and greatest need is to live Pentecost. The Spirit is the Church's mystery and life. It is he who animates and sanctifies the Church. The Spirit is her divine breath, the wind in her sails, the inner font of her light and strength. The Holy Spirit is her source of charism and song, her peace and joy. The Church needs her perennial Pentecost. She needs fire in her heart, words on her lips, and prophecy in her outlook. If we really love the Church the main thing we must do is to foster in her a new outpouring of the Divine Spirit."

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Our greatest need as a Christian people, especially at this challenging time for our Church, is a continual Pentecost, an interior Pentecost. We need to live Pentecost. The Fire still falls. The Breath of God is still given. The Living Water is still poured out. Come, Spirit of God!

Throughout the year, St. Benedict Center is a good place where we can pray in this sense, like Mary and the disciples in the upper room, for the promised and always surprising gift of the Holy Spirit. Often people tell me that they experienced the presence and the working of the Holy Spirit in one of the many retreats that take place at St. Benedict Center. - I wish you blessed summer months and am looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

Kathleen Norris to Speak at Saint Benedict Center

On June 28 - 29, 2019, award-winning poet, writer, and best-selling author Kathleen Norriswill come to St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, and speak on the topic of Seeking God Together. On Friday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m., she will give an evening presentation, followed by discussion and sharing. On Saturday, June 29, she will present from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Genuine spirituality is not an individual pursuit, but must be anchored in one’s local community. This means a constant struggle between freedom and obedience, listening and asserting oneself, possessing and letting go, clinging to stability and embracing change. Spiritual formation is part of life, not only for monastics but for married couples, parents, children, members of faith communities. But formation is difficult, and demands that we be accountable to others. Kathleen Norris believes that one reason many people resist joining groups is that they fear losing their individual freedom. Such freedom is illusory, however, and leaves us susceptible to narcissism and materialism. Norris will be bringing stories of her own formation, as well as those of monastic people, and invite participants to bring their own stories to share. Her presentations will be at once intimate and historical, rich in poetry and meditations, brimming with exasperation and reverence, deeply grounded in both nature and spirit, sometimes funny, often provocative and always important.

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Norris is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Cloister Walk, Acedia and Me: A Marriage, Monks and a Writer’s Life, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith and The Virgin of Bennington. She also has published seven books of poetry. Some reviewers have compared her portrait of the world of the monastics in The Cloister Walk to the writings of Thomas Merton. Norris also appears on the DVD and companion book project titled, Embracing a Life of Meaning: Kathleen Norris on Discovering What Matters. Kathleen Norris is a Benedictine Oblate of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. Widowed in 2003, she resides in Hawaii. She travels to the mainland regularly for speaking engagements.

The program fee is $ 60, for Friday only it is $ 20; for Saturday only it is $ 40. Early bird rate for bothFriday and Saturday (register before May 24) is $ 55. On Saturday, lunch is available at the Center for $ 10.76 (includes tax), if you pay for it BEFORE the program starts. Guest rooms are available at St. Benedict Center for the night from Friday to Saturday. Room and board charges will be added to the program fee. Register at www.StBenedictCenter.com or call 402-352-8819.

Saint Benedict Center, Schuyler Retreat with Father Larry Gillick

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The Rev. Larry Gillick, SJ, will present a retreat titled, Spiritual Resistance at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on June 13 - 16, 2019.  We will be praying with and reflecting upon the various ways we resist Jesus’ relating with us. Two presentations will guide our prayer. These will not be lectures, but guide-helps for those interested in allowing themselves to be met and how being met can be cause for protective and defensive positioning. The Eucharistic liturgy will be celebrated each day and there will be an optional Friday and Saturday evening session for shared reflections and questionings. The basic belief is that God reverences and labors with our human resistances as does a sculptor reverences the resistance of the clay.

Jesuit Father Larry Gillick was ordained a priest in 1972. His former assignments include Spiritual Director for the younger Jesuits, Rector of the Jesuit Community at Creighton Prep in Omaha, and Superior of Mulumba House.  He currently serves as Director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Creighton University.  He is a sought after retreat master around the country and spiritual director of students, faculty, alumni at Creighton University, and people from far and wide.

The retreat begins on Thursday, at 6:00 p.m. and ends on Sunday after Lunch.  The program fee is $ 80; room and board are additional.  For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819 or visit www.StBenedictCenter.com

News Release: Sister Marie Micheletto to Speak at St. Benedict Center

On April 27 - 28, 2019, Sister Marie Micheletto, RSM, M.A., L.P.C., LMHP, from Omaha, will speak at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on the topic of“The Path is Made by Walking…” (Anthony Machado).

