Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday ~ Pope Francis' Homily

Jesus humble gaze looks over our
sisters at peace in the monastery cemetery. 

Today, Pope Francis' homily called us to reflect on the great humility of Christ...

At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself”(2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation.
These words show us God’s way and the way of Christians: it is humility.  A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!
Humility is above all God’s way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity.  This is clear when we read the Book of Exodus.  How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.
This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation.  Only in this way will this week be “holy” for us too!
We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up.  We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver.  We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted.  We will hear Peter, the “rock” among the disciples, deny him three times.  We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified.  We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns.  And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God.
This is God’s way, the way of humility.  It is the way of Jesus; there is no other.  And there can be no humility without humiliation.
Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the “form of a slave” (cf.Phil 2:7).  In the end, humility means service.  It means making room for God by stripping oneself, “emptying oneself”, as Scripture says (v. 7).  This is the greatest humiliation of all.
There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ.  It is worldliness, the way of the world.  The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success…  the other way.  The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert.  But Jesus immediately rejected it.  With him, we too can overcome this temptation, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well.
In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person…
We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price.  We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time.  They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity.  They follow him on his way.  We can speak of a “cloud of witnesses” (cf. Heb  12:1). 
Let us set about with determination along this same path, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour.  Love will guide us and give us strength.  For where he is, we too shall be (cf. Jn  12:26).  Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honoring our Foundress

Eternal rest grant unto to her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Mother Gertrude, first prioress of Sacred Heart
Convent. She led our early sisters from 1880-1891. 

We commemorate each of our sisters' death anniversaries with special prayer intentions for that sister.  Today, we remember and honor our foundress Mother Gertrude Leupi.  Her courage lead her to follow Bishop Martin Marty's invitation to service.  Leaving the Swiss Alps of Maria Rickenbach convent for the windswept plains of the Dakota Territory.

The inscription upon her grave reads:
Mother Gertrude Leupi was born on March 1, 1825. She professed her Benedictine vows on March 21, 1848 and lived 25 years at the convent of Maria Rickenbach in the Swiss Alps. She then served in North America for 12 years as a foundress and superior of new Benedictine convents. She then returned to Switzerland, founded the Marienburg convent and later died March 27 (26), 1904.

The tomb of Mother Gertrude.
The entrance to the garden and
mausoleum of Mother Gertrude
at Marienburg convent
in Switzerland.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Holy Week & Sacred Triduum Celebrations


All are welcome to join us in our Holy Week and Triduum celebrations...

 Palm Sunday

  • 8:30 AM ~ Lauds, Bishop Marty Chapel
  • 10:00 AM ~ Palm Blessing & Process, Eucharistic Celebration
    • Begins in the Chapter Room
  • 5:00 PM ~ Vespers, Bishop Marty Chapel

Holy Thursday

  • 8:30 AM ~ Lauds, Peace Chapel
  • 5:00 PM ~Foot-washing (monastic community)
  • 7:00 PM ~ Eucharistic Celebration and Procession, 
    • Bishop Marty Chapel

Good Friday
  • 8:30 AM ~ Lauds, Peace Chapel
  • 3:00 PM ~ Good Friday Services, Bishop Marty Chapel

Holy Saturday
  • 8:30 AM ~ Lauds, Peace Chapel
  • 5:00 PM ~ Vespers, Peace Chapel
  • 8:00 PM ~ Paschal Vigil Mass
    • Begins in front of Chapel and processes to the Chapter Room 
    • All are invited for refreshments in the Refectory after the Vigil

Easter Sunday
  • 9:00 AM ~ Lauds, Bishop Marty Chapel
  • 5:00 PM ~ Vespers, Bishop Marty Chapel

Easter Monday
  • 8:30 AM ~ Lauds, Bishop Marty Chapel
  • 9:00 AM ~ Celebration of the Eucharist
  • 5:15 PM ~ Vespers, Bishop Marty Chapel

Easter Octave Continues
  • Return to the regular horarium

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Passing of Saint Benedict


While the universal Church honors Saint Benedict with a memorial to him as abbot in the midst of July, we Benedictines commemorate the anniversary of his death today.  Here at Sacred Heart Monastery we join Benedictines around the world in celebrating the Passing of our Holy Father Benedict with great joy.  How you might ask...

