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Benedictine Life

What poets, monks and nuns know about silence

Poets live with silence:  the silence before the poem;  the silence when the poem comes; the silence in between the words, as you drink the words, watch them glide through your mind, feel them slide down your throat toward your heart …. —Michael Shepherd, “Rumi’s Silence” Silence, poetry and prayer have something in common—they connect… Continue reading What poets, monks and nuns know about silence

Benedictine Life, Poetry

8 Things poets and monastics know about the power of words

This is part 3 of the series 8 Things Poets and Monastics Can Teach Us About Happiness; with 8 Poems to Make Life More Meaningful. For part 1 of the series, go here. About words…. We think we know what words are—the spoken sounds and written letters we combine to form sentences to convey what we… Continue reading 8 Things poets and monastics know about the power of words

Benedictine Life, Poetry

“Hearing” by W.S. Merwin and the Benedictine Practice of Listening

This is Part 2 of the series 8 Things Poets and Monastics Can Teach Us About Happiness; with 8 Poems to Make Life More Meaningful. If you missed it, you can read Part 1 of this series here. About the Benedictine Practice of Listening The practice of listening is at the heart of Benedictine spirituality. When… Continue reading “Hearing” by W.S. Merwin and the Benedictine Practice of Listening

Benedictine Life, Poetry

8 Things Poets and Monastics Can Teach Us About Happiness; with 8 Poems to Make Life More Meaningful–Part 1 of a series

What poets and monastics have in common When people think about what poets and monastics (monks and nuns who live in monasteries) have in common, the list might look like this: They have their heads in the clouds; They’re hermits;. They dress weird; And they’re dying off.  Like all potent rumors, there’s a smidgeon of… Continue reading 8 Things Poets and Monastics Can Teach Us About Happiness; with 8 Poems to Make Life More Meaningful–Part 1 of a series

Benedictine Life

23 Spiritual Practices Taught by The Rule of Benedict

What do spiritual practices do? Practice is how people develop the skills to become adept at anything. Music students practice their instruments. Gymnasts practice routines, yoga students practice poses, swimmers practice strokes, and tennis players practice their serves. Successful organizational leaders practice self-mastery and teamwork. Just as all these people practice to become more proficient, spiritual… Continue reading 23 Spiritual Practices Taught by The Rule of Benedict

Poetry, Reading

Unpacking the Boxes: a small tribute to Donald Hall, (1928-2018)

Yesterday, when I read in the Concord Monitor that one of the last major American poets of his generation, Donald Hall, died at his home at the age of 89, I felt sad that I had neglected to write to him one more time. I never told him how much his example of the good… Continue reading Unpacking the Boxes: a small tribute to Donald Hall, (1928-2018)

Benedictine Life

Judith Valente–poet, journalist, and Benedictine oblate–on “How To Live”

At the intersection of reading and writing, in the spaces where listening, silence, prayer, and wonder happen--there is poetry. There, too, is where I find support for living as a Benedictine. Some months ago I decided that my blog will focus on "Reading, Writing, and the Benedictine way of life." Since then, I've been pondering… Continue reading Judith Valente–poet, journalist, and Benedictine oblate–on “How To Live”