Sister Celebrates 100th Birthday

Sister Jonathan was adorned with corsages, a tiara, and a sash for her 100th birthday celebration. She is pictured with her niece, Kirstene Herda.

Sister Jonathan Herda, a member of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph. MN, celebrated her 100th birthday on February 21, 2023.

Sister Jonathan grew up on a family farm in Lonsdale, MN, and made her first profession in 1944 and her perpetual profession in 1947. 

After first profession, Sister Jonathan became a registered X-ray technician and served in that capacity in various locations, including St. Cloud, MN, and Ogden, UT. In the 1970s, she switched to Clinical Pastoral Education and became a certified hospital chaplain, serving in Tacoma and Spokane, WA, and Bismarck, ND. In more recent years, she has vigiled with sisters of her own community in their final days.

In 2019, on her 75th jubilee of profession, Sister Jonathan said, “My mission is to bring the love of Jesus to whomever I meet, wherever I am sent.”

“My mission is to bring the love of Jesus to whomever I meet, wherever I am sent.”                

Sister Jonathan

New Prioress Elected at Saint Benedict’s Monastery in Minnesota

From the top left, clockwise:
The Sisters of Saint Benedict’s Monastery bless Sister Karen Rose after her election as prioress.
Sister Nicole Kunze pins a corsage on Sister Karen Rose at the rite of acceptance of election.
Sister Karen Rose with the facilitators of the discernment process: Sister Kimberly Porter, left and Sister Lynn McKenzie right.

Sister Karen Rose will serve as the eighteenth prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, MN. Sister Karen was elected for a six-year term on Saturday, February 25, following a discernment process. The rite of installation will take place on Sunday, June 4. Sister Karen will succeed Sister Susan Rudolph.

Sister Karen was born in Nantwich, England, She studied philosophy and theology at Oxford University and earned a doctorate in nursing at Manchester University. She entered Saint Benedict’s Monastery as a postulant in 2007, made her first profession in 2009, and perpetual profession in 2012. She is currently the director of the monastery’s Office of Mission Advancement.

The discernment process was facilitated by Sister Kimberly Porter, a member of St. Walburg Monastery, Covington, KY, and Sister Lynn McKenzie, a member of Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL, and president of the Monastic Congregation of St. Scholastica. Sister Nicole Kunze, vice-president of the Monastic Congregation of St. Benedict presided at the canonical election.

Saint Benedict’s Monastery was founded in 1857 and currently has 157 members.

Taiwan Accepts a Second Novice

The Sisters of Saint Benedict Monastery, Taipei, Taiwan received a second novice who has taken the name Sister Gratia.  She was received  on December 7, 2018 joining Sister Benedicta in the novitiateIMG_2094 (1).  Both women are originally from Vietnam.

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Two Novices with their Director, Sister Cordis


S. Emmanuel Prioress, accepts                                       Novice Gratia




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.


Good Food – Good Company

Walking Monastery Grounds

2016 News – The first half of the year

The Prioress of the monastic community is spiritual leader, guide and planner.  Each monastery elects a prioress through a discernment process and also determines the length and number of terms. Three monasteries of the Federation had elections this year.

Saint Benedict Monastery in Taipei, Taiwan.

Sr Emmanuela & Sr Kerry, Federation President
Sr Emmanuel Hsiang & Sr Kerry O’Reilly, Federation President

The Sisters met in discernment February 24 and 25 facilitated by Sister Kerry O’Reilly, President of the Federation, and Sister Josue Behnen of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, MN.  The canonical election was held February 26, 2016 and SISTER EMMANUEL HSIANG was elected to a second 6-year term.  She was blessed by the community, oblates and friends.  It was particularly festive with the presence of their Junior Sister, Sister Maria Sung, from their mission house.  The community celebrated with a festive meal and entertainment by the newest members of the community.

When visiting Taiwan the flight connects in Tokyo, Japan so a visit to the Sisters at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, Muroran, Japan was in order!

St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL

Sr. Sandra Brunenn (Photo courtesy of St. Mary Monastery)

also had a re-election on April 3, 2016.  SISTER SANDRA BRUNENN was elected by her community to serve a second term of four years.  The Benedictine way is to take time for discernment – creating an atmosphere within the house and within the community members of quiet and deep listening.  Who is God calling to leadership at this time?  What are community members hearing?  What can they share about the Sisters raised up for consideration for leadership?  A Formal election takes place only after the community seems to develop a broad consensus.

Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck, ND

Sr Nicole Kunze
Sr Nicole Kunze (Photo courtesy of Annunciation Monastery)

Following two re-elections, Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck, ND elected SISTER NICOLE KUNZE to a first term of 4 years on April 9.  A community begins thinking about the future long before the election as it prepares Direction Statements.  The Sisters ask themselves what is our hope for the future and where is our energy for that future?  Where would we like to be four years from now?  As they discuss that and formulate general statements it becomes a basis for what kind of skills and gifts would be help move the statements to reality.

Conference of Benedictine Prioresses

The position of prioress is challenging and can be overwhelming even as it has rewards.  Benedictine Prioresses from around the country meet once a year for sharing and support and quiet time together.  This year’s gathering was held in January at Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana.

Gathering of Professed Benedictines 55 and Under

Gathering of Professed Benedictines 55 and Under (Photo courtesy of Yankton Benedictines)

One privilege of a Federation President is getting to know many Sisters from other Federations.  The Sisters from all the Federations and Congregation 55 years old and Under meet every three years and 2016 was one of those years.  The presidents are invited to attend and share thoughts.  It is a privilege.  The energy was high as Sisters recalled formation gatherings they shared, as the theme of Collaboration was explored by Sister Aileen Bankemper of St. Walburga Monastery, and time was given to explore Indianapolis, IN where our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, is located.

Federation / Congregation Leaders at the 55 and Under Gathering: back: Sister Kerry O’Reilly (St. Benedict), Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie (St. Scholastica); front: Sister Joella Kidwell, (St. Gertrude), Sister Pia Portman, (Missionary Benedictines) (Photo: Federation of St. Scholastica)