As a woman who tries to live out Benedictine values as a layperson connected with a particular monastery, I try to spend at least a week every year at St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
From the time of my first visit many years ago, it has been the home of my heart. The warmth and joy of the interior of the white, soaring church, the women's voices that dip and swoop among its columns like the sparrow of Psalm 83—these are deeply satisfying, as is the conversation of the sisters who invite me to stay with them. I have never been around so many older women who are filled with such enthusiasm for life, who read so avidly and are so committed to the arts, who laugh so much, who engage in such ambitious social projects, who think so theologically and who are so serious and matter-of-fact about prayer. And it is obvious that no topic of conversation or human experience could scare or embarrass them.