Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Diocesan Nun-Run!


Tomorrow, Father Shaun Haggerty, Diocesan Vocation Director, will begin a unique road trip; a nun-run highlighting all the different religious orders across East River South Dakota! Our own Sister Barbara will be joining Fr. Shaun and these young women as they travel across the state while growing in relationship with God and fellowship with other women who are desiring to know more about religious life.

Please pray that God's wisdom guide and enrich these young women as they discern their vocation while visiting the following Sisters:

Sisters of Perpetual Adoration @ the Cathedral in Sioux Falls
Discalced Carmelite Nuns @ Alexandria
Sleep over at Benedictine Monastery
Oblate Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament @ Marty
Franciscan Sisters @ Mitchell
Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary @ Aberdeen
Sleep over at the Presentation Convent
Daughters of St. Mary of Providence @ Milbank
Benedictine Sisters @ Watertown

Sunday, April 26, 2015

World Vocation Day of Prayer ~ An Unexpected Vocation


Every sister's call to follow Christ to our community is unique. Some sisters felt their religious call from a young age while others were surprised by God after college or career. In honor of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we are sharing Sister Ann's vocation story.

My story is probably unique in that I joined the Benedictines to prove that I didn't have a vocation,  that God wasn't calling me, and that I would leave the community as soon as God and they were satisfied that I wasn't cut out to be a nun.
At the time I was sure that convent life was not for me.  It seems, however, that God had other plans.   Some of my former teachers, especially Sister Celestine Comeau, who taught me in fourth, fifth, and seventh grades,  kept counseling me even after I had graduated from eight years of elementary school where all my eight teachers were Yankton Benedictine nuns—insisting that she saw the nun in me.
She shared that feeling with  Mother Jerome Schmitt who, when she visited the Sisters teaching in Aberdeen,  would then call me to visit briefly with her while I was in high school—always encouraging me to consider life as a Benedictine.  She had been told, it seems, that I was also very interested in going to college to qualify for teacher certificate.
We talked, and I kept postponing a decision.  When I graduated in 1945 and had been offered a scholarship to a Minnesota Catholic college, I knew I had to try out life there, even if briefly—just to prove to others and myself that I didn't belong.   That was seventy years ago, and I’m still here.  God and they knew better I guess.  I know today that the choice was the right one for me.  I have no regrets that I made the choice to remain.
The community and the daily prayer and Mass schedule plus I did get that college and even higher education and spent forty-eight years teaching—the last forty at our college here.  I can’t picture my life being so fulfilling elsewhere. 
Sister Ann's unique story continued to draw her closer to Christ and our Benedictine traditions throughout her ministry as a teacher and professor of Church history and author of Benedictine history. Her perseverance in seeking God's call has been a blessing to us all.
Blessings to all as you discern God's call in your life...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

World Day of Prayer for Vocations


As the Universal Church celebrates a day of prayer for vocations, we invite you to reflect on the first part of Saint Benedict's instructions on "The Manner of Receiving Sisters"...

When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
let her not be granted an easy entrance;
but, as the Apostle says,
"Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
and if it is seen after four or five days
that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
and the difficulty of admission,
and that she persists in her petition,
then let entrance be granted her,
and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.

After that let her live in the novitiate,
where the novices study, eat and sleep.
A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
to watch over them with the utmost care.
Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
and whether she is zealous
for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
by which the journey to God is made.

If she promises stability and perseverance,
then at the end of two months
let this rule be read through to her,
and let her be addressed thus:
"Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
If you can observe it, enter;
if you cannot, you are free to depart."
If she still stands firm,
let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
and again tested in all patience.
And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
that she may know on what she is entering.
And if she still remains firm,
after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.

Then, having deliberated with herself,
if she promises to keep it in its entirety
and to observe everything that is commanded,
let her be received into the community.
But let her understand that,
according to the law of the Rule,
from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
which she was free to refuse or to accept
during that prolonged deliberation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day

Apple trees beginning to bud
on Easter 

Earth Day reminds us to be more aware of God's gifts in creation and how we are each called to care for this gift with reverence. 
Pope Francis has appealed to mankind not manipulate or exploit the planet.

Spring blossoms beginning
to brighten the Easter day.
Speaking at the end of the weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square the Pope noted that on April 22 we celebrate Earth Day.

“I exhort everyone to see the world through the eyes of God the Creator: the earth is an environment to be safeguarded, a garden to be cultivated” he said.

Francis continued: “The relationship of mankind with nature must not be conducted with greed, manipulation and exploitation, but it must conserve the divine harmony that exists between creatures and Creation within the logic of respect and care, so it can be put to the service of our brothers, also of future generations”.  Vatican Radio 22 April 2015
Lilacs preparing to bloom.
A view into the evergreen canopy,
complete with a chatty squirrel.
The Rule of Benedict has no specific chapter on the earth.  However, chapter 31 "What Kind of Monk the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be" indicates how all the monastics are to care for not only the goods, but also the land of the monastery; "Let him regard all the utensils of the monastery and its whole property as if they were the sacred vessels of the altar. Let him not think that he may neglect anything. He should be neither a miser nor a prodigal and squanderer of the monastery's substance, but should do all things with measure and in accordance with the Abbot's instructions."  

