MCSB goes to CBP in AL

President and Prioresses of the Monastic Congregation of Saint Benedict attending the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses meeting

            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. 

Rum Cakes and Coconut Candy: President of Monastic Congregation Visits Member Monasteries in Puerto Rico and Bahamas

January 11, 2023

Sister Nancy Bauer, OSB, visited two of the “island monasteries” of the Monastic Congregation of St. Benedict in December. Sister Nancy arrived at Monasterio Santa Escolastica in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on December 6, and traveled from there to St. Martin Monastery, Nassau, N.P., Bahamas, on December 10. These were Sister Nancy’s first visits to the Caribbean monasteries in her role as president of the monastic congregation. These were not official visitations but rather opportunities for Sister Nancy to become reacquainted with the sisters in the two communities.

The six members of Monasterio Santa Escolastica extended warm Benedictine hospitality to Sister Nancy. Their dog, Suzie, greeted her with a few growls before warming up to her after receiving some treats directly from the president’s hand.

Sister Nancy accompanied Sister Mary Ruth Santana to Colegio San Benito, the school founded by the sisters in Humacao and now directed by Sister Mary Ruth. Sister Nancy had the chance to cheer on the girls’ volleyball team, visit classrooms, stop in at the nurse’s office which is staffed by Sister Maria Ramos Feliciano, and even sell hot dogs at the Myriam Pacheco Event, a track and field competition named in honor of the late Sister Myriam Pacheco. She also witnessed the damage to the school buildings from Hurricanes Maria and Fiona and learned that the school has not yet received grants from FEMA that were promised after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

At the monastery, Sister Nancy enjoyed meals prepared by Sister Vivian Maldonada and chatted with Sister Angela Berrios about her novitiate classmates back at St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, MN. She also became reacquainted with Sisters Carmen Davila and Margarita Rodriguez.

In Nassau, Sister Marva Coakley, prioress of St. Martin Monastery, fetched Sister Nancy from the airport. When they arrived at the monastery, Sister Annie Thompson was mixing a batch of her famous coconut and pineapple tarts, with the assistance of Sister Janis Coakley. In the next few days, Sister Agnes Johnson baked dozens of rum cakes to be distributed as Christmas gifts.

Many of the sisters, including Sister Ena Albury, recalled with fondness their earlier years in religious life when they lived at St. Benedict’s Monastery and attended the College of St. Benedict or taught in local parochial schools. Sister Mary Benedict Pratt toured Sister Nancy through the beautiful 200-year-old house that is now the monastery’s guest and retreat center.

Sister Nancy enjoyed conversations with Sister Clare Rolle, who had worked with AIDS patients, and caught up with Sister Agatha Hunt outside at the Marian grotto. She also visited Sisters Jacinta Neely and Vernice Wilson in the monastery infirmary.

Sister Nancy returned from the Caribbean to a white winter wonderland, with a package of coconut candies from Puerto Rico and a pair of rum cakes in her suitcase.

Conference of Benedictine Prioresses 2020

The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses held their annual meeting from January 28 – February 3, 2020 at Sacred Heart Monastery, in Yankton, South Dakota. The theme for the meeting was “Called To Serve”. In addition to the business meeting, the prioresses and presidents had two days of retreat with Sister Michaela Hedican of St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, MN. The topic of Sister Michaela’s retreat was the Sermon on the Mount and Leadership.

Sister Susan Rudolph, prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery, was elected to the CBP Coordinating Committee for a three year term. Sister Nicole Kunze, prioress of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND, completed her term on the coordinating committee and will continue to serve as treasurer for the group. Sister Aileen Bankemper, St. Walburg’s Monastery, Covington, KY was elected chair of the committee.

Sister Kerry O’Reilly, President of the Federation of St. Benedict, giving a presentation.Sr. Kerry O’Reilly giving a presentation at the business meeting.

