Ask Sister

AS216 Ask Sister - Motherhouse Road Trip with the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama

Podcast Recorded: January 30, 2019

Sister Maxine with guest Sisters Madeline and Lynn Marie, OSB. Topics: Rule of Benedict, dutiful discernment, levels of holiness, self-denial v. making choices.

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Show Notes

(2:30)  Over 100 years of Benedictine presence in Cullman, Alabama

(4:30)  Discerning a call to law school and Benedictine life at the same time

(7:30)  Influence of the Civil Rights Movement on call to religious life

(12:30)  The Rule of Benedict, and prayer as part of everyday life

(18:00)  What it’s like to be in the Benedictine community

(20:00)  Bringing a Benedictine perspective to ministry as a Pastoral Associate and hospice minister

(25:00)  Witnessing to God’s love as an attorney in juvenile court and in criminal defense work

(30:00)  Listener question: Do Christians have a duty to discern God’s calling in their lives? 

(42:00)  Listener question: Why is being a nun sometimes called “a higher state”?

(43:00)  Pope Francis on “ordinary holiness”

(46:00)  Listener question: Does self-denial help you grow in love for God and neighbor?

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Intro/outro music by Wild Carrot  

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About our Guest

L: Sister Madeline Contorno, OSB. Sister Madeline was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and was a teenager at the time of the Civil Rights movement, witnessing the cries for justice in her own city and state. The oldest child in a family of three children, she feels her vocation as a Benedictine Sister grew from the nonviolent witness of those seeking basic human rights and her desire to be a part of the renewal of Vatican II, where she heard the Church embracing “the joys and sorrows, the hope and the anguish of the people of our time.” With graduate degrees in theology and social work, and certification as a grief counselor, she has ministered in many settings: as high school theology teacher, campus minister, hospice chaplain, diocesan RENEW 2000 coordinator, retreat director, and pastoral associate in several parishes. For fun and good health, she has done aerobic dancing for many years. Her greatest joy is praying the Divine Office and teaching Scripture in small faith-sharing groups. She finds the face of God most compellingly in the sick and grieving.

R: Sister Lynn McKenzie, OSB.  Growing up in a very faithful Catholic family living in Protestant north Alabama, Lynn McKenzie, OSB, came to appreciate the depth of her Catholic faith. Attending public junior high and high school pushed Sister Lynn to explore deeply her Catholic faith so that she could answer the questions (and sometimes accusations!) of her Protestant classmates. During college, Sister Lynn searched out many different religious communities, particularly in the northeastern United States. In the end, she chose the monastery of the Benedictine Sisters in Cullman, just 60 miles from where she grew up. As a Benedictine, Sister Lynn has practiced law in Cullman, representing children in juvenile court and injured and disabled people in state court and federal hearings. She is now in the ministry of leadership in the Federation of St. Scholastica (monastic congregation of 19 monasteries in the U.S. and Mexico) and in the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (international association of all Benedictine women in the world). Her work among Benedictine women takes her to many parts of North America and beyond.

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