Monday, December 29, 2014

The Christmas Season Continues: A Christmas Memory


The recent Yankton Benedictines newsletter shared stories from our Sisters' Christmases past...

Sr. Wilma remembers that Christmases were much simpler in those days as she lived through the end of the Depression during WWII and professed monastic poverty. Christmas was celebrated with a nice meal, extra fruit, and candy. The novices would draw names and make a little gift for that sister. When Sr. Wilma was out "on mission," that is, teaching in a parochial school away from Yankton, the Sisters usually stayed there during Christmas vacation. The parents of their students would bring the sisters practical gifts - like a farmer who brought them a nice ham. The Sisters might also draw names and make gifts for one another.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Benedictine Study


As the new year approaches, we begin to consider our lives.  Resolutions are considered and chosen to help us grow, to improve our lives in one way or another.

This new year, resolve to grow in understanding of the Order of Saint Benedict.  Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History would be a wonderful way to learn about the development of the Benedictine Order from the earliest centuries to today.

Our Sister Ann Kessler has revised her text which helps readers "explore fifteen centuries of intrigue, controversy, commitment and inspiration...This fast-paced book surveys the vast landscape of saints, scholars, mystics, and reformers whose impact continues to offer insight not only into the past, but into the future" (Lean Scholar Press).

Brother Benet Tvedten, OSB commented that her text is "An appealing and unique history of the Order of St. Benedict becuase it is an account of both male and female Benedictines. Sister Ann Kessler tells the whole story and she does it very well."  You can read what Brother Benet and others have seen in the story of courage at Lean Scholars Press.

Curious about this fifteen-hundred-year story?  Lean Scholar Press offers an overview of the contents of the text.

Blessings and Happy Studying!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day at the Monastery


On this Christmas Day, we offer you our prayers and blessings and invite you to take a 'virtual tour' of our monastery chapel decorated for the Christmas celebrations.  The poinsettias and greenery remind us the celebrating begins on Christmas Eve and continues through the Baptism of Our Lord.

A Christmas Blessing and Call to Prayer


This morning Pope Francis proclaimed his Christmas Message and Urbi et Orbi blessing to thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.  It carries an important message of our brothers and sisters in need of our love and prayer...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

T'was the day before Christmas Eve...


Following our monastic tradition, the sisters don't begin to decorate for Christmas in their personal spaces and common rooms until after the "O Antiphons" have begun.  However, we don't decorate the refectory, Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel, or main hallways until the day before Christmas Eve. The flurry of work is made light (and a bit fun) with many helpful hands...

Wondering how it could all be done in one afternoon?  CLICK HERE!

Christmas Eve Blessings to you,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

O Emmanuel

The banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and

O Antiphon...
O Emmanuel,
our holy King
and giver of the Law,
the expectation of the nations,
their longed for
Redeemer and Savior:
O come, come soon to save us,
our Lord GOD-WITH-US!

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel"

"Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.  When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us." (Matthew 1: 18-23)

Monday, December 22, 2014

O King of Nations

The banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and
O Antiphon...
O King of Nations,
you for whom
all lands are longing,
you are the holy cornerstone
who binds together
all God's people:
O come, come and save humankind whom you formed
from the dust of the earth.

"Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, a precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; whoever puts faith in it will not waver" (Isaiah 28: 16).

"Open the gates of righteousness; I will enter and thank the LORDThis is the LORD’s own gate, through it the righteous enter. I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.  
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune!"
 (Psalms 118: 19-25)

Christmas Season Liturgies

We invite you to join us in prayer throughout the Christmas Season...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

O Rising Sun

The banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and
O Antiphon...
O Rising Sun,
the splendor of eternal light
and brilliant sun of justice,
come and with your holy light,
shine on us who sit in darkness
and in death's shadow!

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone."
(Isaiah 9: 1)
"Now I am sending my messenger—he will prepare the way before me; And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; The messenger of the covenant whom you desire— see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts.They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my own special possession, on the day when I take action. And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.  For the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble, And the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts. But for you who fear my name, the sun of justice will arise with healing in its wings; And you will go out leaping like calves from the stall and tread down the wicked; They will become dust under the soles of your feet, on the day when I take action, says the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 3: 1, 17, 19-21)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Advent is a Time of Thanksgiving


This Advent there has been a gift and blessing of time to reflect on all God has shared with us, the blessings of community.  Part of the blessing of community is our life shared here in the city of Yankton.  Every year we join the city in celebrating a community Thanksgiving meal.

