Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: Alice on humility on the way

Last night in Monasteries of the Heart, we talked about practical application of principles in the lesson and I asked us to focus on not gossiping for the next two weeks. This place thrives on gossip, which is so hurtful. If the 30 women in Monasteries of the Heart would agree to stop gossiping ourselves for 14 days, we could make a fundamental shift in this entire institution. Speaking words of encouragement and appreciation increases bondedness as well.

And I feel like that is one of my best contributions to my community body, so I’ve come to see that people are sacred, their potential is sacred. Their behavior may be completely unacceptable, but they – their personhood – is sacred and of great worth. I have to remind myself of this every day, several times a day.

When we go to eat, often times there are nearly 300 of us either seated or waiting in line. The language and behavior is so off-putting. It is not uncommon for four or five young bullies to walk from the back of the line and just crowd in at the door. It has the potential for instant conflict, it’s hot, we are all weary anyway and it takes great discipline to say nothing. I have to remind myself that the same power and energy that makes their heart beat is what makes mine beat. I have to remind myself that just as there is a sacred path for me, thre is one for each of them as well, and at this very second, are on the path together teaching each other. I’m not sure they are getting the lesson. Am I?

Alice, a long-term member of the Sacred Sisters Monastery of the Heart at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, (ORW) made her oblation as an oblate with the Benedictine Sisters of Immaculate Conception Monastery, Ferdinand, IN in a ceremony at ORW in 2017  Sr. Kathryn Huber, OSB, from Ferdinand served as her oblate mentor. As part of her formation, Sr. Kathryn sent Alice questions to answer based on assigned readings from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily by Joan Chittister. We are sharing some of Alice’s reflections for Monks in Our Midst.  She is reflecting here on a section of Chapter 5, “Humility: The Lost Virtue.”

Can you consider one small but significant change in behavior or speech that you could choose that might "make a fundamental shift" in the relationships, the interactions in your life; that might bring your world to a more hummble, sacred space?

Please share your reflections with us here.


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