Dear Friends,

As we build the Beloved Community, we pray for you every day that you might continue to bring it about in your little corner of the world.

Today's Meditation features Joan Chittister saluting Holy Women down through the ages. Don't miss Van Gogh, Thea Bowman, Maria Skobtsova and Anne Sexton's poem, "Welcome Morning."

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION: Joan Chittister

Throughout March, Women’s History Month, Vision and Viewpoint will highlight some of Joan Chittister’s most prophetic writings about women’s rights and contemporary feminist spirituality.

Throughout March, Women’s History Month, Vision and Viewpoint will highlight some of Joan Chittister’s most prophetic writings about women’s rights and contemporary feminist spirituality. Some of the best of this writing is found in From the Writings of Joan Chittister: On Women, available on Kindle here.

Litany of Women for the Church

Dear God, creator of women in your own image

born of a woman in the midst of a world half women,

carried by women to mission fields around the globe,

made known by women to all the children of the earth,

Give to the women of our time

the strength to persevere,

the courage to speak out,

the faith to believe in you beyond

all systems and institutions,

so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty,

so that the church may be converted to your will

in everything and in all ways.

We call on the holy women who went before us, channels of Your Word

in testaments old and new, to intercede for us

so that we might be given the grace to become what they have been

for the honor and glory of God.

Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus,

first evangelist of the Christ;

Saint Scholastica,

who taught her brother Benedict to honor the spirit above the system;

Saint Hildegard, who suffered interdict

for the doing of right;

Saint Joan of Arc, who put no law above the law of God;

Saint Clare of Assisi, who confronted the pope

with the image of woman as equal;

Saint Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us the motherhood of God;

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who knew the call

to priesthood in herself;

Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened;

Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women’s gifts

to the reform of the church;

Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith;

Saint Elizabeth Seton, who broke down boundaries between lay women and religious;

Saint Dorothy Day, who led the church in a new sense of justice;

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who heard the call of God and answered;

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who drew strength from the woman Elizabeth;

Mary, mother of Jesus,

who underwent hardship bearing Christ;

Mary, mother of Jesus, who ministered at Cana;

Mary, mother of Jesus, inspirited at Pentecost;

Mary, mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Christ,

pray for us.


— from A Litany of Women for the Church, by Joan Chittister. The full prayer can be purchased as a downloadable PDF through It is also included in On Women. As Women’s History Month comes to an end, consider sharing A Litany of Women for the Church with others.

What's New: March 27, 2023

"Monasteries of the Heart" HighlightedJoan Chittister, and especially her role in starting Monasteries of the Heart, was highlighted in an article that appeared on the website for Anna Chaplaincy, a British program that promotes spiritual wellness for elderly people. The column notes, too, that Sister Joan’s writing in The Gift of Years helped to inspire the work of Anna Chaplaincy. Click here to read the full piece.

Upcoming Events"An Afternoon with Sister Joan Chittister" at Trinity Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, CA, will be from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on May 20, 2023. This in-person event is made possible through the Mark Asman Progressive Theology Fund. The afternoon will include a presentation on The Time is Now and book signing. Tickets are $30.00 and available online here.

For information about more events featuring Sister Joan, including two upcoming engagements—one in person and one virtual—in the month of April, click here.

Monastic Way ZoomTomorrow, join Benetvision staff Sisters Anne McCarthy and Jacqueline Sanchez-Small for the monthly FREE Zoom discussion of the March issue of The Monastic Way. Join this hour-long call at 3 p.m. Eastern Time for a brief prayer, followed by small group discussion and large group sharing. Click here to register.

SOUL POINTSMarch 30: Vincent van Gogh, the artist who was born on this date in 1853, said once: “The best way to know God is to love many things.” That’s why we have to fill life with the best: the best of music, the best of people, the best of ideas, the best of the spiritual life. Today, fill yourself with one good thing: listen to a favorite piece of music, gaze at an art piece that you love, have a meaningful conversation, read something new. Don’t be fooled by things that may seem to fill us but which really leave our souls empty and barren.

—from A Monastery Almanac, by Joan Chittister

March 30: “Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we'd have a tremendous light,” said Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, who died on this date in 1990. A gifted scholar and orator, Bowman converted to Catholicism as a child and as a young woman, she became a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. Bowman was a teacher for sixteen years before the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi invited her to serve as a consultant for intercultural awareness. Bowman, one of very few African American sisters travelled the country leading programs designed to lessen prejudice and racism within the Catholic Church, until her death from cancer at the age of 52. Click here to watch a short clip of Bowman addressing a conference of U.S. bishops and explaining what it means to be Black and Catholic.

March 31: “Piety, piety, but where is the love that moves mountains?” wrote Mother Maria Skobtsova, who was killed on this date in 1945. Born into an aristocratic Russian family in 1891, Skobtsova was an intellectual, a poet, and a political radical in her youth. After the Bolshevik Revolution, she served as mayor of her hometown, but had to flee with her husband and their children amid the turmoil of the early twentieth century. They settled in Paris, where Skobtsova became intensely spiritual, even after her daughter died and her marriage ended. She dedicated herself to helping the poor and studying theology, and eventually took monastic vows and opened a convent, determined to create a new kind of religious community that was strongly focused on directly helping those in need. When France fell to Germany in World War II, Skobtsova’s community provided shelter and forged baptismal certificates to Jewish people who were seeking protection from the Nazis, until German soldiers discovered them. She was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where she was killed in a gas chamber. According to one account, Skobtsova, in keeping with her life of service to others, volunteered to take the place of someone else who had been chosen to die that day.


Welcome Morning

There is joy

In all:

In the hair I brush each morning,

In the Cannon towel, newly washed,

That I rub my body with each morning,

In the chapel of eggs I cook

Each morning,

In the outcry from the kettle

that heats my coffee

Each morning,

In the spoon and the chair

That cry “hello there, Anne”

Each morning,

In the godhead of the table

That I set my silver, plate, cup upon

Each morning.

All this is God,

Right here in my pea-green house

Each morning

And I mean,

Though often forget,

To give thanks,

To faint down by the kitchen table

In a prayer of rejoicing

As the holy birds at the kitchen window

Peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,

Let me paint a thank-you on my palm

For this God, this laughter of the morning,

Lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard,

dies young.

—Anne Sexton