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Monastic Wisdom for a Modern World

As monastics, St. Benedict challenged us through the Rule of St. Benedict. As we study the Rule, we find that there are many monastic instincts that can also be incorporated in the life of all laity and families. Below is a list of monastic instincts that can be a source of growth in each one's spiritual journey. We invite you to pray with these instincts, and see if they will assist you on your spiritual journey.

~ Sister Linda Campbell, OSB

Prioress of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery

Phoenix, AZ



Seven Monastic Instincts

Sr. Karen Joseph, OSB

Monastery immaculate Conception

Ferdinand, IN

• THE INSTINCT OF HOLDING ONE’S TONGUE

The cessation of negative scrutiny allows our sister to exist as a completely free person, as God made her to be. “The one who holds her tongue in check, controls mind and body.” (James 3:2)


• THE INSTINCT OF HELPFULNESS

ACTIVE helpfulness means simple assistance in trifling, external matters. We must allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. Our promise of obedience at profession deprives us of the right to dispose of our own time.


• THE INSTINCT OF BEARING

We must learn to “bear with one another” in the service of forgiveness and patience rendered by one to the


other in the daily. When we are bearing with others, we must remember that others are bearing with us. The only trustworthy sign of an authentic life is the extent to which one has learned to love.


• THE INSTINCT OF REVERENCE

We must cultivate an instinct of reverence which is present in our behavior in the oratory, in greeting one another, in our tone of voice; a kindly stewardship and reverence for all things are holy and to be treated as sacred vessels of the altar.


• THE INSTINCT OF CONSISTENCY

This is our effort to be consistently faithful to what we have professed ourselves to: the professional living of the Gospel, the monastic way, with a monastic heart. “Words move, but example convinces” (Mother Evangelista Kremmeter, Atchison, KS.)


Sister Karen Joseph is originally from Hinsdale, NY and entered Sisters of St. Benedict in September 8, 1967. Her educational background is in Monastic Studies. She has worked in Retreat and Spiritual Direction, and Monastic Leadership. She currently serves in the Spirituality Ministry as a Spiritual Director and Retreat Presenter. Sr. Karen was attracted to the Sisters of St. Benedict by the joy and love she felt in the community.


You can find out more about Benedictine spirituality and spiritual direction at Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Phoenix, AZ HERE



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