Mutual Mentoring:
A New Paradigm Of An Old Tradition

Rose Mary Rexing, O.S.B.

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I am very honored to be asked to speak at the ABA by Fr. Valerian. I recall that he asked me over a year ago if I would share something about vocations. I told him that I no longer was in the vocation ministry but mission advancement. He said that did not matter, he would still like for me to give a presentation. So I asked on what? He said, "Anything that relates to the theme of the convention." Well, I thought, I cannot go wrong. So here is my presentation about anything relating to our convention theme of mentoring.

On a more serious note, what I would like to share are some of my experiences of mentoring from my vocation ministry and then from my reflection on living the monastic life in my community at Ferdinand. I also invited others in my community, including my prioress, to give me their insights to mentor me in developing this presentation. St. Benedict calls the monastic life a "school," and thus we can think of both teachers and students. However, chapter 73 of the Rule St. Benedict encourages us all to keep what he calls this Rule for beginners.1 Now if we are all beginners, then perhaps we are also all mentors at times, and perhaps the ideal of the Rule is that there be mutual mentoring among monks. If monastic life means we are in the school of the Lord's service as stated in the Rule, then we are teachers and advisors as well as students and listeners



Examples of Mutual Mentoring

Mutual Mentoring inside a monastic community

Relationship between abbot or prioress and individual community members

Relationship between generations

Relationship between any two community members

Mutual Mentoring between individuals within and outside the community

Relationship between guests and the community

Examples of external mentoring

Christ as the Master Mentor

Mentoring at the heart of the Rule


"Get Thee to a Nunnery: Sisters Look for Recruits," by Meera Louis in The Wall Street Journal.

1Timothy Fry, O.S.B., ed, RB 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in Latin and English with Notes (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press 1981) 295. return

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