Prayer for the feast began on the eve of the day with a solemn procession of statio into first Vespers.  The solemnity continues today with chanted and sung prayer honoring Saint Benedict at Lauds and the celebration of the Eucharist the next morning.  Even in the midst of repentant Lent, our joy overflows into the hallways and offices.  The greetings of "Happy Feast!" break the morning silence and ripple cheerfully throughout the day.  After a celebratory supper (a little simpler during this Lenten season), we end the day of solemn joy the way we began, with our voices raised in the song and chanted prayer of Vespers.

St. Gregory the Great recounted the death of Benedict in chapter 37 of his Dialogues:
In the year that was to be his last, the man of God foretold the day of his holy death to a number of his disciples.  In mentioning it to some who were with him in the monastery, he bound them to strict secrecy.  Some others, however, who were stationed elsewhere he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.   
The death of Saint Benedict depicted
in the gardens 
at his monastery
of Monte Cassino in Italy.
Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy.  Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end.  Then, supporting his weakened body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.   
That day two monks, one of them at the monastery, the other some distance away, received the very same revelation.  They both saw a magnificent road covered with rich carpeting and glittering with thousands of lights.  From his monastery it stretched eastward in a straight line until it reached up into heaven.  and there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, "Do you know who passed this way?" "No," they replied. 
"This," he told them, "is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord's beloved, when he went to heaven."  Thus, while the brethren who were with Benedict witnessed his death, those who were absent know about it through the sign he had promised them.  His body was laid to rest in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, which he had built to replace the altar of Apollo.
Wondering what else we do in celebration?  Ask your questions...through comments here or our Facebook site!

Happy Feast!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discernment Retreat: Listening for God’s Call

The Discernment Retreat begins TODAY! 
Please pray for the women who will be joining us in this sacred time of seeking God's Will:

LORD of the Harvest, 

BLESS young people with the gift
of courage to respond to your call.
Open their heart
to great ideals, to great things.

INSPIRE all of your disciples 
to mutual love and giving—
for vocations blossom
in the good soil of faithful people.

INSTILL those in religious life, parish ministries, and families 
with the confidence and grace to invite others
to embrace the bold and noble path 
of a life consecrated to you.

UNITE us to Jesus 
through prayer and sacrament,
so that we may cooperate 
with you in building your reign
of mercy and truth, of justice and peace. 

— Pope Francis

(National Religious Vocations Conference prayer Adapted from the Message on the 51st World Day of Prayer for Vocations.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Solemnity of Saint Joseph

A summer day at the Saint Joseph
grotto at Sacred Heart Monastery.
Prayer to St. Joseph,
Protector of Homes

Sisters and guests can pause
to pray at Saint Joseph's grotto
between the Stations
of our Sorrowful Way.
Pour forth heaven's blessings on our families.
Remain in our midst. Help us to live in love and harmony, in peace and joy. May the wholesome fear of God strengthen us that virtue may adorn what we do and our way may lead to heaven. 

To you this day we give you the key to our dwelling places. Lock out all things that could do us harm. Lock our homes and loved ones with us in the hearts of Jesus and Mary. This we beg of you that our days may be like your days in the holy home at Nazareth. Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Open House!


We celebrated the Year of Consecrated Life with a public open house held at Sacred Heart Monastery on Sunday, March 15.  

Over 100 people took advantage of the tours being conducted by the sisters through Marty House, the original residence of the first Bishop of the Dakotas, Martin Marty and the Sisters’ dining room, chapel and gathering space.  The tour groups culminated in the Chapter room where visitors were able to view a video on monastic living and spend time visiting with the Sisters over homemade cookies and drinks.  People were also invited to join the Sisters at 4:00 Vespers in the Bishop Marty Chapel if they wish and it proved to be a joyful day for all who came. 

Future events at the monastery for this Year’s celebration will focus on meeting present needs through volunteer service to the community of Yankton and surrounding area and a special prayer service to be held in the late fall or early winter to close the Year of Consecrated Life with its theme to “Wake Up the World.”  Keep checking on the blog, Facebook, or monastery website for the dates and times of these upcoming events.

Did you miss the open house?  Call the monastery and set up a date to tour our Chapel and amazing items from our museum!