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For those of us on the Path to “Emmaus” asking “now what, why, how, where?”, the Beatitudes invite us to open our hearts and minds to God-with-us in our daily life, teach us the broader meaning of “Give us this day our daily bread,” and coach us to “Pass it on” in thanksgiving for God’s mercies received. Together we will explore what it means to be “Beatitude People.”

Sr. Marie Micheletto is a Sister of Mercy of the Americas, a psychotherapist and an educational humorist. She is a national and international speaker, as well as facilitator of retreats. For many years, Sr. Micheletto worked as psychotherapist at Archdiocesan Consultation Center, Omaha. She provides individual, marital, and pre-marital counseling and offers seminars on personal and professional growth and development, life cycle transitions, stress management, assertiveness training, wellness, and holistic health and lifestyles. Her work in implementing the "No One Dies Alone" program for Alegent Health is an example of her caring for other people.

The program begins on Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and closes on Sunday after lunch.

Thank you very much for all your help in making this event known!


Sharon Doran to Speak at St. Benedict Center

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On April 26 - 27, 2019, Sharon Doran, M.A., M.A.,the teaching director of Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study,Omaha, will speak at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on the topic of Mary, Mother of Divine Mercy.

Jesus is the RISEN face of the Father’s Mercy; Mary was his mother. Looking at the Biblical revelation about Mary, as well as church approved Marian apparitions, you will fall more in love with our Spiritual Mother and be well prepared for Mary’s Month of May!! Mary only wants us to “do whatever Jesus tells us.” Also St. Faustina with her personal revelations about the Divine Mercy of God will be our companion.We will end with the Sacrament of Reconciliation available Saturday at 3:00 PM, the hour of Christ’s Divine Mercy in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday the following day.

An experienced Bible Study teacher for over a decade, Sharon Doran has a passion for Scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God's Word and apply His message to your everyday life. She has a Master’s of Arts degree in Education and has taught at both the high school and university levels. She holds a second Master's Degree in Pastoral Theology with an emphasis in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado. She is frequently invited to speak at church events, city-wide venues, regional seminars and conferences. Sharon is married to Dr. Stephen Doran and is the mother of five sons. She has endured several cancer surgeries for more than a decade but the blessing has been a deeper walk with Him and urgency to share the gospel. The Doran family attends St. Margaret Mary's parish. Sharon was invited by the Archdiocese of Omaha's Adult Faith Formation Office to start a new Catholic Bible Study for men and women in the Omaha area.

The program begins on Friday, 7:30 p.m. and closes on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

Thank you very much for all your help in making this event known!

Spring Newsletter from Fr. Thomas

Dear Friends,

The Danish philosopher of religion Søren Kierkegaard wrote, “As my prayer became more and more devout and interior, there was less and less I had to say. Finally I became completely still. I became—this is perhaps an even greater contrast to talking—I became a listener.” 

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We can train ourselves in everyday life to take this stance of listening in prayer, for instance, by relating the thoughts and emotions that rise within us in the course of our day to God time and again. The next step is to receive from God, in a stance of openness and listing, what God wants to tell us. – We also need times, on a daily basis, that are completely set aside for God, especially in the morning and in the evening.  During my quiet morning time every day I read a passage from Holy Scripture and ask God to speak to me through it. – It is good to have special places for our personal prayer, a room or a prayer corner in our home, for instance. A regular Holy Hour in church can be an excellent time for becoming still and a listener of God. And sometimes it is really helpful to go on retreat. 

Rabbi Kuk used to tell his disciples, “God is everywhere; and God is the same everywhere.” When work became too much for him though, he withdrew into the desert for prayer. His disciples were astonished about this. One day they asked him, “Rabbi, you said that God is everywhere, and God is the same everywhere. Why do you go to the desert to pray if God is everywhere?” – “You are right,” Rabbi Kuk responded. “God is everywhere; and God is the same everywhere. However, I am not the same everywhere. That’s why I go to the desert to pray.” Rabbi Kuk had experienced that in stillness, in being alone at a place of retreat, he could sense God’s presence in a special way.

