A Mixed Blessing – for the Feast of St. Benedict

May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.

May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with

      happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others.

      inner peace—because you will have worked to     secure an outer peace for others.

      laughter—because your heart will be light.

      faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.

These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.

Sister Ruth Fox, OSB
Sacred Heart Monastery
Richardton, ND

Originally published in Living Faith,  1989, and reprinted with permission.


  1. I was at Sacred Heart Monastery when Sr. Ruth wrote this. It was originally for graduates of Dickinson State University, then she published in living faithbmagaxine. Sadly, the last few years it has flated around the web listed as a “Franciscan blessing” or anonymous. Nice to see my dear friend and mentor’s prayer being used again.

    1. The magazine you mentioned must be where I first read it. I cannot remember where, but I know I was a candy striper at the OSF St Francis Hospital back home. I have held these words close to my heart ever since. I don’t remember which nun shared them with me, but I am thankful for the blessing of these words, and the opportunity that I had to do such volunteer work. I have lived by this and raised my children in the same way. I knew who wrote it, I had figured out that much a while ago, it was important to me, and for who, but the extra information is wonderful. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Jill, for this background. I do not know Sr. Ruth, but from this prayer I can sense her courageous spirit. What a fine prayer for graduates, and indeed for anyone starting out (or starting out again) on life’s journey. If only we could recapture that passion and openness to the Spirit’s call for all the faithful.

    This reminds me, in a way, of one of the minor exorcisms of the RCIA, which prays that we will find God’s blessing in poverty and hunger — a prayer based on the Beatitudes. I was modeling the use of this prayer at a conference for initiation ministers, and afterwards one of the participants said she was deeply moved by it, adding “I’ve never wished these things on anybody before!” Everybody laughed, but she had a point.

    Let’s wish the Beatitudes on each other… anything that will press us to live into them!

  3. I am a composer and would like to set Sr. Ruth Fox’s Benedictine Blessing to music for choir. Can you assist me in contacting her? I would like to get her permission to proceed. Thank you.

  4. I was a student at St. John’s University, School of Theology at the same time Sr. Ruth Fox was a student at St. John’s. I have lost track of her over the years but reading this blessing prayer reminds me of how talented and deeply spiritual she has always been. Thank you Sr. Ruth!

  5. What an amazing prayer, I need those powerful and freeing words today, to heal myself, utilise my discontent, anger, tears, then begin to channel my energies into living out my foolishness in believing I can make a difference, and do things others think cannot be done.
    Bless you indeed Sister Ruth…. of whom I know not a thing!
    Are you still there? Was the prayer set to music? How can I get it??

  6. Thank you! I’ve spent the past half hour trying to find a source for this, using bracketed (annual) Google searches. Finally found a reference to “A Benedictine Sister, Ruth Fox” … and that led me to you.

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