Families began the tour by "signing-in" at the monastery guestbook.
Signing the guestbook in the Gathering Space are Donovan and Marlys List
of Yankton and Chris and Holly Wortmann of Crofton, NE.
The guests then toured Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel.
Sister Anna explained the Benedictine themes in the stained glass
windows in our Monastic Chapel. 
The artwork in our dining room or Monastic Refectory reflects the Chapel.
Sister Joelle explained the symbolism in the stained glass planned and
artwork painted by Sister Leonarda when it was built in the 1960's.  
Sister Sharon Ann shared the history of Bishop Marty House, which is listed
on the National Register, with Marlys and Donovan List, Liz Brinkman,
Postulant Theresa, and Sister Rosalie of Mother of God Monastery.
All guests were welcomed back to the Monastic Chapter Room.
Guests enjoyed cookies and a chance to watch a projected presentation
on the Sisters' past, while visiting the Sisters.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ A Diamond Shining Bright!

Greetings from our sister celebrating 75 years of profession,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we have shared the story of our Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

Sister Wilma Lyle begins her autobiography by stating “My life has been an interesting and exciting one.”

Like many of her generation, S. Wilma grew up on a homesteaded farm where her parents raised their seven children. During her years at Mount Marty High School, S. Wilma felt called to be a Benedictine Sister and began convent life on August 24, 1937.

After first profession in 1939, her teaching career started with elementary and junior high schools in Glen Ulin, Richardton, and Selfridge, ND, and Hoven, Aberdeen and Yankton, SD, with many summers spent teaching in vacation schools. Sr. Wilma loved teaching and served Mount Marty College as professor in the religion department and as academic dean.

In 1964, she along with five other Sisters, spent seven years setting up and teaching in their mission school in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. She found this to be the most enriching experience of her life. In 1973 S. Wilma was elected prioress and served two terms which she found both challenging and exhilarating. After her terms in office she resumed teaching and taking on various ministries.

Looking back on her years as a Benedictine, S. Wilma states: “I’ve been blessed and enriched in so many ways and am so grateful for the gifts of life, health, intelligence, education and experiences, especially experiences undreamed of in 1939 when I was professed.”

Curious about more of our stories? Follow this link to our "Meet the Sisters" page. You can 'click' on different sisters names to find out more about their story, our vows, and living as a Benedictine Sister! Or follow the "Vocation" link at the top of our blog to request more information! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ 70 Year Diamonds!

Greetings from our sisters celebrating 70 years of profession,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of our Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

Sister Evangeline grew up on a farm near Harrold, SD with her parents and six siblings. After graduation she worked a year hoping to save for college. Little did she know then what role college was to play in her future life.

She entered Sacred Heart Convent in 1942 and found out college was included in the formation program. After a few years teaching on the elementary and high school level she earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. She states her superior’s request for philosophy “had never occurred to her, but in retrospect, philosophy brought me into contact with a world of study that has made so much difference to my life.”

She then served at Mount Marty College, teaching philosophy and serving as dean of women, director of development and of financial aid, vice president of financial affairs, and a 17-year term as president. In 1989, she was appointed sub-prioress. It was a an exciting time as she became involved in future planning and development in the monastic way of life.

The February 1997 fire remains a memorable mark on her term as sub-prioress. S. Evangeline writes: “My Benedictine life has been 70 years of fulfillment in ways I never could have imagined or hoped for. To be a part of a loving community that has supported me, challenged me and given me countless opportunities for growth has been pure gift, for which I am extremely grateful.”

 Sister Marie Helene Werdel was the second of seven children having an older brother and five sisters. Her parents built their home on prairie lands east of Stephan, SD. It was there the family experienced the hardships of life during the depression, especially after the death of her father.

S. Marie Helene left the wide ranch lands of western South Dakota in response to what she felt was a call to be a Sister in 1942. After first profession as a Benedictine Sister on June 24, 1944, S. Marie Helene began what she expected to be a long teaching career. She taught in schools at Dimock, SD, Yankton, SD, Pueblo, CO, Albion, NE and Richardton, ND.

Her appointment as community procurator and business manager at Mount Marty College in 1957 led to 37 years of work, including director of maintenance at the college, director of plant operations, manager of the MMC Bookstore, and Buildings and Grounds supervisor. At the Monastery she served as sacristan for eight years. She currently helps in the Gift Shop and mail room, tutors, and enjoys keeping the birds, turkeys and squirrels from going hungry.

Of her Jubilee, S. Marie Helene says, “My years as a Benedictine have been wonderful. I am forever grateful for God’s blessing and generosity and for my community these many years. It has been more rewarding than I ever dreamed. I pray my life has been of help to others.”