St. Benedict Center is such a place of retreat for many. One could call it a rest stop for the soul. Its sacred architecture with its spaciousness, arches and crosses is conducive to this, and so is the religious artwork from around the world. The serene beauty of nature on the grounds with the lake is helpful, and so is the stillness. Even more important is the fact that people pray here, the monks and our many retreatants.

From our monastery I can report that our community has become larger: Our Fr. Adam who had spent some time at our motherhouse in Germany has come home. Br. Remigius from Muensterschwarzach, Germany, is living with us while improving his English language skills for a mission assignment. Fr. Jacques from Togo is spending some time with us as well.

At St. Benedict Center nearly all our guest rooms have queen-size or full-size beds now, which offer greater sleeping comfort to everyone. – Especially worth noting among the upcoming events of our program schedule is the weekend retreat on June 28 – 29 with best-selling author Kathleen Norris from Hawaii titled, Seeking God Together. She will share stories of spiritual formation from her own life and from the monastic tradition. – I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!  

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

News Release - Reflective Writing Retreat at St. Benedict Center

On March 28 - 31, 2019, well-known writing instructors Mary Kay Shanleyand Diane Douiyssi will come to St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, and present a program titled, Charting Your Soul’s Compass: A Women’s Reflective Writing Retreat. Visualize yourself with other vibrant women, tending their souls, responding to a call to pursue reflective writing as an entrance into the deeper self. Trust yourself, embrace your spirit, experience the treasure of expression waiting to emerge. And if you wish, consider possibilities — essays, poems, stories for you alone, or to share with others. Any option is rich, worthy.Finally, experience the joy of relating to women equally intent on greater discovery, celebration of purpose and direction in their own lives.

Mary Kay Shanley began her career as a newspaper reporter, then moved into freelance writing when her children were small. Her first book, She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes, became abestseller. Nine books followed; she’s currently writing a memoir about adoption. Mary Kay is an instructor with the University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival. Her most profound experience has been leading classes inside the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. She and her husband live in West Des Moines, IA.

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Diane Douiyssi is founder and owner of Inner Wisdom Wayfinding where she is a Writing Mentor, certified Martha Beck Life Coach and Creative Business Coach who helps individuals listen to and follow their inner wisdom so they can find their own unique way home in this world. She’s a lifelong writer who, having discovered the richness of reflective writing, uses it daily to access her own inner guidance and suffuse her writing, business and life with spirit. Previously, she worked for 15 years in the corporate world, most recently as Director, Content Marketing in Global Marketing & Communications where she wrote professionally, consulted and led workshops. She’s lived across the globe and is currently settled in the Midwest, close to the earth and peoples that nourish the world.

The program fee is only $90, room and board charges will be added to the program fee. For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819.

Thank you very much for all your help in making this event known!

Newsletter of Fr. Thomas, Fall 2018

Dear Friends,

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In his Rule, St. Benedict reserves an average of three hours per day for lectio divina, the prayed reading of Holy Scripture. In lectio divina, a person reads Holy Scripture less for the sake of information than for the sake of formation. I ask God to speak to me through his word. Then I slowly read the text I have chosen, paying attention to which word, line or phrase speaks to me and resonates within me. When I have found such a word, I pause, repeat this word in my heart, and hear it as spoken to me personally. I ask myself: How does it express the deepest truth of my life? Then I take the word as starting point for my prayer, for my conversation with God. I ask God to fulfill the longing of my heart that this word has awakened. Finally, I rest in God’s presence, similar to the way I sometimes can enjoy being together with a friend with no need for many words.

A modified form of lectio divina is visio divina, prayerfully looking at a piece of art, paying attention to what strikes a chord in me, then entering into prayer with this detail or aspect of the image, and finally just resting in God’s presence. 

The Saint John’s Bible is a wonderful fruit of both lectio divina and visio divina. It is the first handwritten Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in more than five hundred years on approximately 1,150 pages and including one hundred sixty major illuminations. A copy of the large, seven-volume leather bound Heritage Edition, which is a fine art reproduction of the Saint John’s Bible, had been donated to St. Benedict Center! It will be on perpetual display in our lobby later in 2019 as an eminent help for prayer and meditation. We will keep you posted.

From St. Benedict Center I can report that we replaced the twin beds in the single guest rooms of our west wing with full size beds. Particularly for improvements like this, as well as for special projects like the display described above, we are in need of financial assistance from you, our friends. One way of supporting us, besides through cash donations, is through a gift from your IRA account or through donating stock to us. In these ways you can take advantage of tax benefits. For more information, please visit our webpage.

