Sharing Our Benedictine Values

Sharing Our Benedictine Values

Benedictine Values Rock Island IL

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

The guide we follow in our lives together as Benedictine Sisters originated 1,500 years ago when St. Benedict of Nursia wrote his Holy Rule

Scripturally based, the Rule offers gentle advice on how to seek God together, in community. Here are the resulting values we live by, as set down by the whole community and commented on by me:


In prayer we listen and open ourselves to the awareness of God’s presence within us and in all creation. Communal and private prayer is a primary part of our daily lives. 

Prayer is how we begin and end our day together. Both communal and private prayer are foundational to our daily lives.

It prepares us to go
 out into the world. It reminds us that God is present in each and every person we meet and work with through our day.


We live together according to The Rule of St. Benedict. We care for each person as Jesus did by being present, listening to, respecting and forgiving one another.

Community is both the best and most challenging thing about monastic religious life. For one thing, we live with a wide variety of people.

Sister Phyllis McMurray used to say we are like stones in a stream tumbling together till our sharp edges rub off!

That is, in both our successes and failures of being present, listening, respecting and forgiving each other, we bump into each other in the sea of community. Our rough edges can't help but be smoothed.

We learn more and more the importance of treating all like Christ!


We welcome everyone we encounter with respect and reverence as valued by God. In gratitude we share the gifts we have received with a joyful spirit. 

Hospitality is about more than offering clean sheets and towels at Benet House. It's about welcoming all to be who they are, as they are.

That includes those we live with, work with and cross paths with ... whether we always agree with them or not!

In a nutshell, we seek to treat each other the way we want to be treated, and to do so with love and joy.

Peace and Justice

The promise of God’s peace is rooted in loving respect for all people in their diversity. Justice is recognition that all deserve just and fair treatment.

A line from Pope Francis pops into my head as I think of peace and justice. "Who am I to judge?"

We are not here to judge others. We are here to help others.

There can be no justice without peace. 

There are 2 kinds of peace. One is peace within. We need to work on peace of mind, body, and soul.

As we do that, we begin to be able to share that peace with others. It begins to spread to others, like a chain reaction.

As the song goes, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

Care of Creation

We are called personally and communally to appreciate and care for God’s creation and preserve it for the common good of all people.

We are part of the earth, not owners of it. We need to care and live in harmony with all creatures in our daily lives.

How? By scrutinizing our everyday decisions:

Do we put something in the recycling carton or throw it in the trash can?

Are we making a conscious choice at the store to buy sustainable products?

Are we thinking about how we may simplify our lives or live a simple life?

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