Ora et Labora and “Playora”

Pray—work—play—was the way Sister Valerie Luckey, novice, explained her time at NADI, the Novice and Director’s Institute she attended with Novice Director, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, as part of her novitiate program. NADI provides an opportunity for all the novices and directors in Benedictine communities across the nation to gather together for a formative experience. This year it was held at Our Lady of Grace monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana.

The seven novices and directors had the chance to explore some essential elements of the Benedictine monastic way of life while experiencing peer support through sharing and living life together over a period of 10 days. “It was a beautiful experience,” shared Sister Val. “The Beech Grove community was so welcoming and hospitable. They let us know that we were loved unconditionally and that freed us to really enter into the NADI adventure.”

Presentations on topics ranging from hospitality to stewardship to prayer, as well as other Benedictine values, and the time to reflect and pray and bond with other novices rounded out the days. The group also shared in art as meditation, a Sunday fun day, and a day of service. “On our day of service, we spent time at St. Paul Hermitage, a ministry of the Beech Grove Benedictines that offers apartment living, assisted living, and nursing care,” explained Sister Val. “I spent my afternoon with Sr. Teresine. When I told her who I was and explained that there were seven novices visiting for our NADI experience she responded with elation: ‘Oh, yay! Seven new Benedictines!’ It only made me more excited to enter into this tradition.”

“It’s hard to summarize all of the amazing moments of NADI but one of the things I most value is the opportunity it provided for me to see other experiences of the same life and to grow in appreciation for diversity,” said Sister Val. “It was wonderful and I am so grateful to my Erie Benedictine community for making it possible for me to attend. My experience was definitely enriched by the love and support I felt from them before, during and after the time I was away.”

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