Especially worth noting among our upcoming retreats is the retreat with spiritual author Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, on September 28 – 29, titled, Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God, which is about prayer and mindfulness in the midst of daily life. – An exhibition of keyboard instruments will take place at the Center on September 7 – October 14. Pianos and organs from the collection of Steve Misener, Stockholm, SD, will be on display, which either have a connection to a Classical or Romantic Era composer or are from those musical time periods. – I am looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB.
Administrator

 

 

News Release: Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB. to Speak at St. Benedict Center    

On September 28 - 29, 2018, well known spiritual author Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, will come to St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, and speak on the topic of Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God. On Friday, September 28, at 7:30 p.m. she will give an evening presentation, followed by discussion and sharing. On Saturday, September 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., she will present a one-day retreat.

Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB.

Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB.

‘Abide’ is a very rich and sacred word. It is an invitation to dwell in Christ, to be immersed in the Divine, to be absorbed in God. Spend time this weekend searching out ways to restore some of the blessings you’ve missed because of the busyness of your lives. Special emphasis will be given to the practice of living mindfully in the midst of daily life. We will explore the sacredness of both BEING and DOING. Give yourself the gift of sacred space for soul-work, for keeping vigil with the Word of God and with the Hours of the Day.

Sister Macrina is well known for her creative writing and retreat ministry. She has authored eight popular books on prayer and spirituality and is a regular contributor to the Catholic devotional Living Faith, published by Creative Communications for the Parish. Her tri-monthly scripture column titled, Romancing the Word forms the core of her latest book, Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God (Liturgical Press).  She is a member of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Guest rooms are available at St. Benedict Center for the night from Friday to Saturday.  The program fee is $60, for Friday only $20; for Saturday only it is $40. Early bird rate for bothFriday and Saturday (register before August 24) is $55.  Room and board charges will be added to the program fee. For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819 or visit here.

News Release: Piano and Organ Exhibit at St. Benedict Center

Under the motto, “Keeping Time: An Exhibit of Keyboard Instruments,” piano technician and collector Steve Misenerfrom Stockholm, SD, will be sharing a portion of his unique personal collection of musical instruments at St. Benedict Center, 4 Miles north of Schuyler, from September 7 to October 14, 2018. This exhibition will focus on keyboard instruments, which either have a connection to a Classical or Romantic Era composer or are from those musical time periods. It is a great opportunity for students and for anyone who is interested to learn about the instruments that were used at these times. Visitors are also invited to play them!

Steve Misener offers the country’s largest hosted interactive exhibit of this kind. It presents the design, engineering, production and aesthetic beauty of pianos and other keyboard instruments, featuring antique working models dating from the 1700s to 1950s. Visit www.SteveMisenerPiano.com.                                                                                                            

On September 30 and October 14, at 3:00 p.m.,you can experience the exhibition with Misener as host. Misener will intersperse stories about the music industry, composers, piano history, and colorful details of the instruments’ previous owners in past centuries with brief performances, as most of the instruments are in working condition. - Informal self-guided tours are possible as well; please contact us beforehand. There will be no charges for visiting the exhibit and for the presentations.                                                                  

For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819 or click here.

Henry Nouwen Retreat at St. Benedict Center

The spirituality of the famous priest and writer Henri Nouwen will be the topic of a weekend retreat at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on July 27 - 29, 2018, presented by Wil Hernandez, Ph.D. and titled, Henri Nouwen: Master of Soul Care. Henri Nouwen embodied soul care—in the way he cared for his own soul and the souls of others. In this retreat we will focus on how we, too, can engage in deep, personal soul work. Through Nouwen’s rich insights and lived example we will learn how to care primarily for our own souls in order that we can more effectively companion other souls in their spiritual journey---whether as a spiritual friend, guide, mentor, or spiritual director.

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Wil Hernandez, PhD, Obl. OSB, is an international retreat leader, a spiritual director, and the author of a trilogy on Henri Nouwen published by Paulist Press plus a recent release entitled, Mere Spirituality: The Spiritual Life According to Henri Nouwen (SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2015). All year round he conducts retreats, workshops, and seminars and teaches courses focused on the spirituality of Nouwen in both Catholic and Protestant institutions in the U.S. and abroad through The Nouwen Legacy, an outfit he manages which is dedicated to promoting the enduring legacy of Nouwen (www.nouwenlegacy.com). Wil is the founder and executive director of CenterQuest, an ecumenical hub for the study and practice of Christian Spirituality (www.CQCenterQuest.org). He holds a private practice in a professional office in Pasadena, California, doing counseling, life coaching, and spiritual direction. As an active member of Spiritual Directors International (SDI), he serves on the Editorial Panel of Presence Journal and regularly conducts Nouwen workshops at SDI conferences.  Wil is also an active Benedictine Oblate of Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, CA.

