St. Andrew on Embracing the Cross

A reflection commemorating the Feast of St. Andrew, originally given by Mother Maria-Michael in 2019

I was thinking about the incredible words we sing during the Divine Office on the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30): “Seeing the cross [of his own martyrdom], Andrew cried out with joy, ‘O precious cross! Truly I have always loved you, and I have desired to embrace you.’”

This is a disciple who ran away in the garden of Gethsemane—he didn’t stand by Jesus on the cross—so the greatest gift that could be given to him was another chance to stand by the cross. What did he do with it? He embraced it. He longed for that moment to tell Christ, “I love you, and I want to be with you, wherever that leads.” This is the power of the triumph of the cross. Love is the triumph of the cross. When we love enough that we no longer fear the crosses in our lives but we embrace them and we long for them because they unite us with him who has loved us beyond all love, that is the triumph of the cross. So today we celebrate that we no longer fear the cross; it is truly the exaltation. Of course we cannot do this of ourselves. St. Andrew, St. Peter, none of them, could have embraced the cross on their own, but with divine strength they could embrace and kiss it. And their suffering turned into gratitude. Yes, when we can thank God for the crosses in our life, God has triumphed. When we can see that it is Love that has given us once again the chance to prove our love, we will rejoice and say, “Amen!” and run toward it, because we have a chance to prove our love. Let us pray today that the cross may triumph in our own lives, because it will not happen on our own. It is completely divine strength.

Artwork by one of our sisters

New Book: By Lamplight

Our Sister Genevieve recently released her newest book. You can buy it now in paperback or eBook from Liturgical Press: By Lamplight, or from our website in January 2022.

“The familiar images of Word and Light break open with fresh insight in the imaginative and wise ruminations of Sister Genevieve Glen, OSB. From Nazareth to Emmaus, psalms to beatitudes, Advent to Pentecost, through characters, stories, and prayers, this nimble poet and lifelong student of Scripture takes us to new places in texts we thought we knew. At turns probing, humorous, and inspiring, these reflections ultimately help us to know more deeply the Word made Flesh, Jesus of Nazareth — crucified and risen, the Light of the World.”

Liturgical Press Website

2022 Abbey Calendars for Sale

This year’s calendar features stunning pictures of the tapestries that hang in our Abbey Church.  They were woven for us by Frau Walburga, OSB, at our motherhouse in Germany for our chapel in Boulder in the early 1960s.  Woven of hand-dyed and handspun wool, they depict the “Mysteries of Mary,” something like but not quite identical to the mysteries of the rosary.  The calendar also gives the days of the Church’s liturgical days and seasons, together with days commemorated by the Order of St. Benedict, as they are observed at our Abbey. 

You can order a calendar from the Abbey Gift Shop, either by telephoning us at 970-472-0612 or by ordering online (see below). The prices listed for one, two, or three calendars include tax, shipping and handling.

Order Quantity

Chris Stefanick Interviews Sister Immaculata

On October 25, our Sister Immaculata appeared on the Chris Stefanick Show to talk about the joys and challenges of the Benedictine life. Click here to watch!

Sister Immaculata and Chris share a laugh about how nuns can’t “defriend” each other on social media

Holy Amnesia

A reflection by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”

John 14:1-3

This Gospel is so precious.  I love to think about how in heaven, all evil will be forgotten, because evil cannot be in heaven.  There will be a holy amnesia.  You won’t remember anything evil that has been done to you. 

It’s like when you’re working with people with dementia, and they greet you with a big, “Hello!  How are you?  It’s so good to see you!” no matter who you are.  Isn’t that sort of a touch of heaven?  It’s a touch of heaven when nothing evil is remembered.

And even those who have hurt us, when we get to heaven, we will be able to greet like our best friends.  “How good to see you…”

So holy amnesia is a beautiful thing – we can even try to do it today.

St. Walburga’s Oil

Every year on October 12 the holy oil from Saint Walburga’s tomb in Germany begins to flow, and it continues until her Feast Day on February 25. Due to the testimonies of many people who have experienced God’s healing power after anointing themselves with the oil and asking Saint Walburga to pray for them, it seems that this quote from Saint Thérèse of Lisieux may also be applied to our patroness:

“I wish to spend my heaven in doing good upon the earth.”

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Photo of Saint Walburga’s crypt at the Abtei St. Walburg in Eichstätt, taken by one of our Sisters who travelled to Germany for the Abbatial Blessing of Mother Hildegard, OSB. The images on the walls are memorial plaques depicting miracles attributed to Saint Walburga, donated by patrons in gratitude for her intercession.

Let It Go

A reflection on Luke 10:38-42 by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

It ran through my mind today that Martha was not able to listen to Jesus when serving because she was so mad at Mary.  She wasn’t hearing a word He said—she was too busy thinking, “Look at her, she just sits there all day, and I have to do this, I have to do that, look at how unfair it is!”  We can recognize this pattern in our own lives: doesn’t it happen that when we’re angry, disturbed, not happy with life, we are not longer able to hear Christ?  Our conversation is one-sided, because we’re just complaining to Him, like Martha did.  We need to stop and listen, too.  If we don’t, we can let disturbances steal our peace of heart, steal our focus, and have say over what’s important in the moment.  It takes a lifetime to figure out the answers to the questions, “Why do I give this thing such importance? Why do I let it steal my peace of heart and mind? Can I just let it go?”  There are some things we need to address, and there are other things that maybe we need to just let go.

