Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Lutheran pastor finds call at Catholic retreat center

In the midst of a busy world, there’s a place in St. Paul that is dedicated to
supporting people where they are in their spiritual journey. It’s a peaceful and
quiet place — a place that is ecumenical in its approach.

That ecumenical approach led this ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of
Carondelet, St. Paul Province, in 2008 to call an ordained Lutheran (ELCA)
pastor, Barbara Lund, as its director. The ministry goes under the name
Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality.

In areas of the convent where novices and nuns in the order went about their
daily lives, there are now retreats (some residential) and shorter daily
programs open to people of all faiths. There are programs for individuals as
well as communities of justice. Year-round programming includes theological
discussions, exploration of Celtic spirituality, meditation, even mindful eating
(concentrating on food as it relates to the environment and health), and much
more.

A new venture coming up in July will be “Peace Camp! — Visioning Peace with
One Another and Earth in a Digital Age.” A day camp for girls and boys ages
8-12, it will include sharing deep reverence for Earth and social justice.
Presenters will include musicians, artists, and writers.

Another opportunity is the monthly Spiritual Spa, a short day program of
reflection aimed at refreshing the spirit and quieting the mind. These
sessions are free and open to all.

There are also programs on elder spirituality and men’s spirituality, the latter
including a program for returning soldiers and their families. On the center’s
grounds there is a 70-square-foot labyrinth which can be used for weddings
and commitment ceremonies. In May, a “Pilgrimage of Peace: A Tour of
Intention” is scheduled. This day-long pilgrimage will include several Twin
Cities labyrinths. “Each stop will include a ritual to deepen our encounter as
we create a space for peace within ourselves and around the world,” the
program guide reads.

How did Pastor Barbara Lund come to direct this ecumenical ministry of the
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet? The Woodville, Wisconsin, native and
Augsburg College graduate had most recently directed Global Mission Events
for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, traveling extensively in Asian
countries since 1995. She experienced a yearning for home and had found
community in the Twin Cities while at Augsburg and as a member of Our
Savior’s Lutheran Church (ELCA) in the Phillips area of Minneapolis.

Within 12 hours of each other, three friends of Lund’s, knowing her yearning
for “home,” called to tell her of the opening at the Wisdom Ways Center for
Spirituality. Pastor Lund determined that the Spirit was speaking to her. The
Sisters of St. Joseph were seeking to connect more with other Christian
congregations. With their emphasis on love of God and neighbor without
distinction, the Sisters hired an ordained ELCA pastor to speak to ecumenism.

Their goal was expanding the reach of the center in exploring theological
discourse, providing opportunities to learn other spiritual practices and
providing a place for intellectual inquiry. For Pastor Lund it meant serving in
a specialized ministry call and being rostered in the St. Paul Area Synod of
the ELCA.

Since its founding in 1994, the Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality has
hosted well over 6,000 participants in its programs. From founding through
2004, the Center had joint sponsors in the Sisters of St. Joseph and adjacent
College of St. Catherine. In 2004 the center became solely a ministry of the
Sisters of St. Joseph. The goal from the start of the center has been to
provide life-giving spiritual conversations with credible and relevant
information.

Most of the center’s sessions are held at Carondolet Center, 1890 Randolph
Av., St. Paul. But, some sessions are held in facilities of Lutheran
congregations and other denominations throughout the Twin Cities.
For program and direction information, check the Web site:
www.wisdomwayscenter.org. The Wisdom Ways office phone number is
651/696-2788. The direct line to Pastor Barbara Lund is 651/696-2790.