L to R: Nicole Kunze (Annunciation, Bismarck, ND), Sandra Brunenn (St. Mary, Rock Island, IL), Catherine Nehotte (St. Paul, St. Paul, MN), Kerry O’Reilly (Federation President), Susan Rudolph (St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN), Marva Coakley (St. Martin, Bahamas)

L to R: Sandra Brunenn, Marva Coakley, Nicole Kunze, Catherine Nehotte, Susan Rudolph, Michaela Hedican, Kerry O’Reilly

Hearts filled with Hope

Centennial Celebration at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Crookston, Minnesota

Members of the Federation of St. Benedict were present for the Centennial Celebration of Mount Saint Benedict Monastery on Good Shepherd Sunday. Pictured here are Sister Susan Rudolph, Sister Beverly Raway, Sister Shawn Caruth (prioress of Mount Saint Benedict), Sister Catherine Nehotte, Sister Jacqueline Leiter, Sister Mary Weidner, and Sister Danile Lynch.

Mount Saint Benedict Monastery is a founding member of the Federation of Saint Gertrude and a daughter house of our own Saint Scholastica Monastery in Duluth. The monastery was founded on Good Shepherd Sunday 1919.

With Grateful Hearts

Discernment and Election at St. Paul’s Monastery

The Sisters of St. Paul’s Monastery were blessed during their discernment for election by the presence of three wise women: Sister Lynn McKenzie, election facilitator, and Sister Kerry O’Reilly, Federation President, and Sister Sharon Nohner, election observer. We are grateful for your prayers during our time of discernment.

After prayer and discernment, the Sisters of St. Paul’s Monastery joyfully announce the election of Sister Catherine Nehotte as their twelfth prioress. Installation will take place on May 5, 2019.

New Prioress for St. Martin Monastery





Sister Marva Coakley was installed as the fifth Prioress of St. Martin Monastery, Nassau, The Bahamas on May 18, 2018.  Sister Kerry O’Reilly, President of the Federation, presided over the installation at which all members of the community were present as well as family, friends of the community and coworkers of Sister Marva.

Annie and Marva


Sister Annie Thompson transfers authority to Sister Marva during the Installation when she gives her the Rule of Benedict and the Mission Statement of the monastery.


The Sisters’ discernment process culminated in three days of discernment/reflection facilitated by Sister Aileen Bankemper.Aileen Facilitator.jpg

Sister Marva has been active in education for many years and will complete the school year as she begins her term of four years.  The prioresses and delegates will have the pleasure of meeting her when she arrives for the Federation Chapter in July of this year.


Bismarck Sisters getting ready to host Federation gathering! ビスマルク姉妹は連邦議会の開催準備をしています! ¡Las hermanas Bismarck se preparan para acoger la reunión de la Federación! 俾斯麦姐妹会准备主办联邦聚会

logo for federation

We Sisters here at Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck, ND, are getting ready to host Sister delegates and others from all of our member monasteries at our triennial Federation Chapter meeting this July! Sister Nancy Gunderson (Bismarck) created this beautiful image for us to reflect on as we discuss and think about our theme: Walking into the Future: Tending the Benedictine Charism. We can’t wait to see everyone! 

ノースカロライナ州ビスマルクの慰霊碑修道院にある私たちの姉妹たちは、今年7月に開催される3年連盟のチャプター会議で、姉妹の代議員やその他のメンバー全員をホストする準備が整いました! ナンシー・ガンダーソン姉妹(ビスマルク)は、この未来への歩み:ベネディクト派のカリスマ主義をテーマにして、私たちが議論して考えるように、この美しいイメージを作り上げました。 みんなを見るのが待てない!

¡Las Hermanas aquí en el Monasterio de la Anunciación en Bismarck, Dakota del Norte, nos estamos preparando para recibir a las Hermanas Delegadas y otras personas de todos nuestros monasterios miembros en nuestra reunión trienal del Capítulo de la Federación en julio! La hermana Nancy Gunderson (Bismarck) creó esta bella imagen para que reflexionemos mientras discutimos y pensamos en nuestro tema: Caminando hacia el futuro: cuidando el carisma benedictino. No podemos esperar para ver a todos!

我们在ND俾斯麦的报喜修道院的姐妹们正准备在今年七月的三年一度的联合会章会议上主持姐妹代表和其他所有会员寺庙的代表! 姐妹南茜冈德森(俾斯麦)创造了这个美丽的形象供我们思考,因为我们讨论和思考我们的主题:走进未来:趋向本笃会的魅力。 我们迫不及待地想见到每个人!