We will conclude our National Catholic Sisters Week with one final Diamond...
Curious about more of our stories? Follow this link to our "Meet the Sisters" page. You can 'click' on different sisters names to find out more about their story, our vows, and living as a Benedictine Sister! Or follow the "Vocation" link at the top of our blog to request more information!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ Polished Diamonds

Greetings from our sisters celebrating 70 years of profession,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of our Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

 Sister Jane Frances was born in Farisita, CO, into a very religious family—three older half-sisters were vowed religious. Her faith was nurtured by her home parish in Gardner, CO. It was the influence of the Sisters who taught vacation school in Gardner that brought S. Jane Frances to Yankton in 1941.

After first profession in 1944 she was sent to work at Sacred Heart Hospital which paved the way for her mission in nursing, a profession she learned “on the job.” She was a founding member of the Watertown community in 1959. Her heart’s desire was to serve the poor and underprivileged Spanish and Mexican people, so S. Jane Frances volunteered as a missionary to Guatemala for two years. On her return, she continued her education and graduated with degrees leading to nursing registration. In June 1977 she transferred her stability back to Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton and resumed serving the Hispanic people in Colorado, including religious education and pastoral care in parishes, nursing homes, and jails.

Of special memory was the summer of 1995 when she was privileged to spend a month in Rome for a Benedictine Monastic experience. She writes, “Life as a Yankton Benedictine has been a tremendous fulfillment in my ministries as a health provider, serving the poor, the incarcerated, and preparing young people for confirmation and Holy Eucharist. How can I begin to thank God for the graces afforded me to carry out His Holy will.”

 Sister Yvonne came to Yankton from Lefor, ND, where her parents made their home after moving to this country from Hungary. She says that she was surrounded by Benedictine Sisters and monks all her life. The second oldest of eleven children, S. Yvonne was engaged in domestic work thinking at 18 years of age she was past the age for acceptance to a convent. She was set right when she became more informed and so became a postulant on December 8, 1942.

During her years as a Benedictine Sister S. Yvonne was engaged primarily in the Ecclesiastical Vestment Department and domestic work at the Bishop’s House in Sioux Falls and at the chaplain’s residence at the Monastery. S. Yvonne’s work with the aged began when assigned to St. Thomas More in Canon City, CO. in 1972. She received her degree in Social Work from Mount Marty College and her ministry with the aged continued on several mission assignments. She especially enjoyed her five years at Albion, NE where she was engaged in parish visiting and assisted with religious education.

Of her 70 years in Benedictine living, Sr. Yvonne says, “What I treasure most is the Sisters learning to live together, seeing how they do so much for one another. Monastic life just grows on a person when you see what is being done.”

Tomorrow we will introduce their shining classmates...
Curious about more of our stories? Follow this link to our "Meet the Sisters" page. You can 'click' on different sisters names to find out more about their story, our vows, and living as a Benedictine Sister! Or follow the "Vocation" link at the top of our blog to request more information!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ Another String of Diamonds

Greetings from our sisters celebrating 60 years of profession,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of our Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

 Sister Anna was raised with her siblings on a farm near Freeman, SD. Anna entered Sacred Heart Monastery after high school and looking back she says: “It was a calling from a stable and strong Catholic family farm life with a variety of prayer and work, and Christian education at Mount Marty High School. The Sisters were a huge influence, especially Sr. Jane Klimisch. I loved the Liturgy and angel voices in harmony.” 

During her years as a Benedictine Sister, S. Anna taught elementary education in parochial schools in Yankton, Sioux Falls, and Salem, SD; York and Omaha, NE; and Pueblo, CO. She states the nineteen years of teaching experience with all eight elementary grades, as well as duties of principal were rewarding times in her life, as supported by the love and care of the Sisters she lived with on mission.

In 1969 Sr. Anna was invited to assist in the training of religious education teachers. She received her MA in theology at the Theological Union in Berkeley, CA in 1973 and then implemented the parish family religious education programs in the Sioux Falls diocese. S. Anna writes: “My Benedictine community life could be summarized in Sirach 39:33: ‘All the works of God are good. Every need is fulfilled in due time.’ For I have been privileged to seek God in teaching elementary and junior high and serve as Director of Religious Education and Parish Ministry.

