The Benedictine Charism Today
About 15 years ago when my husband went to be the dean of Canterbury Cathedral, we went to live in the cottage that goes with being an Anglican priest in England. In this instance, that "cottage" was a vast medieval house which had belonged to the Benedictine priors during the Middle Ages when Canterbury had been a great Benedictine monastic community. Living in that extraordinary place, I, as a historian, believed that I should not allow myself to be crushed by the power of the past. So I picked up the Rule of St. Benedict to know something of the minds, hearts and vision of the men who had built the building that surrounded me, indeed the very house in which I lived with my husband and four teenage sons.
As I dutifully began reading St. Benedict's Rule, this man began to speak to me. He addressed many of the issues all of us have to face. Since then Benedict has been a continuing power and person in my life. I would like to celebrate the reality of Benedict's power in my life with you today. Just this morning I realized that this is April 26, the day many of the conversations I've been having with St. Benedict will appear in print in England. It will be published later in America. The title, A Life Giving Way, says something of the energy, vigor and the vibrancy St. Benedict has brought to me.