Putting the Pieces Together
Have you seen our timeline? The timeline is a series of boards that tell our story from those early days of inspiration around creating a new Benedictine foundation in Colorado Springs, through the many events of our lives as Benet Hill Monastery right up until today. Most of our story is told in pictures and images. It is beautifully done. If you have not had a chance to see it, please come and take a look.
In this blog, I want to share with you my experience of “seeing” our timeline.
As beautiful as the timeline is and as much love and care that has been given to putting it together, something I couldn’t articulate nagged at me when I looked at it. Of course, not all of the community’s stories could be told. But that inward niggling was not about what was not there. The panels are lovely and the story is accessible and touching. So, what was causing me discomfort with the timeline? I had the sense there was something more, something deeper contained in the timeline which penetrated my senses yet alluded conscious thought. What was I seeing, feeling, intuiting and still missing?
One night, after all the sisters had gone to bed, I walked the hall and spent time with each of the panels of the timeline. At first I was seeking that one thing that made me uncomfortable. All through my seven years of formation, I’ve been told the stories, seen the pictures and have integrated “their story” as our story. I remonstrated with myself, “I know this story. It is my story too.” All of a sudden the unseen something jumped out at me with the force of a holy 2×4. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (which just happens to be our second reading this coming Sunday) ran through my heart. Eph 4:1-6
”Sisters: I…urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Gazing at the timeline in the silence of the night, my heart knew what my conscious mind was unable to identify. We are Benedictine Sisters. Our lives are lived in a rhythm of prayer and work, moment by moment, day by day, year by year in a sixteen hundred year old tradition of listening with the ear of our heart and with the gospel of Jesus Christ as our guide. Big events stand out, Founding day, election of a prioress, building the school, letting go of those dreams and building a new home in the Black Forest.
Like a whisper, another story is being told. Between the images are small dots directing the observer’s eye to move on. Those little dots, like the prayers of intercession, lament, praise and gratitude offered daily for 50 years subtly lead to whatever comes next.
Bright and bold, our story is told. Veiled is the thread that holds it all together. The authentic love that lies deep in the heart of each woman as she commits herself again and again to a life of prayer for the common good of all creation. More than a history, our timeline recounts where hearts touch sharing that sacred space in God’s presence.
Ana Cloughly, OSB