I can now assist in retreat work and the sharing our home and history through tours of our monastery. I am grateful for my parents, family and teachers who have been my mentors in blessing the ‘work of my hands.’” (Ps 90:17)

 Sister Cynthia Binder, with two sisters and two brothers, grew up in Yankton where their parents, made their home. Since she lived a mere six blocks from Sacred Heart Convent and attended Mount Marty High School and College, S. Cynthia’s faith and education were nurtured by the Benedictine Sisters she came to know and love. 

She entered the convent after graduation in 1952. S. Cynthia began teaching at the elementary level at the newly built Christ the King school in Sioux Falls. This proved to be short term for she was next assigned to the pursuit of higher education majoring in English, French and Spanish. She holds an MA in French from the University of South Dakota, and an MA in English from Georgetown University. Her studies in New York University’s French program included a year spent in Paris. While at Georgetown she taught reading one year in the Washington, D.C. public school system and volunteered to help illiterate prisoners at the prison in Lorton, Virginia.

Returning to Mount Marty College teaching, she joined the education program at the Yankton Federal Prison Camp. S. Cynthia’s foreign language classes prompted her to organize and lead college student tours to Europe annually since 1969. The European tours engendered her interest in foreign films and the teaching and interpretation of foreign movies and the History of Film. Since 2012, S. Cynthia has been Program Director for the Center for Active Learners that offers senior citizens in the area a short-term seminar on various subjects.

About her Jubilee, S. Cynthia writes: “After 60 years, I realize I have been blessed with the Benedictine vision of life. So many good and rich experiences have come to me because of my community and our Benedictine values. Deo Gratias .”

 Sister Dorothy Olinger was the seventh child in a family of nine children near Emery, SD. During her 60 years as a Yankton Benedictine Sister, S. Dorothy taught at the elementary level for 35 years in parish schools located in Sioux Falls, Chamberlain, and Webster, SD; and in Albion and Lincoln, NE; and Pueblo, CO. She also ministered at Goodwill Home for Children in Memphis, TN. for three summers, and was parish visitor at Christ the King, Sioux Falls before she moved back to the monastery in 2005. 

Sr. Dorothy writes: “At one time I did become aware of a yearning for a contemplative life. However, after 60 years of living, I can still say I feel the Lord was calling me to this place because I now realize we lead lives that are both apostolic and contemplative. I entered Sacred Heart Monastery after making two retreats at Mount Marty which lead me to talk with my pastor, the late Monsignor Meyer. He encouraged me to contact his sister at Yankton. So I wrote to Sr. Beata, who directed me to contact Mother Jerome and the rest is history.”

S. Dorothy is a traveler, having visited Europe and many places of historical interest before entrance to the monastery. Travel did not end with her entrance to religious life in 1952. She cherishes the fun trips with her group as they went on a Jubilee trip to Europe in 1979 and later took more adventurous trips to Benedictine Motherhouses in the United States and visited places of interest throughout the country including Canada. S. Dorothy states: “Being a Benedictine is being at home to me as together we seek God in our everyday lives. This is a reason to celebrate God’s love among us.”

 Sister Victorine Stoltz is the youngest of eight children. She grew up on a farm, attended St. Martin’s School and the local public high school. Seeing a notice about the shortage of teachers, she attended Notre Dame Junior College, in Mitchell, SD, for a first grade teaching certificate. This she did in a small rural school and thus began her long teaching career. 

She entered Sacred Heart Convent in August, 1952 and after profession as a Benedictine Sister, she taught in the parish schools of Yankton, Sioux Falls, Salem, SD; Lincoln, St. James, and St. Paul, NE; and Pueblo, CO. For sixteen of those years she also served as Principal.S. Victorine’s love of history and social studies was nurtured by many of the ancient churches and monasteries she visited in her European travels.

Her hunger for knowledge of past events and cultures served S. Victorine well in her position as monastery archivist when she retired from teaching in 1991. A favorite pastime she enjoyed was to study her family’s genealogy and Luxembourgh heritage. S. Victorine was also known for her love of walking and during her time in Lincoln, NE, several friends invited her to join them at a Volkswalks Convention in DC. She next participated in walks in DC, Maryland, Pennyslvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Several walks were in areas that had been the battlefields of the Civil War.

S. Victorine currently resides in the Monastery Care Center. She enjoys music and singing along to familiar tunes. She says her life as a Benedictine has been both fulfilling and challenging. God be praised!

Tomorrow our 70 year Diamonds will take the stage...