The retreat begins on Friday, at 7:30 p.m. and ends on Sunday after Lunch. The program fee is $ 60; room and board are additional. Register at www.StBenedictCenter.com. For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819.

Thank you very much for all your help in making this event known!

Newsletter of Fr. Thomas, Summer 2018

Dear Friends,

In April, I traveled to Ndanda Abbey in Tanzania, East Africa. It was a joy to meet again many of the people with whom I had lived and among whom I had ministered for six years in the 1990s. At Mass in my former parish of Nangoo, the joyful singing, drumming, and trilling of the choir and the congregation touched my heart anew. I could sense an infectious joy among folks who have very few material possessions, joy as a gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The occasion of the visit was an international meeting of Missionary Benedictine formators, that is, of monks who are responsible for the education and formation of the young brothers in their respective monasteries. The participants hailed from all-over the world: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Togo, Korea, the Philippines, India, Germany, the United States, Cuba, and Colombia. It was truly a Spirit-filled experience of the one worldwide Church. While the main language at our daily Masses during the conference was English, the singing was in Swahili, Korean, Latin, Spanish and German. The language of the hymns depended upon the home country of the presider. Everybody had the hymn texts; and it wasn’t hard to chime in, even though we sometimes didn’t understand every single word. After all, it’s the same Mass that is celebrated on all continents of the earth!

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During the sessions and the sharing in small groups which followed them, we recognized that, in spite of our great cultural diversity, the human dynamics and the challenges we face in our formation work are more or less the same all-over the earth. What we have in common as humans is so much stronger than differences in skin color and nationality! The unity in the midst of our diversity that we experienced was the work of the Holy Spirit.

It occurred to me that our St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, Nebraska, is also such a place of unity in diversity. St. Benedict teaches us how to receive everyone like Christ himself: people of various cultures, people of all faiths and of no explicit faith, people of all walks of life. Thus, an ecumenism in the wide sense of the word happens at the grass roots level. People meet, share about things that matter in their lives, can join us monks for prayer, and find serenity, peace and often a deeper relationship with God.

At the north end of our lake, our Chartres style labyrinth is now completed. Come and walk it! – Especially worth noting among our upcoming retreats is the weekend by Wil Hernandez, Ph.D., on July 27 – 29, which is about the way the famous spiritual writer Henri Nouwen cared for souls: his own and those of others. Also, let me point particularly to the retreat with spiritual author Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, on September 28 – 29, titled, Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God, which is about prayer and mindfulness in the midst of daily life. - I am looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

 

 

News Release: Sharon Doran to Speak at St. Benedict Center 

On July 13 - 14, 2018, Sharon Doran, M.A., M.A.,the teaching director of Seeking Truth Catholic Bible Study,Omaha, will speak at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on the topic ofThe Book of Ruth, A Love Story:“Wherever You Go, I Will Go.”

Ruth, the young Moabite widow, had noticed the deep faith of her mother-in-law Naomi and chosen to come into full covenant with Naomi’s love, the one true God and husband of Israel. God’s amazing grace provided her with a new human love as well. United with her new husband Boaz, Ruth became King David’s great grandmother and part of Jesus’ Royal Messianic line. During this retreat for women, encounter your own kinsman redeemer, a true love story at the deepest level.

Sharon Doran

An experienced Bible Study teacher for over a decade, Sharon Doran has a passion for Scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God's Word and apply His message to your everyday life. She has a Masters of Arts degree in Education and has taught at both the high school and university levels. She holds a second Master's Degree in Pastoral Theology with an emphasis in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute inDenver, Colorado. She is frequently invited to speak at church events, city-wide venues, regional seminars and conferences.  Sharon is married to Dr. Stephen Doran and is the mother of five sons. She has endured several cancer surgeries for more than a decade but the blessing has been a deeper walk with Him and urgency to share the gospel. 

The Doran family attends St. Margaret Mary's parish. Sharon was invited by the Archdiocese of Omaha's Adult Faith Formation Office to start a new Catholic Bible Study for men and women in the Omaha area.             

