A Controversial Commencement Address and Being Benedictine
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
1M ago
The commencement address given by professional football player Harrison Butker at Benedictine College, a small liberal arts college in Kansas, has generated some big social media buzz. The narrow vision of Catholicism, the limited view of gender roles in the family, and the many backhanded as well as overt insults that thread their way through the message left me stunned. I am concerned the speech will be interpreted as a reflection of the Benedictine tradition and the incredible monks, sisters, and oblates I know. Being Benedictine, as I have come to understand, is a spirituality that is incl ..read more
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SoulFully You: Special Programs in April 2024
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
2M ago
It is a joy to create workshops and retreats for special projects. I had the opportunity to lead a few SoulFully You programs in April for ECHO Collective and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church – Omaha. ECHO Collective connects and empowers refugee and immigrant women providing opportunities for personal growth and cross-cultural relationships.  With a grant from the Lincoln Arts Council, ECHO is offering a weaving class to women and children using SoulCollage® as a springboard for a tapestry design. In the first session, we explored the power of their unique stories, reflected with images to ..read more
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Spring Equinox and Easter
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
4M ago
Just for a moment, at 10:06 pm tonight, March 19, 2024, darkness and light will be held in perfect balance. Equinox, meaning “equal night” in Latin, is when the sun is directly over the Earth’s equator, causing day and night to be equal moments. In the northern hemisphere, where I live, we will begin to have longer days with more sunshine and hours of light.  As the earth continues moving around the sun, the position of the sunrise and sunset will change quickly, and the balance between night and day will not last long.  Indeed, an apt metaphor for the balance we seek in our daily li ..read more
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St. Brigid of Kildare: Standing on the Threshold
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
5M ago
What do a threshold, a cow, fire, and water have in common?  St. Brigid of Kildare!  Recently I was introduced to St. Brigid while preparing for a Celtic Christianity pilgrimage and she could not have arrived at a more apt time for me. Admittedly, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole (or holy well?) of the legends and stories of St. Brigid, a 5th-century abbess and founder of monasteries. St. Brigid is known by many names —Bhride, Bride, Brighid, Brigid, Bridget—and many titles including Muire na nGael (Mary of the Irish) Brigid of the Mantle, Brigid of the Fire, and Mary of the Gae ..read more
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2024 Word of the Year: FULLY
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
6M ago
Choosing a word to focus on each year has become a nourishing, soulful ritual. I savor the word, that more so chooses me, throughout the year—it brings great joy when in perfect synchronicity, it appears over and again in what I read, hear, and see. I trust that the word, as it settles in my heart, will be a guiding light for months to come—challenging, inspiring, and transforming me. My 2024 word of the year, FULLY, is a throwback to ten years ago when I birthed and named my first website and creative venture, SoulFully You. I participated in training to become a certified SoulCollage® facili ..read more
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Remember, You Are Free
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
6M ago
Ever have one of those eyes-wide-open at 2:00 am moments of mind-racing, self-doubting, anxiety-stricken, what-if fretting? I had one such panic attack, recently, after making a big decision about the future of my work. I found myself wracked with despair, vacillating between whether I made the right decision or if I was making a mistake, despite having done my due diligence in heart, soul, and mind for many weeks. In the morning light (and after several days), with the help of some calming meditation, conversations with good friends, and spiritual direction, I began to see more clearly—that i ..read more
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Apollo 8: Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
7M ago
Since the beginning of time, peoples of all cultures and religions have beheld the beauty of the earth, endeavoring to understand the universe and their place in it. We long for this sacred knowing. Just a century ago, we could not have conceived of the technology and space exploration that would produce photographs and telescopic images, inspiring such awe and wonder, my word for 2023. We are imbued with the grandeur of God. Hildegard of Bingen, the 12th Century Benedictine Abbess and founder of German scientific natural history, captures this wonder: “Glance at the sun. See the moon and the ..read more
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A Golden Threshold
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
7M ago
I am one at the threshold. I am one who sees the fullness of darkness and light. I see golden. I see through the eyes of a child, as well as the wise and wondering woman. I see myself reflected in beauty and patterns, knowing there is a big and a small picture. I am one who is looking forward while also considering the past. Both/and. The wise woman and the apprehensive child. I am one who sees there is more than meets the eye, and that things aren’t always as they seem. I am one who reflects what is. When I change my stance, what I see in myself may be different. The sculp ..read more
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Tree Huggers: The Circle of Care
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
9M ago
The image and story behind the Chipko movement inspired us to do some of our own tree-hugging! The Chipko movement of the 1970s (chipko meaning ‘to cling to or hug ‘ in Hindi) led to tree-hugging movements throughout the Himalayan regions, forcing reforms and moratoriums in the forestry industry that saved thousands of trees. The peasant women of the Garhwal Hills of India, pictured below, literally threw their arms around trees to save them (Ecologically Conscious.) Their actions were inspired by events of 1730 when soldiers were ordered to fell trees in the Bishnois villages of India to buil ..read more
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A Heart Expanded by The Unspeakable Sweetness of Love: World Oblate Congress 2023
Being Benedictine
by Jodi Blazek Gehr
10M ago
The Benedictine spirit is characterized by “a heart expanded by the unspeakable sweetness of love.” Pope Francis addressed the 5th World Congress of Benedictine Oblates in a private audience on September 15, 2023, as reported by Vatican News. The Congress theme, “Moving forward: Living the Wisdom of the Rule,” is an opportunity for Oblates, lay associates of a Benedictine monastery, to learn about their calling as monks in the world. I participated in the 2017 Congress in Rome, attending the General Audience of Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square. I reflected, “We were delighted to be ..read more
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