Curious about more of our stories? Follow this link to our "Meet the Sisters" page. You can 'click' on different sisters names to find out more about their story, our vows, and living as a Benedictine Sister! Or follow the "Vocation" link at the top of our blog to request more information!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ A String of Diamonds

Greetings from a string of Diamonds,

Each day oNational Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of our Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

 Sister Patricia was the seventh of nine children born on the family farm near Freeman, SD. She began her education in a rural one-room school house and after graduating from Mount Marty High School in 1952 she entered Sacred Heart Convent. 

As a professed Sister, S. Patricia began teaching in parish schools in South Dakota and Nebraska. After twenty years of teaching and pursing higher education, she received her MA in Pastoral Ministry from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX in the summer of 1976 and her MA in Elementary Administration from the University of Omaha in 1984. S. Patricia served as Pastoral Associate at St. Richard’s parish in Omaha for ten years and then became principal at St. Richard’s school. 

In 1992 she moved to Lincoln, NE where she taught at St. Patrick’s school, was principal at St. Mary’s and founding principal at North American Martyrs School which she helped to open in 1996. In her 59 years of teaching, she was principal for 39 years. In 1990 S. Patricia was named the outstanding Religious Educator in the Archdiocese of Omaha, and in 2012 she received the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award.

She retired from being principal in 2014 and moved back to the monastery. S. Patricia writes: “I love being a Benedictine Sister! The greatest gift God has given me in this life is my community. I love to share, I love to pray and I love to play and I love to laugh together! My Sisters bring me great joy! My 60 years have been a joy most of all because of what my Sisters have done for me.”

 Sister Rosemary grew up on a farm near Salem, SD. She feels it was her parents, their family life and St. Mary’s parish in Salem that influenced her vocation. She chose Sacred Heart Monastery because the Sisters ministered in a rural area which to her is familiar territory. She adds: “I suspect my great aunt, Sister Modesta, of beloved memory, had something to do with it because she prayed that some relative would take her place.”

Sister Rosemary’s 60 years of ministry has been in education; teaching in parish schools at Aberdeen, Dimock, Salem, SD and York, NE. She was principal at St. Lambert School in Sioux Falls, SD. Desiring to work more with adults, S. Rosemary moved into parish ministry, doing adult religious education, the RCIA, Bible studies as well as outreach to the home bound in Holy Name parish, Watertown, SD and St. Benedict parish, Yankton, SD. Always a bit inclined to the missionary field, she worked as pastoral minister at Standing Rock Reservation for 14 years.

A special memory S. Rosemary cherishes was in 1998 when she was privileged to visit Kajiato, Kenya at a mission that had been supported by her family. Four years later she returned to Africa to teach English to African Sisters in Mtwara, Tanzania.

Looking back, S. Rosemary comments: “Living the Benedictine Life has been most fulfilling. Upon entering Sacred Heart Monastery, I felt right at home. Living the community life and sharing the prayer of the Divine Office gives great peace. It is with a very grateful heart that I look back on my years as a Benedictine Sister of Sacred Heart Monastery.”

 Sister Valerie is the youngest of four in her family and was born and raised in Watertown, SD. After graduating from Mount Marty High School, S. Valerie decided to enter Sacred Heart Convent because of the liturgy and the witness of the Sisters.

Her religious and professional life involved teaching in the parish schools in Yankton, Tabor, Sioux Falls, Chamberlain and Watertown, SD; Glen Ullen, ND, and in Lincoln and Hartington, NE. In 1966, after preparations at a Spanish language school in Mexico City, S. Valerie was one of five Sisters sent on mission to San Pedro Carcha, Guatemala, where she taught for five years. Returning to the states, she studied for her MAT in teaching Spanish at Purdue University in Lafayette, La.; MA in Administration/Education at the University of Nebraska and an MA in Religious Education at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX.

In 1999 S. Valerie moved to Watertown for six years. She did substitute teaching the first year and then taught in the Catholic school full time and for two years taught classes at the Mount Marty College satellite campus. In 2005, S. Valerie moved to Parkston where she did pastoral care at St. Benedict’s Hospital before retiring to the monastery in 2013. She now assists with chaplaincy duties in the Care Center and is involved in ministry with the Mexican/Spanish speaking people in the Yankton area.

About her Jubilee S. Valerie says: “By the grace of God I was blessed to teach every grade from three year olds to college students. They were all my favorites! The life of living in a Benedictine community is rich and rewarding.”

