Enrichment Series Continues at Mount St. Benedict Monastery with Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder

The first presentation in the 2013 Enrichment Series at Mount St. Benedict Monastery drew a crowd of more than 100 people interested in hearing about “Death: The Great Adventure.” In her presentation, Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder, Professor of Religious Studies and Director, Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies at Mercyhurst University, shared valuable insights on a topic that is no stranger to human beings. Rooted in contemporary theology, evolutionary biology and quantum physics, the lecture inspired images of God and perceptions of death in the spirit of eschatology: hope seeking understanding. Dr. Snyder urged the audience to identify their image of God so that by meeting God in life they will know God in death. "Death is no less sacred than life,” said Dr. Snyder. “We won’t meet God in death until we meet God in life. Death will be a great adventure if we live within the world as if it were the body of God.”

In closing Dr. Snyder shared the poem, When Death Comes, by Mary Oliver:

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Photo: [L to R] Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Director of Monastic Formation, Dr. Mary Hembrow Snyder, and Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress

Enrichment Series: Throughout history monasteries have been renowned as centers of learning and culture. Study is reverenced as a means of enlarging the mind and the heart. Benedictines are committed to ongoing education. In an effort to grow in knowledge and understanding and to stay informed about current issues, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie will continue this Enrichment Series. The next presentation is scheduled for Sunday, April 14, 3:30 p.m. In a continued celebration of Hildegard of Bingen who was proclamed a Doctor of the Church in October, 2012, a concert of her music will be presented by St. Noel's Choir from Cleveland.