The program begins on Friday, 7:30 p.m. and closes on Saturday with a Mass at 4:00 p.m. Sign up at www.StBenedictCenter.comor call St. Benedict Center at 402-352-8819 for more information.

News Release: Retreat with Father Larry Gillick

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The Rev. Larry Gillick, SJ, will present a retreat titled, Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before or Above You at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler, on June 21 - 24, 2018.  This is a prayer-retreat, not a “lecture series” or “workshop”. Retreatants will receive encouragement and direction to allow the “imageless” God to meet, embrace and enliven the pray-er. Much space and time will be available for the “seeker” to be sought and found. We will begin with considering Jesus’ clearing of the temple in chapter two of John’s Gospel. Silence during these days will be a grace for listening. 

Jesuit Father Larry Gillick was ordained a priest in 1972. His former assignments include Spiritual Director for the younger Jesuits, Rector of the Jesuit Community at Creighton Prep in Omaha, and Superior of Mulumba House.  He currently serves as Director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Creighton University.  He is a sought after retreat master around the country and spiritual director of students, faculty, alumni at Creighton University, and people from far and wide.

The retreat begins on Thursday, at 6:00 p.m. and ends on Sunday after Lunch.  The program fee is $ 80; room and board are additional.  For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819 or visit www.StBenedictCenter.com

Spring Newsletter

Dear Friends,

“One church: encountering Jesus, equipping disciples, and living mercy.” This is our pastoral vision in the Archdiocese of Omaha for the next several years, announced by Archbishop George Lucas late in 2016 at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. Following Jesus’ example of making visible God’s merciful love to all people requires that we get to know him in a personal way and grow in our love for him. Like the fishermen whom Jesus called at the Sea of Galilee to follow him and so many others, we have to spend time in his company and learn from him, from his words, his actions and his example, before he can send us out to extend his work in our time, in our surroundings and in our society.

Supporting the New Evangelization in this sense is our heart’s desire at St. Benedict Center. Therefore, we gladly host, for instance, retreats of Alpha, an evangelization tool that introduces people to the person of Christ, and retreats of RCIA groups. Many of our sponsored programs focus on encountering Christ and equipping disciples. And we offer a place of hospitality for all who desire stillness, time by themselves, and an experience of God.

Reviewing the Year 2017, I am happy to report that about 16,000 persons used our facility and that we had close to 11,000 overnights. These are our highest numbers ever. In the Center’s lobby a new video message board gives those arriving information about conference rooms, scheduled programs and more.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola invites us to use our imagination while praying with the gospels, to picture a particular scene as if we were standing right there: What do I see, hear, smell, etc.? I become one of the actors in the story. A number of our upcoming retreats will invite participants to use this method in their prayer and so to encounter Christ. Examples are the weekend with Fr. Larry Gillick, SJ, on June 21 – 24, titled, Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before or Above You!, and the Guided/Directed Retreat on July 15 – 21  with Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, Fr. Kevin Schneider, SJ, Renee L. O’Brien and Sr. Ann Marie Petrylka, OSM.

In his retreat on June 16 titled, Equipped, Fr. Jeff Lorig, the Archdiocesan Director of Pastoral Services, will spend a whole day reflecting on what the Church means by evangelization and equipping those attending with basic tools to help others have a life transforming encounter with Christ.

St. Jerome (345 – 420) insisted that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. On July 13 – 14, Sharon Doran will offer a Catholic Bible Study weekend titled, The Book of Ruth, A Love Story: “Wherever You Go, I Will Go.” It is about Ruth, one of Jesus’ ancestors in his Royal Messianic line. Sharon will make many connections with the New Testament and in this way equip participants for evangelization. – I am looking forward to seeing you again soon

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

 

 

Valentine's Day Dinner at St. Benedict Center

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Schuyler, NE – Here is an excellent idea for the weekend before Valentine’s Day: On Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 5:00 p.m., married couples are invited St. Benedict Center, 4 mi. N. of Schuyler on Hwy. 15, for Mass at the chapel of the Center, followed, at 6:00 p.m., by a delicious and festive four-course prime rib Valentine’s Day Dinner, prepared by Mark and Patty Bosh and their team, with soft music.  Advance reservation and pre-payment are required.  The cost is $60 per couple.  Early bird rate, if you register before Jan. 28, is $55.  Seating is limited.  Reservations need to be made in advance by calling Saint Benedict Center (402) 352-8819 or register here.