Tomorrow classmates to these diamonds will share their stories...
Curious about more of our stories? Follow this link to our "Meet the Sisters" page. You can 'click' on different sisters names to find out more about their story, our vows, and living as a Benedictine Sister! Or follow the "Vocation" link at the top of our blog to request more information!

Monday, March 9, 2015

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ Golden Jubilarians


Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of one of our new members or Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

Sister Jeanne  grew up on a farm near Tyndall, SD, second in a family of  four children.  After graduating from Tyndall High School,  S. Jeanne attended Mount Marty College. graduating in 1962 with a BA in Social Science.  She says attending Mount Marty opened for her worlds academically and spiritually. That fall she entered Sacred Heart Convent.  
After first profession, S. Jeanne taught at Mount Marty High School until its closure in 1969.   This was followed by graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame where she earned a Masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.  S. Jeanne’s ministries have included teaching at the college and graduate levels, counseling, serving as consultant and facilitator for numerous religious communities and leadership roles in the American Benedictine Academy, Association of Benedictine Retreat Centers and Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.  
Since 1990, S. Jeanne has been engaged in full-time retreat ministry and continues to serve as Director of the ecumenical Spiritual Direction Ministry Formation Program.  In 2000, S. Jeanne earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spiritual Direction through the Graduate Theological Foundation including a summer attending Oxford University in England.  S. Jeanne continues as Director of the Benedictine Peace Center established in 2001 with the completion of a new wing of the monastery.  
S. Jeanne writes:  “Fifty years have passed quickly, filled with experiences and opportunities I hadn’t dreamed would be mine.  Whatever the years before me hold, my hope is that I will be ever more attentive and responsive to the profound and amazing gift of God’s loving Presence among us.  I am deeply grateful to my family, my sisters and all those whom I have been privileged to serve in a variety of ministries.  With a long way to go yet, my hope is to attain what St. Benedict promises to a disciple after  long years of fidelity in our monastic way of life, that is:  “to run with heart enlarged on the way of God’s commandments.”
Sister Mildred Busch was born in Luverne, MN.  She joined three brothers and three sisters growing up on a farm northwest of Luverne.  St. Rose of Lima parish in Garretson, SD was an anchor in her family’s faith life as her father became the first layman to lector and serve as communion minister in their church following the reforms of Vatican II.  

S. Mildred graduated from Garretson High School in 1961.  She attended Mount Marty College for one year before she entered Sacred Heart Convent in 1962.  In 1967 she received her BA in history from Mount Marty and MA in education from the University of Nebraska in 1981.  For 33 years S. Mildred taught in elementary and high school levels in parish schools of Tabor and Yankton, SD; and Cedar Catholic High, Hartington and Cathedral of Risen Christ, Lincoln, NE.   She was principal for 20 of those years and she states her years in education have brought great joy and satisfaction for the privilege of being involved in the lives of hundreds of children and young people.    

Throughout her years in religious life, S. Mildred was involved in community administrative areas, serving terms on the Council and numerous committee and task forces.   In 1999 she entered a new phase of ministry by serving on the task force for co-sponsorship of our Benedictine health system with the Aberdeen Presentation Sisters health system now known as Avera.   She continued to serve the health system as a member of several Avera  Hospitals Board of Directors and has been a System Member Chair for Avera Health.   In 2005 S. Mildred was appointed Community Procurator.  She loved these years of serving the community very directly, adding that “the learning curve was huge, but the challenge was enjoyable.”   

Currently S. Mildred is Pastoral Administrative Assistant at St. Michael’s Parish in Lincoln, NE.  Her newest venture has been writing and sharing Guided Visualizations on Gospel passages, stories and events.   In closing S. Mildred  says,  “On my Jubilee, I celebrate with everlasting gratitude my call to the Monastery and thank God for His faithfulness.”

Blessings and return tomorrow for a string of Diamonds...

Curious about more of our stories? Follow this link to our "Meet the Sisters" page. You can 'click' on different sisters names to find out more about their story, our vows, and living as a Benedictine Sister! Or follow the "Vocation" link at the top of our blog to request more information! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

An Invitation to our Open House!


Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, 
for He is going to say, 
"I came as a guest, and you received Me" (Matt. 25:35).
And to all let due honor be shown,
especially to the domestics of the faith and to pilgrims.