November 26th was the annual Yankton Community Thanksgiving dinner.  The sisters were asked (again) to help bake some of the turkeys and dressing for the meal.  Twenty-two sisters joyfully continued the tradition by assisting throughout the day.  They were joined by Fr. Thomas, a helpful Oblate, and our kitchen staff.

By 5:30 that evening, 32 turkeys were cooked and cut for serving as well was 24 pans of dressing, all on it way to the community meal.  Five of the sisters also joined in serving the meal along with other community volunteers.

Thank you to Sr. Joelle, sister outreach coordinator, and all of our Sisters, Oblates, and Friends who help us reach out and share our blessings with our Yankton community.

Thanksgiving was also at time of gratitude for those gifts our sisters share with each other. Gifts of our hands and hearts to our sisters.  The gift of baked pumpkin pies, for instance, graced each of our tables fresh from the monastery bakery.

What Advent blessings are you thankful for as we near gift of Christmas?

O Key of David

The banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and
O Antiphon...

O Key of David,

and scepter of the House
of Israel, who open the door
and no one closes,
who close the door and
no one opens: 
O come, rescue us  from our dark prison,
where we sit in death's shadow!

"I will clothe him with your robe, gird him with your sash, confer on him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one will shut, what he shuts, no one will open. I will fix him as a peg in a firm place, a seat of honor for his ancestral house; On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house: descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs" (Isaiah 22: 21-24)
"“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this: “The holy one, the true, who holds the key of David, who opens and no one shall close, who closes and no one shall open, says this: “I know your works (behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name" (Revelation 3: 7-8).

Friday, December 19, 2014

O Root of Jesse

Banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and
sold by McCrimmons.

O Antiphons...

O Root of Jesse,
who stand as a sign
of the people,
before whom all nations
shall pray,
O come, come Lord
to free us and delay no longer!

"On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the peoples—Him the nations will seek out; his dwelling shall be glorious...He shall raise a signal to the nations and gather the outcasts of Israel; the dispersed of Judah he shall assemble from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:10, 12)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

O Adonai

The banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and
sold by McCrimmons.
O Antiphon...
O Adonai, and Leader
of the House of Israel,
who appeared in a burning bush
to Moses and gave him
the Law on Mount Sinai,
O come, come Lord
and redeem us with Your
strong arm outstretched!

"There the angel of the LORD appeared to him as fire flaming out of a bush. When he looked, although the bush was on fire, it was not being consumed. So Moses decided, “I must turn aside to look at this remarkable sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look, God called out to him from the bush: Moses! Moses! He answered, “Here I am.” God said: Do not come near! Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father, he continued, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God" (Exodus 3: 2-6).

"But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah least among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, Then the rest of his kindred shall return to the children of Israel. He shall take his place as shepherd by the strength of the LORDby the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth..." (Micah 5: 1-3).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

O Wisdom of God

The banner was designed by
the Benedictine Sisters
of Turvey Abbey and
sold by McCrimmons.

O Antiphon...

O Wisdom of God,
who came forth
from the mouth
of the Most High,
reaching from beginning
to end, and with great power
yet gentleness, You set all creation in order:

O come Lord and teach us
the way of Wisdom!

"Does not Wisdom call, and Understanding raise her voice? On the top of the heights along the road, at the crossroads she takes her stand; By the gates at the approaches of the city, in the entryways she cries aloud: “To you, O people, I call; my appeal is to you mortals. You naive ones, gain prudence, you fools, gain sense. Listen! for noble things I speak; my lips proclaim honest words. Indeed, my mouth utters truth, and my lips abhor wickedness. All the words of my mouth are sincere, none of them wily or crooked; All of them are straightforward to the intelligent, and right to those who attain knowledge...Those who love me I also love, and those who seek me find me...“The LORD begot me, The beginning of his works, the forerunner of his deeds of long ago;From of old I was the first, before the earth. Then was I beside him as artisan; I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, Playing over the whole of his earth, having my delight with human beings. Now, children, listen to me; happy are they who keep my ways. Listen to instruction and grow wise, do not reject it! Happy the one who listens to me, attending daily at my gates, keeping watch at my doorposts; For whoever finds me finds life, and wins favor from the LORD" 
(Proverbs 8: 1-9, 17, 22-23 , 30-35).

