This door marker greeted me on retreat last weekend. A small but important sign that I was in a place of hospitality, a hallmark of the Benedictines and their spirituality. Welcome. I thought about hospitality often while I was on retreat. When I saw the generous plates of snacks set out at every break. When one of the sisters helped me navigate their breviary books for evening prayer. When I noticed the basket of toiletries at the bathroom sink with a note to help yourself if you'd forgotten anything at home. Small gestures that convey a deeper embrace of the stranger as guest. . . . In his Rule for monastic orders, Saint Benedict writes that all guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ. I remember seeing these words engraved in stone near the Abbey Church at Saint John's when I first started graduate studies at the School of Theology. During the next three years of studying and then five years of working within a Benedictine community, I've learned plenty about … [Read more...] about my mom, my mother-in-law, and…st. benedict?