Hospitality

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In the absence of hotels, Benedictine monasteries welcomed travelers, fed them, and gave them a space to sleep in safety. Monastic hospitality provided safe havens and reminded the monks that although they were no longer of the world they remained very much in it.

In chapter 53 of his Rule, The Reception of Guests, St. Benedict says,

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Matthew 25:35). Proper honor must be shown to all, ‘especially to those who share our faith’ (Galatians 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

When we welcome guests we are welcoming Christ, who said, “Just as you did it to one of the least of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). We respect their personhood, listen with our hearts, and share with them what we have. We do not distinguish between people when we offer hospitality. In doing this, we help change what is unjust and so help build the kingdom of Heaven on earth.

In her book Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Sister Joan Chittister of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie writes, “Hospitality means we take people into the space that is our lives and our minds and our hearts and our work and our efforts. Hospitality is the way we come out of ourselves. It is the first step toward dismantling the barriers of the world. Hospitality is the way we turn a prejudiced world around, one heart at a time.”

“Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world we will have discovered fire.”

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

RB-Reception of guests part one
Christmas Caroling at the McCabe Renewal Center
Christmas Caroling at the McCabe Renewal Center
Sister Mary Josephine Torborg pours coffee at the Monastery Open House.
Sister Mary Josephine Torborg pours coffee at the Monastery Open House.
Live-in volunteers -- associates -- help in our ministry of hospitality.
Live-in volunteers -- associates -- help in our ministry of hospitality.
“Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life...all of our life.”
–Henri Nouwen