St. Benedict’s Monastery in Taiwan is Home to many Cultures.

I am on my way to Japan to be with the Sisters in Muroran for their election of Prioress, I thought I would stop in Taiwan and visit the Sisters. They have quite a full house these days.

I met for the first time in person the newest member of the Benedictine house that is forming in China. I had experienced Sister Scholastica on Skype when last here in 2015 for their election and found she is even more charming in person. Sister Scholastica professed first vows in June, 2016 for two years. She is now visiting at the Motherhouse in Taiwan and experiencing an open and free experience of community living. She will return to China to rejoin Sister Austin her director and Sister Maria also a junior sister.

I met with Sister Scholastica and Taiwanese Novice Misericordia and we had a discussion about our unique Benedictine vows. It was a challenge in two languages with Novice Misericordia interpreting, but still it was profound and engaging. Novice Misericordia will profess first vows for two years on May 28, 2017.

The Sisters at St. Benedict Monastery in Taiwan have been in communication with students in Vietnam and over the last few years. Five women have joined them to experience monastic life. They are studying Chinese, which they tell me is similar to the Vietnamese language. They live, work and pray with the Sisters to see if they would like to become aspirants to this community, that which precedes postulancy.

 

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Sister Scholastica (l.) and Novice Misericordia (r.)  (Photo by S. Kerry O’Reilly)

It is delightful to see the Sisters again, though I miss seeing Sister Luca. Taiwan is at the end of the rainy season, sunny one day and raining the next, in preparation for a lush and green summer.

 

Sister Kerry O’Reilly

Federation President

 

Spring in Taiwan

Sister Scholastica and Novice Misericordia

I was passing by on my way to Japan, so thought I would drop in to visit the Sisters in Taiwan. A junior Sister from their China mission is visiting the Motherhouse as a Taiwanese novice prepares for first vows. In the picture, Sister Scholastica from China is on the left and Novice Misercordia on the right. Living at the monastery are five Vietnamese women who are looking at monastic life. It is a busy place.

Sister Kerry O’Reilly.

Prioresses gathered in Tucson for annual meeting

The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses are meeting at the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Tucson, AZ.  At their business meeting, the conference approved a structural change.  A chairperson will oversee the conference and have a four member committee that will work with her.  Members elected Sister Jennifer Mechtild Horner of Our Lady of Grace Monastery (Beech Grove, IN) as the chairperson.  Committee members will be elected on Saturday, February 4.

Prioresses from the Federation of Saint Benedict in attendance include:  Nicole Kunze, Annunciation Monastery; Annie Thompson, St. Martin’s Monastery; Sandra Brunenn, St. Mary Monastery; Michaela Hedican, St. Benedict’s Monastery, MN; Beverly Raway, St. Scholastica Monastery; and Paula Hagen, St. Paul Monastery.  Kerry O’Reilly, President of the Federation of Saint Benedict, was also in attendance.

S. Michaela Hedican honored by OSV

sistermichaela
Sister Michaela Hedican of St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, MN

Sister Michaela Hedican, Prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, MN and former President of the Federation of St. Benedict, was honored by Our Sunday Visitor.  She was named one of the outstanding Catholics of the Year 2016 for her response, along with St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler, for rapid and compassionate response to the ISIS-related stabbing in Crossroads Mall and on-going work to strengthen Muslim-Christian relationships in the region.

Our Sunday Visitor chose a number of well- and less-known figures, honoring them for their special qualities of leadership.

Congratulations, Sister Michaela!

St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth Helps to Build a School in Tanzania

school

The Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery have been forwarding money from generous donors to Sister Gaudensia Mwanyika of St. Gertrude Convent in Imiliwaha, Tanzania, to help build her dream of a school for handicapped children.

The  latest donations will pay for furniture and teaching supplies so that the school can open on time — January 16, 2017.  

In Tanzania, handicapped children are not allowed to attend school. This will be the first school built for these children who have physical or learning challenges.

 

 

 

From Nassau Bahamas, November 2016: Sister Annie Thompson receives National Honor

The National Sports Hall of Fame is one of the avenues commissioned by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture to demonstrate the nation’s appreciation for the past contributions made by athletes to the development of sport in our country.

