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.

St. Paul’s Monastery Installation of Prioress and Blessing of Leadership

With joy  our community celebrated the installation of Sister Catherine Nehotte as twelfth prioress of St. Paul’s Monastery and the Blessing of Leadership on May 5. Sister Kerry O’Reilly, Federation President, presided over the installation. We were grateful for the presence of family members, friends, and dear Sisters from our Federation.

Sister Catherine and Sister Kerry

New leadership team of St. Paul’s Monastery:  Sister Linda Soler, Sister Mary White, Sister Catherine Nehotte, and Sister Jacqueline Leiter

Sister Catherine shares a moment and a smile with seven of our former prioresses.  We are grateful for the many women of wisdom in our community.  That in all things, God may be glorified!

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.

BEAO in Taiwan

The BENEDICTINES in EAST AFRICA and OCEANIA (BEAO) gathered at Saint Benedict Monastery in Taipei, Taiwan November 26-30, 2018.  Representatives from monasteries of this geographical area gathered to discuss topics related to monastic life and their monasteries in this region.  Abbot Primate Gregory Polan participated as well as Brother Nicholas Koss of Wimmer Priory in Taiwan, a good friend of the Sisters of Taipei.

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Good Food – Good Company

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Walking Monastery Grounds

New Prioress for St. Martin Monastery

 

Marva

 

 

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.