by Cori Hilsgen
Kate Ritger has published her second book, Benedictine Living: Reflections for Prayer and Meditation.
The book is a collection of reflections for daily prayer and meditation. The reflections weave stories from everyday life, wisdom from the Benedictine tradition, scripture and questions for meditation into short readings for daily prayer.
The reflections are organized by themes from the Rule of Benedict and include awareness of God, listening, humility, hospitality, peace, stewardship and community living.
Ritger shared thoughts about hospitality, found on page 60 of her book.
“Typically we think of hospitality as something offered to another person, like a casserole to a friend who just had a baby, or banana bread to a new neighbor. Benedict invites us to broaden the receiver of our hospitality. We are invited to receive all people, creatures, ideas, experiences, events, words and spaces as Christ.”
She shared other thoughts of work, found in pages 52-53 of her book.
“I sing with the monastery schola and right after we’ve rehearsed our music, but before we head to the chapel for Sunday Eucharist, the director says, ‘That in all things’ and we reply, ‘God may be glorified.’ It’s easy to see the work of singing in a choir as glorifying God. But are all the things I do throughout my week glorifying to God? When I think about my work in the garden, some of it certainly is: pulling bright red radishes and deep orange carrots from the ground . . . but other garden work is less obviously glorifying: shoveling and hauling wheelbarrows of compost . . . these tasks draw me closer to God.”
Ritger hopes the book is accessible to all readers, whether familiar or new to the Benedictine tradition and that it can serve as an insightful chance for growth in people’s prayer lives.
Ritger grew up outside of a small town, Random Lake, 30 miles north of Milwaukee, Wis. She studied theology and secondary education at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University and also completed a Master of Divinity in 2007 at St. John’s School of Theology.
Ritger works for the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict as the production manager of the Common Ground Garden, a three-acre subscription garden. She also works part-time as a chaplain at the St. Cloud Hospital, does retreat work, spiritual direction and has experience in campus ministry. Ritger is also an oblate of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict.
“I appreciate doing ministry that combines environmental activism, food access, spiritual care and building community,” Ritger said. “I attribute the foundation of these passions to my childhood on a hobby farm in rural Wisconsin.”
The book is published by the Liturgical Press in print and in Ebook versions. It can be purchased online at the St. John’s Liturgical Press showroom and at the CSB/SJU bookstores.
Ritger’s first book, Prayer in All things: A Saint Benedict’s and Saint John’s Prayer Book, was also published by the Liturgical Press in 2004.