About Being Benedictine in the 21st Century

Being Benedictine in the 21st Century launched its website in early 2019. Six months later registrations were open on the site for the first-ever gathering of the universal Benedictine community--vowed, non-vowed, oblates, men, women, seekers, canonical, non-canonical--to take place in Atchison, KS, June 2020. A dozen Benedictine and spiritual leaders endorsed the purpose of the gathering. Very quickly, 200 persons representing 40 monasteries registered. Then, a few months before the June 2020 conference COVID hit and the conference was postponed until May 2021.

The intent of the gathering was not dwell so much on exploring what is but rather to focus on, What are the important questions we haven’t yet asked? Through listening and dialogue informed by Benedictine values, the teachings of Vatican II, and inclusive theologies—inclusive of women, the environment, the oppressed, the refugee—our goal was to come away from this conference with a new roadmap for spreading the light of Benedictine spirituality well into the 21st century.

With that goal in mind, in the COVID interim, organizers Judith Valente, Oblate, Linda Romey, OSB, and Judith Sutera, OSB, decided to begin conversations via Zoom as a lead-up to the postponed conference. Nine conversations were held, each guided by a member of the community. Topics were silence, community, discernment, Rule of Benedict, leadership, moving forward, acedia, oblates and community, and millennials and the monastic impulse. The short input offered to jumpstart each conversation is available here

Still concerned about COVID, the gathering, with Sister Joan Chittister delivering the keynote address, was held virtually May 28-30, 2021 with 220 participants representing nearly 50 monasteries. While limited by the technology, both input and conversation addressed the goal of charting a new roadmap for our Benedictine future.

Feedback gathered in during the conference and in the final evaluation is compiled in this report, available in PDF format

A summary of the conference is also available in the June 2021 issue of The American Monastic Newsletter 

The organizers of Being Benedictine are Judith Valente, Oblate, Linda Romey, OSB and Judith Sutera, OSB