Chapter 32 on the Tools and Property of the Monastery reminds us that "If anyone treats the monastery's property in a slovenly or careless way, let her be corrected. If she fails to amend, let her undergo the discipline of the Rule." Over and over the care of command to care for the monastery's physical goods and property is understood as an extension of our care for the monastery's sacred goods used in liturgy; both are a gift from God. Finally, all throughout Benedict's Rule is a call to moderation in all things. This carries over to our demands of the earth in our development of gardens to share in the flowers and fruits of the earth.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Residential Volunteer Program


The Purpose of our Volunteer Program is to
Provide single women with the opportunity to enhance their lives by sharing in the life, prayer and ministries of our Monastery.

Ministry Opportunities
Work/ministry assignments are based on the volunteer’s experience, interests, talents, and the needs of the Monastery.  A variety of opportunities are available in areas such as: office work, computer work, reception desk, liturgical ministries, various household tasks, gardening, nursing care, cooking, baking, and more.

Sacred Heart Monastery is situated on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.  The monastery grounds feature a wealth of flower gardens, a small vineyard, an apple orchard, the monastery vegetable garden, contemplative walking paths, the monastery cemetery, virgin woods, along with spectacular views of the river. A biking/walking path connects the Monastery campus to the Lewis and Clark Resort and Recreation Area that features hiking/biking paths, camping grounds, fishing, swimming, sandy beaches and more. 

Come and explore our incredible setting as a Resident Volunteer!

Are You a Woman Who
·       Is looking for a meaningful work experience that enriches others?
·       Is between jobs and not certain what the future holds?
·       Is pursuing your education but in need of a break from the books in order to re-focus and re-direct your education?
·       Is finished with school (for now) but not professionally committed?
·       Would like some time and a place to do some serious reflection on your life?  
·       Is a professional who would like to share your talents and experiences in a monastic setting?
·       Would welcome some in a monastic setting in order to deepen your spirituality?
·       Is at a crossroad in life and would like some time for discernment?
·       Desires to experience the rhythm of life in a monastic community?
·       Has thought about religious life and would like to live with our Community for a period of time?

If so, maybe we can help you

Our Community welcomes women who would like to enrich their lives by living and working with us as volunteers.

A Volunteer
·        Is someone who wants to serve others and enjoys the mutual enrichment of a religious monastic community,
  •  Is 21 years of age or older (or at least a junior in college) without dependents,
  • Has a desire to experience Benedictine monastic life,
  • Is in good physical health,
  • Will be responsible for personal expenses (room and board are provided),
    • Will provide for own financial, medical and personal needs,
  • Has a willingness to commit to a specific period of time (one month to several months to a year or longer).  Commitments are renewed annually.
  • Will work around 30 hours a week (4-6 hours/day), and
  • Will provide the information requested on the application.

Volunteer Benefits

  • Participation in daily Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours.
  • Opportunities for spiritual growth (e.g., days of prayer and recollection, spiritual direction if desired, and time for personal prayer).
  • Opportunities to attend music, theatre, sporting events, and lectures at the Monastery and at Mount Marty College.
  • Private rooms in an area reserved for Resident Volunteers.
  • Share meals with the Sisters in the Monastery refectory (dining room).
  • Enjoy interaction and leisure activities with the other Volunteers and the Sisters.
  • Experience nature. We have great outdoors to explore.
We invite you to become part of our Resident Volunteer Program, a committed group of women working to preserve the natural and spiritual environment that makes Sacred Heart Monastery special.

For more information,
contact us through Sr. Bonita: 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Benedictine Oblates: living the Benedictine life wherever you are called


Last evening we celebrated the oblation (promises to live the Gospel life while following the Rule of Benedict) of several of our Benedictine Oblates.

Sisters Bonita and Joelle listen
as Sister Penny, Prioress, addresses the oblates.

Benedictine Oblates are Christian people who associate themselves with a Benedictine community in order to enrich their Christian way of life. Oblates shape their lives by living the wisdom of Christ as interpreted by St. Benedict.  They seek God by striving to follow His Will in their chosen profession and way of life.  In this way, they continue to manifest God's presence in society by integrating their prayer, ministry, and work of all kinds.

Sisters Bonita, Eileen, Joelle, and Penny, Prioress,
witness the oblates promises.

Our oblates come to us from a variety of places.  While the main program is through the monastery in Yankton with both adult and college programs available, our oblates also gather in Sioux Falls; Lincoln, Steinauer, Hastings, and Omaha, NE; and even online for those too far away from a Benedictine community in their own area!

The oblates gather regularly to read and reflect on the Rule of Benedict, discuss their faith life, and share in Lectio Divina and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Curious about becoming an oblate?  Follow the imbeded links throughout the story for more information about the way of life for a Benedictine Oblate!

