Benedictine Values: Silence

This may sound weird, but one of the biggest adjustments I had to make when I became a Benedictine Sister was to learn to be quiet. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was never loud and boisterous (well, not really). In fact, I was drawn to peaceful venues in nature and church. But for me, white noise was the TV and radio. That is, I turned on the TV as soon as I woke up in the morning, and fell asleep with it on at night. I always listened to the radio in the car. Looking back on it, my life was full of noise all the time.

Until I lived among other Benedictine Sisters and discovered the value of intentional silence.

Think about it: If our life is full of noise, can we truly listen to God or one another or the world around us?

The Benedictine value of silence allows us to really listen.

At home in the monastery, we give ourselves silence. We sit quietly in chapel for 10 minutes before prayer starts, 3 times a day. We have silence in the house every morning until Mass is over (usually about 8:30). We enjoy a week of silent retreat every summer. We also enjoy silence during Holy Week. Many of us practice centering prayer, which is 20 minutes of silence. We also take a prayer day once a week, which is silent.

Is this always easy? No! It took some time for me to adjust, for sure. But I now treasure our silent times, especially after the school day. I love the quiet time I have with my God. I listen to God’s voice and continue to work on my relationship with God. I could not do this without silence.

Do you have questions about our Benedictine monastic way of life? I’d love to chat. Give me a holler here, or email me at smacdonald@smmsisters.org. And God bless you on your journey.

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