The brothers and sisters of Saint Brigid of Kildare Monastery welcome you to our community connections page. Here you will find our community blog, where once a month, a member of our community reflects on the question of what it means for them to live their Benedictine call in the world. You will also find links to the webpages, blogs, and ministries of many of our members. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our community.
About the author
Noelle Rollins is primarily a poet but also a writer, a traveler, a lover of labyrinths, and a passionate faith explorer. She worked for a number of years in ministry and higher education but now focuses full time on her writing. Arriving at the doorstop of Saint Brigid's Monastery in 2018, she found a true home for her Benedictine soul. Noelle currently lives full time on the road - with her husband and their 150lb Newfoundland, Brigid where she posts regularly on her travel blog, “The Wandering Hermit”. You can read Noelle's poetry, and her blog, at www.noellerollins.com.
Community Blog October 2022
The first time I stepped foot on the grounds of a Benedictine monastery I could not stop crying. And it kept happening. I would go for retreats, or visits to different communities, and then the tears would come. I didn’t understand why - but I knew there was something for me to pay attention to here.
But let’s first go back to the beginning.
Like many others, I initially learned of the Benedictines by reading Kathleen Norris’s book, “The Cloister Walk”. I was enchanted by this book. It was like someone was speaking the same language for God that had always been in my soul and I hungered to learn more. Soon after completing the book, my mother and aunt invited me to join them for a retreat at a Benedictine monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas, led by Sister Macrina Wiederkehr. I eagerly said yes, interested to find out more about what I had been reading in the book. I arrived on a stormy Friday night, and much to my surprise, we were invited to stay in silence until Sunday morning. And I spent the majority of that silent time in tears. They just seemed to flow and flow. By the end of the retreat I knew that somehow my own spiritual journey would be linked with the Benedictines - but I didn’t know how.
Over the course of time I made many more visits to other Benedictine monasteries, eventually joining a brick-and-mortar community in Washington State as an Oblate. And the tears continued. After some time, I began to understand the tears, and why Benedictine spirituality brought them out in me.
The author Christian McEwan writes, “I had been a lively, talkative child, “a clever girl” but years before college, I’d realized, inside I am slow.”. When I stumbled on these words, I felt a deep sense of kinship. They went straight to my heart – because I too am slow inside. And I crave the quiet that is not always present in my busy life.
Eventually, after moving away from Washington State I found a home in St. Brigid’s Monastery. It has been a few years since I came knocking at the door to this monastery, but it has been in this place, where we live our Benedictine values in a dispersed community, that I have finally learned how to balance the busy and noisy part of life with my need for interior quiet.
The regular practice of daily prayer, lectio Divinia, and contemplative silence has taught me how to hold these parts of my life together. I am able to greet the chaos of life more fully now, knowing that soon I will have times of pausing and rest to return to. It is the Benedictine way - and I am grateful for the way my tears lead me to this life of rhythm and prayer.
A Few of Our Community Members' Websites and Ministries