The Poetry of Transformation

How to Fight Fear on Facebook

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 13, 2019

The Irony of Facebook  “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission–to make the world more open and connected.” –Mark Zuckerberg The irony of Facebook is that while its founder says he intended it to bring people together, there is ample evidence it is doing the opposite, driving people and ripping society apart. If you want to read about that evidence, here are two well-written articles:  . . I have two sets of Facebook friends who appear to be growing increasingly fearful of and suspicious of each other, even hostile toward …

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Let's Help Each Other Learn How to Ask For Help

By Tracy Rittmueller | March 27, 2019

If you know how to ask for help, please help me (and others) learn this skill For some years now, I’ve been connecting with people like you, who care about building a life around kindness, compassion, and the concept of enough. The people I like to hang out with, online and in person, believe that an obsession with fame and fortune—with what’s popular—blinds us to the essential aspects of a real life. Let’s build and strengthen authentic relationships, because real relationships are not about transactions. Real relationships are based on love.  Still here? Good. Thank you. I have a problem and I …

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How 3 months at a Benedictine monastery set me free from the time-pressure paradox

By Tracy Rittmueller | February 20, 2019

What is the time pressure-paradox? When I toured the early 20th-century caretaker’s cottage at the Rockefeller family’s historic Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont, the guide explained that the caretaker’s wife and three daughters took the entire day, every Monday, to wash the caretaker’s shirts and their own few dresses and undergarments, hang them to air dry, then iron and starch them. Now we stuff our laundry into machines and forget it. Our clothes get fresh-scenty-clean and dry while we haul the children to activities, run errands, balance the check book and get dinner on the table. Synthetic fabrics, …

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Envision Benedictine Listening (Obedience) through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 28, 2019

This is the sixth of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. Professed Benedictine monastics formally promise to uphold a 3-fold commitment to listening (obedience), stability, and fidelity (conversatio morum) while living within their communities. Oblates (lay associates) strive to apply these principles while living “in the world” outside the monastery, believing all can benefit from incorporating the timeless wisdom of The Rule of Benedict into their lives. The Benedictine Promise of Listening (Obedience) “Obedience” Fiber Art by Pat Picket Obedience for a Benedictine monastic is first and foremost the promise to listen for the divine voice guiding …

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Envision Benedictine Stability through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 20, 2019

This is the fifth of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. Professed Benedictine monastics formally promise to uphold a 3-fold commitment to listening (obedience), stability, and fidelity (conversatio morum) while living within their communities. Oblates (lay associates) strive to apply these principles while living “in the world” outside the monastery, believing all can benefit from incorporating the timeless wisdom of The Rule of Benedict into their lives. The Benedictine Promise of Stability “Stability” Fiber Art by Pat Picket Stability for a Benedictine monastic is the promise to stay put, to live out one’s life in this community, …

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Envision Benedictine "conversatio morum" though Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 14, 2019

This is the fourth of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. Professed Benedictine monastics formally promise to uphold a 3-fold commitment to listening (obedience), stability, and fidelity (conversatio morum) while living within their communities. Oblates (lay associates) strive to apply these principles while living “in the world” outside the monastery. We believe all can benefit from incorporating the timeless wisdom of The Rule of Benedict into their lives. The Benedictine Promise of Fidelity to Growth (conversatio morum) “Conversatio” Fiber Art by Pat Picket Conversatio Morum, Brother Ignacio Gonzales writes, “is an act of the will that says, ‘I want …

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Envision the Benedictine Value of Community through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 12, 2019

This is the third of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. The Benedictine Value of Community This limestone sculpture of “Community” by Joseph O’Connell (1927-1995) stands in the Gathering Place at Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. This depiction of the first sisters supporting their monastery’s foundress, Mother Benedicta Riepp, at her death, serves as a reminder that the sisters in this community promise to support each other in life and through the changes demanded by life. On one of my first tours of the monastery, my guide said a sister rarely dies without another …

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Envision the Benedictine value of Work through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 5, 2019

This is the second of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. The Benedictine Value of Work through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing) The Rule of Benedict says, “When they live by the labor of their hands . . . then they are really monastics.” In Benedictine spirituality the purpose of work is life sustaining, work nurtures and serves. The Sisters of Saint Benedict’s Monastery tell us in a brochure about Joseph O’Connell’s limestone sculptures in their Gathering Place that this sculpture depicts the work of 19th century Sisters who “taught European immigrant children and American Indian girls …

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Envision the Benedictine value of Prayer through Visio Divina (Divine Seeing)

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 1, 2019

This is the fist of 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. Joseph O’Connell’s Sculptures: Prayer, Work and Community The brochure “Vision Through Sculpture,” published by The Sisters of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, explains that “In 1982, Joseph O’Connell . . . was commissioned by the Emerson Hynes family” to create a sculpture for the monastery. Using the Benedictine women who first came to St. Joseph, Minnesota as his inspiration, he portrays the Benedictine values of prayer, work and community that sustained the women as they “struggled with the pioneer challenges of poverty, hard work, hunger and illness.” …

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Visio Divina (Divine Seeing) as an alternative to New Year Resolutions: envision your new self-story based on Benedictine values and commitments

By Tracy Rittmueller | December 31, 2018

This is the introduction to 6 Visio Divina Meditations, as an alternative to New Years Resolutions. Visio Divina (Divine Seeing) as an Alternative to New Years Resolutions Benedictine Spirituality is not a self-improvement project, rather, because it is rooted in humility and relies on the gracious love of a divine power greater than ourselves, the Benedictine way of life is the opposite of self-improvement. As a practical guide to authentic gospel living, The Rule of Benedict  calls us to ever deeper and more loving relationships–with God, with ourselves, with the people and communities surrounding us, and with all things. By seeking …

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