Congratulations to all our oblates!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sister Judith

To Paradise now may the angels bring you,
and may the martyrs now come to meet you on your way,
and may you be led into the holy city Jerusalem.
All the choirs of angels make you welcome there,
and with Lazarus once so ill and poor,
may peaceful joy be now forever yours.
~In Paradisum

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

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sister Corinne

To Paradise now may the angels bring you,
and may the martyrs now come to meet you on your way,
and may you be led into the holy city Jerusalem.
All the choirs of angels make you welcome there,
and with Lazarus once so ill and poor,
may peaceful joy be now forever yours.
~In Paradisum

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Easter Teaching from the Rule of Benedict


Saint Benedict sets a whole chapter of his Rule aside for a teaching on "Alleluia".  This Easter is the perfect time to reflect on his attention to liturgical detail...

From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption let "Alleluia" be said both in the Psalms and in the responsories. From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent let it be said every night with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only. On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent, the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None shall be said with "Alleluia," but Vespers with antiphons. The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia" except from Easter to Pentecost (RB 39).

"I arose and am still with you,
I love the Lord who has heard me,
who has rescued me from death,
I arose and am still with you,
Kind and faithful is our God;
I will live and walk with the Lord,
I arose and am still with you,

~Easter Lauds Responsory

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A New Chattering


Our Holy Week solemnity was broken with the cheerful peeping of a chattering of newly hatched chicks! For three weeks, Sister Margo (chicken whisperer) and Sister Virginia (chicken wrangler) carefully watched over the incubator of eggs waiting for the chicks' grand entrance.

 Soon, they were gathering up the clutch of 18 little Rhode Island Reds into a large water-tank converted into an 'indoor coop'. The lively little Reds are quite busy eating, sleeping, and chasing both each other as well as their reflections.

The chicks have also been receiving some special attention. The indoor-coop is currently placed in the activity room for our care center, and our elders often stop to smile at their antics and visit with them. A few have even been overheared sweetly singing to calm them. After Easter lunch, another clutch of younger community members was seen enjoying the chattering while doing alittle chatting of their own.

As soon as the chicks have feathered-out, the brood will be moved out to the garden into the coop with a 'run' that can be moved to fresh grass each day. 

Sister Virginia was preparing the coop this winter, cleaning out all the old straw, when she realized there were no feathers in the mix. It seemed odd to her until she disturbed two very industrious little mice! They had built cozy soft nests of all the feathers! While the chickens were away, the mice did play!

There as been some curiosity of our previous brood of hens.  After a summer of sunshine, grass, and fresh veggies (and bugs) from the garden. The chickens had laid over 46 dozen eggs.  Two surprised the sisters with double yolks!  These garden-fresh eggs were enjoyed by our sisters in the care center.  The hens (and one rooster) themselves provided approximately 63 pounds of home grown chicken best used in homemade chicken soup.

"We think it sufficient for the daily dinner, whether at the sixth or the ninth hour, that every table have two cooked dishes on account of individual infirmities,so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one may make his meal of the other Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren; and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available, let a third dish be added...Young boys shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders, but less; and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances. Except the sick who are very weak, let all abstain entirely from eating the flesh of four-footed animals" (Rule of Benedict Chapter 39).


Sunday, April 5, 2015

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sr. Andree

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

Easter Joy!

"I arose and am still with you, alleluia!
I love the Lord who has heard me, alleluia, 
who has rescued me from death, alleluia!
I arose and am still with you, alleluia!
Kind and faithful is our God; alleluia. 
I will live and walk with the Lord, alleluia!
I arose and am still with you, alleluia!"

~Easter Lauds Responsory

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wisdom of the Ages: learning from our eldery


The April issue of the Sioux Falls Diocese's "Bishop's Bulletin" published a wonderful article "Wisdom of the Ages: learning from our elderly" (pages 6-11). Our Sister Marcine was blessed to share her experience of our Benedictine charism to honor our elders. She even made the cover!

Easter Vigil

On Holy Saturday morning, the Cantor Sisters continued to chant the reading from  Lamentations...

"Remember my affliction; my soul is bereft of peace. My soul continually thinks of it, and is bowed down within me. But this I keep in memory, and therefore I have hope.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies still continue. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore, I will hope in Him." The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait in silence for the salvation of the Lord."
(3: 19-26)

"Very soon now, I shall be with you again: I am the Alpha and Omega; the first, the last; the beginning and the end." ~ Holy Saturday Vespers Antiphon

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

On Good Friday morning, the Cantor Sisters chant the readings from the Lamentations...

"Enemies have stretched out their hands over all her precious things; she has even seen the nations invade her sanctuary, those whom you forbade to enter your congregation.

All her people groan as they search for bread; they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength. Look, O Lord, and see how worthless I have become.

Is it nothing to you, all who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought on me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger."
(1: 10-12)

"Deep within us, shared among us, may we ever keep the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. Deep within us, shared among us, may we ever keep the mind and heart of Jesus Christ." ~ Passion Antiphon

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Thursday


"Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found; brought here together by Christ's love by love are we thus bound." 

"But it behooves us to glory in the Cross, to glory, glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection: by whom we are saved and delivered."