The president and the prioresses of seven member monasteries of the Monastic Congregation of St. Benedict (MCSB) attended the gathering of the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses (CBP) at Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL, February 1-8. They joined prioresses and presidents of the Monastic Congregation of St. Scholastica and the Federation of St. Gertrude as well as the prioress general of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and prioresses of several women’s monasteries that are not affiliated with a federation or congregation.
Along with Sister Nancy Bauer, president of MCSB, the following prioresses attended: Sister Susan Rudolph, Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, MN; Sister Beverly Raway, St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN; Sister Catherine Nehotte, St. Paul’s Monastery, St. Paul, MN; Sister Angela Hoffman, St. Placid Priory, Lacey, WA; Sister Nicole Kunze, Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND; Sister Susan Hutchens, St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL; and Sister Marva Coakley, St. Martin Monastery, Nassau, Bahamas.
During the meeting Sister Nicole Kunze was elected chair of CBP for a three-year term and Sister Susan Rudolph completed her term as a member of the Core Planning Committee.
Along with business items, participants met in small groups to talk about matters of interest in Benedictine monasticism today, such as autonomy of monasteries, collaboration among monasteries, and the current phenomenon of monasteries coming to completion.
The CBP session included two days of a joint meeting with abbots of the men’s Benedictine monasteries and presidents of their congregations. Presentations at the joint meeting focused on care of the sick within our monasteries. Brother John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, a monk of St. Meinrad Archabbey, addressed mental health concerns and a team of caregivers from Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, KS, talked about the various forms of dementia and care of the dying. The team included Sister Esther Fangman, prioress, Renee Porter and Stacey Davis.
Sister Nancy jotted down comments made by prioresses during the CBP meeting. Following are some samples.
“We have just moved into our new monastery.”
“We moved into our new monastery four years ago. We have replaced our dishwasher four times.”
“We need a bookkeeper.”
“We need a secretary.”
“The youngest in our community is 75.”
“We decided we will give temporary housing to Ukrainian refugees.”
“Oblates give us energy.”
“In 2020, we made the decision that we didn’t know what our future is, but whatever it is, we’re going to do it together.”
Sister Angela Hoffmann (Saint Placid Priory), Sister Nicole Kunze (Annunciation Monastery), Sister Sister Rudoph (St. Benedict’s Monastery, MN) Sister Beverly Raway (Saint Scholastica Monastery, MN), Sister Marva Coakley (Saint Martin Monastery), Sister Susan Hutchens (Saint Mary Monastery), and Sister Catherine Nehotte (St. Paul’s Monastery)
Sister Marva Coakley, prioress of St. Martin Monastery, Nassau, Bahamas, Sister Susan Hutchens, prioress of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL, and Sister Beverly Raway, prioress of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN, participate in conversation at a session of the CBP.
Sister Susan Rudolph, prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, MN, and Sister Rosann Ocken, prioress of Norfolk Priory of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Nebraska, exchange candlelight for the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation.
Sister Catherine Nehotte, prioress of St. Paul’s Monastery in Minnesota, provided back and neck massages during the CBP meeting. Here she provides a massage to Sister Joanna Burley, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, Bristow, VA.
Sister Angela Hoffman (left), prioress of St. Placid Priory, Lacey, Washington, and Sister Marva Coakley (back right), prioress of St. Martin Monastery, Nassau, Bahamas, with prioresses from other congregations.
Presidents of the men’s and women’s Benedictine congregations at St. Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama
A presidential selfie at Larkwood Falls in Cullman, Alabama. Presidents of the Benedictine women’s congregations, from left to right: Sister Jeanne Weber, president of the Federation of St. Gertrude; Sister Dawn Annette Mills, prioress general of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, MO; Sister Nancy Bauer, president of the Monastic Congregation of St. Benedict; and Sister Lynn McKenzie, president of the Monastic Congregation of St. Scholastica.
The prioresses and presidents of the women’s Benedictine congregations met with the Benedictine abbots and presidents of the men’s congregations at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. Pictured with Sister Nancy Bauer, president of the Monastic Congregation of St. Benedict, is Abbot President Jonathan Licari of the American Cassinese Congregation. Sister Nancy and the abbot president are members of neighboring monasteries in central Minnesota – Sister Nancy is a member of Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, MN, and Abbot President Licari is a member of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN.