Tuesday, March 06, 2007

St. Brigid's Community


St. Brigid’s Community is a gathering of people who are committed to creating a pattern for their lives. This pattern includes the many facets of the prayer and practice of our Christian walk. The pattern of this community is one that is like being on a pilgrimage. Like being on a long walk that is more about the journey than the destination.

This pilgrimage is centered on monastic prayer. Monastic prayer is rhythmic. We pray daily. The Daily Office of The Book of Common Prayer informs our daily prayer life. This rhythmic prayer forms within the individual a merciful and a peaceful life.
Those of us in St. Brigid’s Community don’t live in a monastery. We strive to create a monastic-like experience for those who live near and far from our location. Hence, the name, “neo-monastic.” “Neo” meaning that we are people who live in the world yet have a deep yearn to be in a prayerful community; this is a new way to form this prayerful community.

If you are connected to St. Brigid’s Community in any way, through our worship services, the ecmasu.org website, or Peregrini, you are probably aware of the brief history available about St. Brigid, patron saint of Ireland. There are numerous websites dedicated to providing as much information as might be available pertaining to our chosen saint.

The reasons that St. Brigid was chosen as the guide and model for our community are four fold; 1) As an ordained woman she gave leadership to her community, 2) that community was established as the first monastery for both men and women, 3) while being true to her Celtic history she embraced Christianity, and 4) she served the poor of her community.
At St. Brigid’s Community we look to her as our model. We respect and support the ordained leadership of women. Our community is both for women and men. We hold to the importance of indigenous religious faith and the inclusion of all of God’s creation into our community. And we seek to serve Christ in the poor.

We exist as a neo-monastic community. This means that though we do not have a monastery. We instead exist in the world. While we do gather regularly in services for Eucharist and prayer at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Parish in Tempe, Arizona, many of the members of St. Brigid’s Community live outside our community and are not able to attend these gatherings. (Some live in other States or are abroad.)

To be part of St. Brigid’s Community we ask that you follow these simple practices.
First, write a letter to the elected prior of the community stating your desire to join. In your letter you should tell us why you want to be a member of the community.

Second, as a part of the letter please make a statement of your commitment to these practices: 1) to be under regular spiritual direction, 2) that under the guidance of your spiritual director you will be writing your own Rule of Life following the pattern of Benedictine Spirituality, 3) you will either pray with us in person or on your own for morning prayers or evening prayers each Tuesday 4) you will join us in the daily practice of reading The Benedictine Rule written by Joan Chittister and 5) you will join us or some other community for weekly Eucharist.

We have chosen to model our rule of life after that established by St. Benedict. It is one of the oldest and most widely used rules still today. Its beauty is in its simplicity and flexibility. Reading Chittister’s interpretation of the Benedictine Rule make it applicable for lives lived in the twenty-first century.

A personal rule should reflect the desire of the heart to live a Christian life that serves Christ and the world. Each person, with the guidance of a spiritual director, develops his or her own rule.

And finally, after receiving affirmation of your intention, you will be considered an aspirant for the community of St. Brigid. For a period of at least six months we will pray with you as you seek to follow and possibly modify your own rule. Following the six-month period you will be asked to write the community a letter reviewing your progress and restating your desire to become a member of St. Brigid’s Community. Establishing yourself as a member of St. Brigid’s Community is something you will want to consider prayerfully as it will change and form for your life for years to come.

The community will review your letter and communicate with you acceptance into St. Brigid’s Community. Hopefully in person, or via the Internet you will be accepted as a member. Members are given a St. Brigid’s Community cross that they may wear.

Member’s will continue their Rule and prayer practice as well as commit to praying for the St. Brigid’s Community each day and making a contribution to the work of serving Christ in the poor. That contribution will be of your own choosing and location. You may contribute to the work at St. Brigid’s Community in Tempe but that is not required.

We will be in prayer with you as you consider becoming a member of St. Brigid’s Community and we look forward to hearing from you.

You can contact us via this blog or at gstafford3@cox.net or by writing to St. Augustine's Episcopal Parish 1735 S. College Ave. Tempe, AZ 85281 - you can check out our website at ecmasu.org or asu.azdiocese.org or staugustine.azdiocese.org