What if You Sense Nothing of God?


by Amy Carr

What do you say to those who have no sense of the penumbra of God — but want to do so?

What do you say to those who have never experienced God’s presence, and who wonder whether there is some sort of divine intention behind their inability to do so? Continue Reading

Walking with the Wise Men


By Amy Carr

Two days before Christmas, I held a friend’s four day old infant boy in my arms shortly after a tornado appeared in our west central Illinois county — amid a strange mix of sunshine, rain, moving mountains of fraying clouds, and a bright moon sturdily declaring itself as the clouds scurried aside and the sky deepened towards blue dusk.

I am thinking of the wise men. Continue Reading

“It’s a Good, Good Place”

2015-07-22 15.20.50

by Amy Carr

Last month I spent an hour with my grandmother Pauline Swisher Ketola Rose, who is 105. I rarely see her. She lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and I do not travel back there every year. In our hour together, she spoke so often of her love of nearby towns  that I could not help but think of the Benedictine commitment to place. Continue Reading

From Illinois to Charleston and Home, Again


“Bunny” Rodrigues and her husband Andrew Rodrigues work together on a burlap sign that will hang in the new Gullah Museum. (Eileen Keithly/For South Strand News Vermelle )

By Amy Carr

Having just traveled to the Carolinas from Illinois, I’m thinking of Benedict’s expectation that members of the community tend to their business and return home, avoiding distractions.

That’s not how most of us travel today, of course. All the same, when any of us travels from a home where we have a sense of place, we often return more aware of where we live – more aware of our daily patterns, of the unique rhythms and gatherings that shape our own communities.

We can also return more aware that all places are somehow present to us, wherever we are. Continue Reading

Serene amid the Monsters

The_Torment_of_Saint_Anthony_(Michelangelo)by Amy Carr

This week I heard a talk by Stephen Asma on “Monsterology.” Asma surveyed the history of human imaginings about monsters. Some monsters had a basis in natural history. The Cyclops, for instance, looks to be inspired by an elephant skull, since the sinus cavity where the trunk had been looks like a huge single eye. Continue Reading

Renewal in Quiet Contemplation

redbud-and-lakeby Laura Courter

At our most recent Oblate meeting, our group discussed the meaning of a certain paragraph we found intriguing in the book The Road to Eternal Life: Reflections on the Prologue of Benedict’s Rule by Michael Casey.

As we explored our thoughts together, my mind dwelt on the idea that negative traits in ourselves often come to light when we spend more of our time in quiet contemplation. I could see how this might sound odd at first, but I also recognized how easily I related to these words. Continue Reading