“During Annie’s days at St. Francis grade school, she learned and got to love the game of basketball and also participated in track and field. It was here that her undying love for sports was developed…”  She joined the convent of Benedictine Sisters in Minnesota. “On returning to the Bahamas, Sister Annie’s zeal for the world of sports continued.  As Principal of St. Bede’s Primary school, Kemp Road, Sister Annie spent many hours preparing the students for track and field events and how to play the game of basketball.  She was instrumental in obtaining the basketball court on the grounds of St. Bede’s school.”

“Sister Annie Thompson excelled as an athlete but the Benedictine sister’s most noteworthy achievement was the development of basketball at the youth level. She was integral in the formation of the Catholic Primary School Basketball League, which continues to be the premier outlet for youth basketball.”

Annunciation Monastery Year of Mercy Project

On November 19, 2016, the sisters of Annunciation Monastery gathered to wrap gifts and pack bags to be sent to two orphanages and a special needs home for teens and adults in Piedras Negras, Mexico.  Sisters Hannah Vanorny and Idelle Badt and others from the Benedictine Volunteers program participated in an immersion mission trip this past May.  They worked with Sister Ursula, a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Boerne, TX, who resides in Eagle Pass, TX.  There was quite a buzz of activity in the community room as sisters sorted, wrapped, and packed gifts while others wrote notes in Spanish for the children and adults receiving the gifts.  The project concluded the sisters’ ongoing formation study of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.  

Sister Stephanie, Sister Rita, and Sister Nicole

Sister Stephanie, Sister Rita, and Affiliate Krista

Basilica of St Benedict destroyed in new Norcia earthquake

Norcia, Italy was shaken by another large earthquake today, magnitude 6.6.  The monks of Norcia are safe, but the Basilica has been utterly destroyed.  They ask for our prayers, not only for them but for the people of the area. While suffering alongside them, the monks are also trying to pray and minister to them.

News footage shows drone views of Amatrice and Norcia. As the image below shows, the Cathedral and Basilica in Norcia have been destroyed.

Town plaza in Norcia, October 30, 2016
Town plaza in Norcia, October 30, 2016

Reports of this third quake (the previous just 2 days before) in the area in just two months indicate just how difficult this is for the people of central Italy as well as the monks:

Norcia’s 14th-century Basilica of Saint Benedict, built on the reputed birthplace of the Catholic saint, was reduced to rubble.

The church is looked after by an international community of Benedictine monks based in a local monastery which attracts some 50,000 pilgrims every year.

“It was like a bomb went off,” the town’s deputy mayor, Pierluigi Altavilla told Rai News 24.

“We are starting to despair. There are too many quakes now, we can’t bear it anymore.”

Damage was also reported at St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, one of the four cathedrals of the Holy See.  It is also home to and maintained by a community of Benedictines.

Images from a pilgrimage to Norcia with a group of Benedictine Sisters in 2010

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Annunciation Monastery update

The Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND, met on Saturday, October 22, 2016, to discuss and approve their four year plan.  Work on the plan began in August 2015 and was helpful as they discerned and elected a prioress in April 2016.  The five main areas of the plan are community life, leadership, membership, ministries, and sponsorship.  

The sisters are pictured in the community room of the monastery.  

St. Scholastica in Duluth Welcomes a New College President

On Friday, October 14, the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth Minnesota, attended the inauguration of Colette McCarrick Geary, Ph.D. as the 12th president of The College of St. Scholastica. The inaugural Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend Paul Sirba, Bishop of the Duluth Diocese; the Right Reverend John Klassen, OSB, Abbot of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville; and priests of the Duluth Diocese.

Sister Mary Josephine Torborg
Sister Mary Josephine Torborg read the first Scripture reading at the Eucharist.

 

Sisters at the Inauguration
Many Sisters came to witness the Inauguration.

 

Sister Kathleen Del Monte
Sister Kathleen Del Monte, Associate Vice President of Mission Integration, offered the Invocation.

 

Sister Beverly Raway, Prioress
Sr. Beverly Raway, Prioress, greeted Dr. Geary on behalf of the Sisters.

 

Colette McCarrick Geary
Here is Doctor Colette McGarrick Geary, 12th president of The College of St. Scholastica