World Congress of Oblates: Rome 2009–one last note

As I slowly but surely find myself re-immersed in the daily life of a church musician in Muscatine, Iowa, I find that I am fed and energized by continuing thoughts of the twelve days in Rome. This last reflection did not come from any particular talk or meeting or experience. Rather these thoughts seem to sum up the underlying spirit of the Congress. Continue Reading

Rome 2009: Continued Reflection

As busy and consuming as the Oblate congress was, I did manage to see some of Rome itself–on its own terms, more or less.

On the surface, Rome is all distraction and too-muchness: too many people, too many cars, buses and motor scooters, too many historical sites, too many churches, too many languages, and too many cultures–from high religion to high fashion. Continue Reading

On Mother Maire on Contemplation & Action

I’ve just read Mother Maire Hickey (OSB)’s reflections at the 2009 World Oblate Congress, “The Religious Challenges of Today–the Benedictine answer.”  (You can find her text at  A number of sentences popped out at me as something to chew on for a reflection here, but I’ll pick just one section–one that touches on themes that have preoccupied me, and clearly have given Mother Maire pause as well. Continue Reading

Freedom: Our Spiritual Goal

When Abbot Jerome Kodell, OSB, of Subiaco Monastery in Subiaco, Ark., got up to speak to the Oblates and Sisters gathered to share and reflect together at St. Mary Monastery on a chilly – and sometimes snowy – October morning, he challenged us to consider our state of freedom. Interior freedom, he said, is quite different from independence, and as such is the goal of our spiritual lives. Continue Reading