Pictured below, Sisters prepare the meal and wash the dishes without grumbling or complaining!

An Eventful September

On September 11, the eve of the day on which the Church commemorates the “Holy Name of Mary,” our Sister Mary was clothed with the Benedictine habit. What a glorious day it was!

Two days later, a wildfire broke out from a lightning strike on our neighbor’s land, and we spent the day preparing to evacuate. Thankfully, due to the amazing fire fighting squad (on foot and in the air), who worked tirelessly through the night, we were able to safely stay in our monastery. We were also blessed by many friends and oblates who reached out to check on us and let us know that we could stay with them if we needed to leave. Praise the Lord for surrounding us with so many good people!

It was a great gift that we did not have to evacuate, because Sister Assunta’s Vow Renewal was set to take place on the next day, September 14, The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. After six years here, she has now renewed her vows for another year, bringing her one step closer to her Solemn Profession.

In honor of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrated this month, one of our Sisters wrote this reflection:

A Rock Beneath the Cross

You have said
To plant in fertile ground
With rich, nutritious soil,
In order to take root
And bear fruit;
But then You go and
Contradict Yourself,
Because I’ve seen
Trees growing out of rocks,
For nothing is impossible
For You…

And it’s a good thing, too,
Because I am like that rock,
Stony, hard, unloving,
Critical, rigid, cold,
But still You give me hope
That if I only keep saying,
“I only want You,
And to love like You,”
Then You will accomplish
A miracle in me,
And a tree will grow
From this rock…

And I think of Moses
Striking the rock,
And water pouring forth,
Just like You were struck
By me on the Cross,
And blood and water 
Poured out love and mercy
Upon this very rock
Who struck You…

So there is hope
For this heart of stone,
Because beneath your Cross,
Watered by Your blood,
Anything is possible,
And even a fruit-bearing tree
Can grow.

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26

Espoused to Christ

On August 15, 2021, The Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, Sister Maria-Raphaelle and Sister Fidelis made their solemn profession of monastic vows. The Holy Mass was presided over by The Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, who delivered an eloquent homily about his “dear daughters” being the salt and light of the world, in imitation of the Blessed Mother. It was a day of great rejoicing, and a blessing for our community.

Click here to read more on the Denver Catholic website

On that day—oracle of the LORD

You shall call me “My husband”…

I will betroth you to me forever:

I will betroth you to me with justice and with judgment,

with loyalty and with compassion;

I will betroth you to me with fidelity,

and you shall know the LORD.

Hosea 2:18, 21-22

A Spiritual Passover

A reflection on following Christ and not looking back, by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

We hear about Abraham procuring a wife for his son Isaac, and how he tells his servant, “never take my son back there for any reason” (Genesis 24:6), that is, into to the homeland where Abraham was from, because God had promised him a new land.  I think we need to take that message for ourselves as well.  Don’t go back.  Don’t disbelieve God’s word to you.  Everybody’s journey is different, and God is the only one who can follow each one’s journey, because He’s the one who has given it.  He has a specific plan for you, and it’s real.  He has a specific work for you.  You have to follow through with the vocation He has called you to.  Once you say yes and take a step forward, don’t step back.  It’s not about you—it’s the work of God in you.  So don’t look at yourself all the time, because that can get really discouraging—look at God!  Look at the work He is doing in you.  Don’t stare in the mirror; instead, open the window. It’s beautiful out there!

I found a quote in Venite Seorsum: Instruction on the Contemplative Life and on the Enclosure of Nuns, about the spiritual exodus that is required of each one of us:

“From the dawn of the Chosen People’s history, Abraham is depicted as being called to leave his country, his family and his father’s house, while the Apostle repeatedly teaches that the same calling was the beginning of a long mystical journey to a homeland which is not of this world.  What in this way was merely prefigured in the Old Testament, becomes a reality in the New…The Word of God delivered us from the domination of darkness (cf. Col. 1:13), that is from sin, and through His death (cf. John 13:1; 16:28; and Heb. 9:11-12, 10:19-20) He set us on the return road to the Father, who ‘raised us up with him and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph. 2:6; cf. Col. 2:12-13, 3:1).  Herein lies the true-essence of the paschal mystery of Christ and the Church.”

This exodus is true in a particular way for those whom God has called to the contemplative life, those whom He has set aside for Himself.  God really does say to those He sets aside for Himself, “I ask you to leave everything, and to follow Me.”  It doesn’t matter if home is 10 miles away or another country.  Is it hard?  Of course it is.  But it becomes easier as you get older and heaven becomes closer.  Over time you begin to let go of things more and more, and even when someone you love is dying, you have the sense that it’s okay if God takes her, because you know you’re going to see her again.

So the Exodus really is for every single person.  Everyone experiences and lives through some sort of Exodus in their lives.  But it’s nothing to fear, because you are fed the whole way on the manna.  God is Father, and He is a very good Father.  He will take care.

Illumination by a nun from the Abtei St. Walburg in Germany