Archive: by Monika Ellis, OSB

Community is a Verb ....by Sr. Monika

When I was vocation director many years back I wrote a little reflection on the topic of community. I called it, “Community is a Verb. ” I want to revisit that reflection. Community life is beautiful. Prayer calls us together three or four times a day.

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Choir Practice ....by Sr. Monika

This afternoon I am getting ready for our Thursday choir practice. This happens in every Benedictine monastery because it takes practice to chant the psalms and canticles in our Book of Praise twice each day. We practice chanting in one voice--no voice standing out louder than others or sounding very different from the rest. St. Benedict wrote in the Rule that our hearts are to be in harmony with our voices. Sometimes our community can chant so heavenly.

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Wait ....by Sr. Monika

I was born in the front seat of our car. Dad made it to the hospital driveway. The doctor and nurses came outside on that early, snowy February morning to help Mom and me. One nurse took my 11 month old sister, one nurse took me, one nurse took Mom, and Dad went to the ER to have his broken thumb looked at.

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Why oh why? Y, indeed ....by Sr. Monika

Human beings like to ask, “Why?” Why did that earthquake happen? Why does it rain so much in the Pacific Northwest? Why do people have to suffer? “Why?” can be a rather useless, unhelpful question. Many times it simply cannot be answered. Frustrating.   Now, “Y’s” are everywhere to be seen. Y’s are in trees, bushes and architecture. Once you start looking for them, you will see thousands of Y’s around you.

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Finding a Quiet Place ....by Sr. Monika

Have you ever longed for a place of utter quiet? I have. My ears pick up every little (or big) noise. It's a blessing and a curse to have the gift of accute hearing. Many days find me looking for silence--REAL silence. As I sip my morning coffee, enjoying the quiet . . . oops, there goes the commercial refrigerator gearing up its cycle. Sigh. I go to my bedroom to sit in quiet, and . . .

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Patterns, Patterns Everywhere --by Sr. Monika

Y-shape in trees Wondrous patterns surround us. The spiral is found in any garden and in the heavens. The Y shape is in every tree and bush and in many other places. If our eyes are accostomed to looking for them the curve, the straight line, and the orb are easily recognized.   Missouri orb spider's giant web My life in art is about patterns.

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Fun with Family

Luca at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge My mother was born in Cologne, Germany and so I have cousins in a few German cities and villages. Christina, my cousin, Andreas her husband, and Luca their niece came to visit me this summer for ten days. It was wonderful. We walked Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and Tumwater Falls.

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Appreciation

Last week Sister Dorothy wrote about care of the sick from the point of view of the caregiver. She quoted The Holy Rule of St. Benedict which places the greatest importance on caring for those who are sick. On a Tuesday in June I began to feel unwell.   The healthcare team advised me to move to the infirmary.   I watched as my sisters got the bed made and the room ready for me.

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A Time to Be

American Prosperity Gospel says, “Have faith! Work Hard! God will reward you with treasure. ” Jesus says to Martha, “You are worried over many things…” God says to Moses, “Tell Pharaoh, ‘I AM sends you. ’” During retreat this past week God challenged me to simply BE. I had plans to read certain books. It didn’t happen. I had sewing to do. I even set it out, ready for the scissors. It didn’t happen.

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Making Something Beautiful for the World

I have always been a “maker. ” I have a photo of myself knitting at about age 3. And I loved experimenting with gluing rocks together, or coloring, or drawing, or watching my father make things. My mother wrote in my baby book, “Monika loves to work with little things. . . ” And so it continues to this day. Zentangle is an art form of the miniature.

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