(Rule of Benedict 53: 1-2)

Saint Benedict would rejoice in Pope Francis' call for women and men in religious orders to throw open their doors for an open house. Following the spirit of Benedict we invite you to join us for an afternoon of fellowship and prayer in our monastic home.

Our open house celebrating our Benedictine life will be held on Sunday, March 15th beginning at 2 PM with...

  • Tours of our monastic chapel and dinning room
  • Tours of the historic Marty house, home of Bishop Martin Marty
  • Reception with the sisters in our chapter room: monastery-made cookies, visiting, and a power point telling our story in pictures

Our open house will close at 4 PM with Vespers (evening prayer) in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel.

Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter "To All Consecrated People" encourages this sharing of our call to life within the Church: past, present, and future.

We invite you to our open house "to look to the past with gratitude"!
"Recounting our history is essential for preserving our identity, for strengthening our unity as a family and our common sense of calls for following in the footsteps of past generations in order to grasp the high ideals, and the vision and values which inspired them, beginning with the founders and foundresses and the first communities." 

We invite you to our open house "to live the present with passion"!
"So, be men and women of communion! Have the courage to be present in the midst of conflict and tension, as a credible sign of the presence of the Spirit who inspires in human hearts a passion for all to be one."

We invite you to our open house "to embrace the future with hope"!
"This hope is not based on statistics or accomplishments, but on the One in whom we have put our trust, the One for whom "nothing is impossible". This is the hope which does not disappoint; it is the hope which enables consecrated life to keep writing its great history well into the future. It is to that future that we must always look, conscious that the Holy Spirit spurs us on so that he can still do great things with us."

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ New Beginnings


Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of one of our new members or Jubilarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!

Postulant Theresa was received into Sacred Heart Monastery as a Postulant in a simple ritual on August 2nd, 2014.  After Theresa symbolically knocked on the front door of the Monastery, the Prioress, S. Penny, asked, “What do you seek?” to which Theresa responded, “I want to live in love and service of God with the help of this community.”  The monastic community affirmed her request and S. Penny presented her with a medal of St. Benedict.  The celebration continued at Vespers and supper.

Postulant Theresa was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, the third of eight children of the late Francis and Patricia. She attended twelve years of Catholic schools before enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania for a BA in American Civilization and an MS in Secondary Education. After four years of teaching in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she went to work as a computer operator in an insurance company before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as an employee. 
While working at University of Pennsylvania, Theresa began an MA course of study in Sacred Scripture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA.   After graduating in 1997 she began teaching Bible Study in the Diocese of Camden (NJ).  In 2001 she began studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, pursuing a doctorate in Biblical Studies, with a concentration on the Old Testament prophets. 
Little did Theresa know when she came to Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD in 2012 for a job interview that this might be more than a faculty position. While serving as Assistant Professor of Theology at Mount Marty, she began studying the life of the Benedictine Sisters next door to the college campus, leading to her decision to join the Monastery.   She has taken a unique path to the monastery from MMC, as she is the first to enter the community as a professor from the college, rather than as a graduate.  As a postulant, Theresa will the live the life of the community,  meet regularly for guidance in the monastic way of life, take classes on transitions, Liturgy, and music lessons in addition to her professional work at the college.

At Sunday Vespers on August 3rd in the presence of S. Penny, prioress, and the  Benedictine Sisters,  S. Peggy made her first profession  to live a life of obedience, stability and conversion of life according to the Rule of St. Benedict.  Commenting on her profession  S. Peggy reflected:  “Making first profession means saying ‘Yes’  to God’s call, living out Jesus’ Gospel message,  and letting the Spirit guide me.   Life is a journey, a daily call to grow closer to God.    I feel being called to live the Benedictine monastic way of life is to trust and follow God’s plan for my  life.  I am very blessed to have the love and support of my community Sisters, family and friends”.
S. Peggy  is from Norfolk, NE,  the oldest of nine children born to Lyle and Denise and was raised on the family farm southwest of Pierce, NE.     She graduated from Mount Marty College in 2005 with a degree in nursing.  Sr. Peggy worked at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk for seven years and in August, 2012 followed her desire to be a Benedictine Sister by entering Sacred Heart Monastery .    Her family joined the Sisters in the joyful celebration of her profession.   A reception was held in the monastery Chapter room after the ceremony.
Blessings and come back tomorrow for Golden Stories...