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Our week of Advent Gaudete (rejoicing) brings the 'rosy' light of hope
to our winter days. May their light brighten your Advent too. 

"Rejoice O Jerusalem, with a great joy,
for your Savior will come to you, alleluia!" ~ Vespers Antiphon

These stained glass works of art light the Sisters' Advent Wreath as we gather
for the Liturgy of the Hours. The candle-lit designs progress
from deep purples and blues in the first week to lighter tones and shades.
May their light brighten your Advent too...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sister Kathy Named Endowed Nursing Chair


Congratulations to our own Sr. Kathy who truly lives out Benedict's call to care for the sick and suffering and teaches all those in her classes to do the same.  "Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ, for he said: "I was sick and you visited me", and, "What you did for the least of brothers you did for me"" (Rule of Benedict 36: 1-3).

Mount Marty College nursing department is pleased to announce the 2014-17 Endowed Nursing Chair was recently awarded to Sr. Kathy Burt RN, MSN, Ph.D.  

Sr. Kathy Burt attended Mount Marty College and graduated in 1993 with her Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 2003 and her Ph.D. in 2006. She has worked as an RN at both Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota and here at the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton. Sr. Kathy has been teaching at Mount Marty College for the past 7 years and is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing and serving as the Interim Chief Nurse Administrator and Division Chair of the nursing department.

In 1992, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital established an Endowed Chair of Nursing with Sr. Corinne Lemmer being named the first recipient for 1994-1997.  The recipient must demonstrate their ability as a teacher as well as scholarly and professional attainment by their competence in field of nursing to a greater degree. They must also have leadership and institutional contributions and community service through involvement in regional and national nursing associations.

"Sr. Kathy Named Endowed Nursing Chair." News Release. Mount Marty College. 8 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Hail, bright star of the ocean,
God's own gracious mother,
Virgin ever sinless, take our supplication,
to your Son, our Savior.
Surely, He will hear you. ~ Amen

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Advent Peace


Tonight, we return to the quiet of our Advent Peace with gratitude after a weekend of joyous Advent activity!

The whirlwind of Advent activity began with Lauds on Saturday morning. The sisters were joined by a variety of guests in chapel. They filled the guest 'row' and spread out among us sisters. A ripple of quiet whispers and swish of pages hummed beneath the hush of the chapel. As we moved through prayer together, a few smiles, helpful hands turning pages, and even a chuckle or two...all in praise of God.

After prayer, the guests' Advent activity took them in two different directions. The Catholic Daughters of America Court Willard prepared a wonderful breakfast of coffee cakes and morning sweets. Their generosity and joy filled our dinning room. Our sisters from the care center joined us as we lingered over coffee, shared stories of holidays past, and simply enjoyed the blessings of their faith-filled love.

Mary at prayer was the focus of the prayerful
environment next the podium at Saturday's
Advent retreat: the Fullness of Time.
Our other morning guests were led to our community chapter room for an Advent morning retreat hosted by our sisters in the Peace Center. Thirty guests and several of our own sisters gathered to reflect on Advent "Fullness of Time". Sr. Mary Jo shared reflections on the Advent theme, the retreatants also shared prayer together, and were allowed time for silence and prayer as well.

The Advent activity continued through lunch. As the sisters were at table, Saint Nicholas (Postulant Terry) arrived with two helpful elves to share feastday joy! He was greeted with a rousing chorus of "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas". Saint Nick moved joyfully among the tables offering the sisters treats of apples & oranges, beautifully decorated gingerbread men & women, and chocolate candies; three in honor of the Blessed Trinity.

Still more activity continued Saturday afternoon. Folks from Mount Marty College began to prepare for the upcoming Vespers; checking the sound and lighting systems, determining what more might be needed to ensure a wonderful concert. Sunday morning, the MMC Vespers folk returned! They waited until after the last of our Sunday congregation left the chapel, and then they began to move the choir risers, lights, sound and so much more in...all while our sacristan sisters and their helpers began to move the presider's chair, ambo, altar, and other sacred elements safely out of the sanctuary. This special concert, a Vespers in song, was held twice this Sunday: afternoon and evening.

And now we joyfully return to our Advent peace and prayer.

Advent Blessings to you,