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Reflection, Not Reaction | Monastic Immersion

So much of contemporary life is spent in reaction mode. A constant barrage of news cycles, notifications, likes, and advertisements interrupts us, asking us to react quickly (and perhaps thoughtlessly) to the latest thing. We move along to an ever-increasing drum beat, and so many of us feel beaten down by the relentless pace of contemporary life. Especially for young people – pushed along from school to university toward a career – there can be little room left for asking big questions, developing a sense of themselves, or listening to discover a larger purpose.

This is why SSJE has developed our Monastic Immersion program, inviting women and men between the ages of 21-30 to experience the transformative power of intentional living in community. Over nine months, we invite young people to experience something utterly different than our current culture of reaction: a culture of reflection. Imagine nine months paced by the ringing of a chapel bell. Instead of the static and noise of the culture, we share a day infused with silence. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Such inner transformation is a central aim of the monastic life. As we attend to our conversion in Christ and grow in love for God and one another, we trust that this monastic way is shaping us into deep reservoirs, to be used by the Spirit for the sake of the world’s healing, wholeness, and reconciliation.

We Brothers are stewards of this ancient tradition, which we hope to pass on to the Interns, sharing with them practices and skills that have enduring value: Worship. Silence. Stillness. Reflection. Prayer. Discernment. Community. Listening. Hospitality. The Interns, in turn, help us to stay engaged with the contemporary world, its needs, and its hungers. We believe that these nine months will reshape how the Interns experience our world. We pray that they will be empowered to transform it. 

Why Brothers Love the Immersion Program

“Learning is mutual in our daily life classroom of worship and hospitality. They’ve nurtured my own conversion. I delight in watching them discover and change.” – Br. Luke Ditewig, SSJE

“It’s like learning a dance step with a new partner.  Nervous and a little clumsy at first, and then we soar.” – Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

“It has become impossible for me to imagine our community’s life without Monastic Immersion Interns. They are vital to our connection with the wider church and the cultural matrix.” – Br. Jonathan Maury, SSJE

Why the Interns Came | Meet the 2018-19 Interns

“I feel drawn to SSJE for the opportunity to pause from work and reflect on my vocation. It’s been a few years and I still feel uncertain about my goals and hopes for my future. I’d also like to spend more time considering how my vocation and my Christian spirituality can be more closely aligned.” – Betsy Noecker 

“I’m drawn to SSJE because I’m searching for some deep discernment in a fully supportive community. I am looking to find the intersection of Food and Faith, and I’ve been interested in monastic traditions and want to learn more. I first discovered SSJE when I was searching the internet for a recording of the great O Antiphons during Advent a couple years ago. I just fell in love with how the Brothers combine tradition, education, hospitality, and sacred music.”  – Jimmy Pickett

“I was originally drawn to this monastic internship because I wanted to learn more about prayer. I have trouble keeping a sustainable routine, and I thought that nine months in a relatively distraction-free setting would help me set a solid foundation. I am interested in having more two-sided conversations with the Lord (rather than long-winded monologues at Him). Basically, I am hoping to be still, and listen.”  – Lina Palmer

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