Journeying Toward God

May Christ bring us all together to everlasting life.  Rule of Benedict 

When Stefanie MacDonald began her Canonical Novice Year this summer, she took a major step along her path to becoming a Benedictine Sister. In accordance with Church law, she will stay close to the monastery this year, studying the Rule, Benedictine spirituality and theology. She will expand and deepen her "unwavering focus on God." She will continue with a spiritual formation program that will be foundational for her entire life.

"I was nervous and excited to become a Novice," Stefanie says. "I've never not worked, so leaving my job as a school teacher gave me some anxiety. But after two months, I see that I am becoming calmerand quieter. I am spending more time in prayer. And I am reading deeply in spirituality topics. This is going to be a very special time for me."

New Member Spiritual Formation

The purpose of a Benedictine Novice's spiritual formation is neither to mold nor to dogmatize about Church rules, Initial Formation Director Sr. Mary Core, OSB, says. It is, rather, to promote the growth and development of spiritual life. "Our formation program is created within the context of religious life," she says. "We seek to help new members form their faith lives and deepen their relationships with God. In Benedictine tradition, that includes community life, Liturgy of the Hours and Lectio Divina."

As Stefanie steps back from worldly ccncerns this year to study, reflect and grow, she'll follow St. Benedict's advice to question her call. "Benedict says you are to spend this time in prayer and in reading the Rule," Sr. Mary says. "At the end of your Novice years, you are to make up your mind whether God is truly calling you into this way of life."

Sisters' Life Formation

Even after final profession, though, the Benedictine community continues to develop their spiritual formation. "Our Life Formation program provides all members, young and older, the opportunity tocontinue to grow spiritually," Sr. Mary says. "Currently, we are studying Contemplative Dialogue, which emphasizes openness and deep listening. Tremendous learning takes place with everyone participating. We all seek to deepen our relationship with God, and we do that with and through one another. Formation gives us an avenue for that."

This autumn, the Sisters expect to welcome two new Postulants into the community, and look forward to sharing in their spiritual development.