Mary Margaret Funk, OSB, is a member of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana. She entered this Benedictine community in 1961 and served as the prioress from 1985 to 1993. In 1994 Sister Meg became the Executive Director of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue Board. She has been in formal dialogue with people of the Hindu, Zen Buddhist, Islamic, Confucian, and Taoist traditions.
She holds graduate degrees from Catholic University (1973) and Indiana University (1979). She is a graduate of Epiphany Certification Program of Formative Spirituality (2002). She received a grant from the Lilly Foundation to explore the history of Christian spirituality and its ongoing relevant to women religious today.
“Music is the closest thing there is to silence, actually; it’s a way to taste silence.” — Sister Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
Sr. Meg is the author of numerous books, including the “Matters Series” books on traditional Christian spirituality: Thoughts Matter: Discovering the Spiritual Journey, Tools Matter: Beginning the Spiritual Journey, Humility Matters: Toward Purity of Heart, Lectio Matters: Before the Burning Bush, and Discernment Matters: Listening with the Ear of the Heart. Her other books include Renouncing Violence: Practice from the Monastic Tradition and Islam Is: An Experience of Dialogue and Devotion.
When we approached Sister Meg to invite her to join our conversation on silence, we were delighted to learn that her monastery is only a short drive from Cassidy’s new home in Indiana! So this episode was recorded by Cassidy in person at the music room of Our Lady of Grace Monastery. In part two of this interview, Kevin and Carl — and Carl’s wife, Fran — joined the conversation via Skype.
“Solitude gives you a house in which to be silent.” — Sister Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
Sr. Meg is a gifted teacher, and our conversation quickly turned into a lesson in spiritual history and practice. Using the themes of her books as an organizing principle, Sr. Meg skillfully explained the central role that silence plays to Benedictine spirituality — and indeed to Christian spirituality as a whole. And while her insights dove deep into her “home tradition” of Christian spirituality, her years of insight into interreligious dialogue added a richness and depth to her reflections on how Christians and persons of other faiths can learn from one another — and how honoring the integrity of their own traditions enhances interfaith dialogue.
As if all this weren’t enough, Sr. Meg is also an amateur musician, and played several tunes for us on her tenor and alto recorders! She now has the distinction of being our first guest to explore silence not only with her words, but with her music as well.
Today’s episode is part one of a two-part interview. Part two will be released next week.
“Everybody knows what violence is, but they don’t know what renouncing is.” — Sister Mary Margaret Funk
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
- Mary Margaret Funk, Thoughts Matter
- Mary Margaret Funk, Tools Matter
- Mary Margaret Funk, Humility Matters
- Mary Margaret Funk, Lectio Matters
- Mary Margaret Funk, Discernment Matters
- Mary Margaret Funk, Renouncing Violence
- Mary Margaret Funk, Islam Is
- St. Benedict, The Rule of Saint Benedict
- John Cassian, The Institutes
- John Cassian, The Conferences
- The Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness
- Evagrius Ponticus, The Greek Ascetic Corpus
- Pseudo-Macarius, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies
- Columba Stewart, Prayer and Community
- Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis, Volume I
- Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis, Volume II
- Henri de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis, Volume III
- Thomas Keating, Open Mind Open Heart
- Rene Girard, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
Episode 52: Silence Matters: A Conversation with Sr. Mary Margaret Funk, OSB (Part One)
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
Guest: Mary Margaret Funk, OSB
Date Recorded: February 5, 2019