Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Turkey Girls, part 2

Last week, Sister Dolores Super posted a blog entry about the Turkey Girls who worked at the monastery raising turkeys for sale and use in the monastery and school. This story was also part of the 2009 exhibit at the Haehn Museum at Art and Heritage Place at the monastery. The exhibit, By the Work of Our Hands, focused on sustainability and management of resources during the monastery's 152-year history. Before the exhibit closed on December 23, I went through it with Sister Moira Wild, the museum director, and she told some of the stories on video. Here is one -- that of "The Turkey Girls."

(Note: I will be posting more videos from this tour in the next few weeks. You can find them if you click here.)

submitted by Susan Sink, communications director

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Gift

Whenever a child is born, we see the fulfillment of love’s desire to share life. At Christmas we celebrate God’s desire to share our life, and to share divine life with us. This December that message came home to me more tangibly that usual in a visit from two of my cousins, elderly brothers who are both being treated for cancer. They came bringing a large flower pot containing shoots from their deceased mother’s Christmas cactus. They told me their mother had received the plant from her mother, our grandmother who died before we were born.

I was touched by their desire to share this heirloom, and with the expert help of Sister Johnita, I was able to give each of my siblings a shoot from this precious plant. More than ever, the meaning of Christmas was clear to me. Christmas is about God sharing life with us, and about our calling to share life with others. It sounds so simple, but simple isn’t necessarily easy!

Delores Dufner, OSB

This Christmas Eve, the monastery schola sang a variety of beautiful carols for Christmas. Below is "Of the Father's Love," by Aurelius Prudentius (4th century) as arranged by Sister Christine Manderfeld. (Sister Delores Dufner on organ.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

High hopes for life worth living

Susan Boyle is singing about "high hopes for life worth living" from the song "I Dreamed a Dream" while I finish wrapping Christmas presents and put them under the tree. Taking a break, I pick up The Week magazine (December 20, 2009), and turn to the section called "The Last Word." Here journalist Hank Stuever writes about the "single largest communal event in America": Christmas. Stuever, author of the book Tinsel, writes about his search for Christmas presents, and what he calls the biggies: "our weird economy, our modern sense of home, our oft-broken hearts, and our notions of God." In searching for a Christmas present he writes:

"I came upon one word over and over, emblazoned on various plaques, ornaments and other bric-a-brac. It was at every holiday crafts bazaar I went to, or somewhere in the holiday decor of every house I visited -- soldered in pewter, or sewn into Christmas stockings, or decoupaged onto wood. The word was BELIEVE. A team of reindeer pulled it, B-E-L-I-E-V-E, across a front lawn. Believe people kept telling me."

This afternoon in one brief space of time, I am confronted with high hopes for life worh living, our sense of home, our notions of God, and the blessedness of believing. And I thought how each of these come together in an astounding way in the birth of Jesus Christ, some 2000 years ago. God incarnate comes to make a home among us in order to show us how to live a life worth living, to set straight our notions of God, and finally, to give us Someone in whom we can believe without our hearts being broken. This Christmas in the year of our Lord 2009, may we believe there truly can be a shift in world consciousness, bringing peace on earth and good will among all persons of every race, religion and nation.

A blessed Chritmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Turkey Girls

The Christmas season is very important in our monastery with liturgical celebrations a top priority. But also important is the common table and the festivities that surround it. I'd like to share the story of the “turkey girls,” who added significantly to holiday celebrations in the 1930s.

The Depression years were hard for everyone. Here at Saint Benedict’s it was doubly hard because of the nearly $2 million debt on the newly-constructed St. Cloud Hospital which the sisters opened in 1928, shortly before the financial crash. To help reduce operating costs and hopefully, realize some funds, Sister Ruth Kann, who worked with aspirants and postulants (those newly come to the monastery), initiated the turkey project in spring 1931. With 27 eggs and the expertise of postulants from farms where poultry was raised, the turkey industry began at Saint Benedict’s. Fifteen chicks were hatched from the first 27 eggs. The first chick, already spoiled by the time all were hatched, was named Bernadine.

A space in a sheep pasture was fenced off for the turkeys. More eggs and several turkeys were brought from the home farms of postulants. A shed was built for the birds. Those postulants with turkey “experience” took charge of the brood. In between classes, after school hours, and on week-ends, the “turkey girls” could be found feeding, watering, cajoling, and taking care of any sick birds. By November thirteen birds provided the main course at Thanksgiving; another thirteen in December for the Christmas dinner at Saint Benedict’s. Others were dressed and sold. Ten hens and two gobblers were kept to be the start of the second year’s flock.

In spring 1932, turkey raising began in earnest. A turkey committee was formed and decisions made about the amounts of proper feed, the best incubator to purchase, where and how to house the growing flock, and who would take responsibility for what. Another decision became identifying new “turkey girls” when the postulants who were caring for the birds would enter the novitiate.

Many of the details of the venture were recorded in yearly reports prepared by the “turkey girls” themselves. It is evident that they enjoyed their work, took their responsibilities very seriously, and loved the birds: “Every evening before coming home the turkeys were well sprinkled with Holy Water and our Blessed Mother was implored to protect them” (Ottilia Bleth 1933). “Delano [one of the flock] had a bad cold. We put Vicks in her nose and fed her with wormwood tea….You could hear that her windpipe and nose were all closed up….After a few months of conscientious doctoring, she was healthy again” (Theresa Weber 1934). “To be sure, the girls had a few pets—Blindy, Grandpa, Peacock, and a few others—who received individual attention and special lunches” (Mildred Blatz 1936).

The enterprise continued to grow. Sister Carolinda (Catherine Medernach, who celebrated her 75th jubilee last year) continued to work with the flock when she completed her novitiate in 1934 and assumed responsibility for the enterprise in 1937. The postulants discontinued their work in 1938. Sister Carolinda with help of farm employees continued the operation until 1961.

During 1937, the last full year of work for the “turkey girls,” the number of birds sold to butcher shops was 1,515. The average price received per pound was 23 cents. After expenses were paid, the profit realized was $1,767.95. The year’s report ends with a sentence that reflects the tenor of all the years: “We all had a very successful and happy year” (Evelyn Reller). Way to go, “Turkey Girls.”

by Dolores Super, OSB

photos: top left: novice Veronica (S. Ruthelda) Klein holding a turkey
center right: the turkey girls of 1933
bottom left: Sister Carolinda Medernach with turkeys.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Power of "Wow"

Two weeks ago I was walking with the faculty, staff and principal of our local elementary school during a day long retreat. I got to thinking how life giving it can be to give myself to a quiet space. In that space I get to marvel, at least for fleeting moments, at all kinds of nature-things that surround me. It’s during those times that I hear myself saying, “Wow, I never saw that before.” And almost simultaneously I notice I’m either smiling or giggling softly. The more often I hear myself say “wow”, the more readily it comes to my lips.
It made me think of the time I was sitting in our oratory praying noon prayer next to a sister whose first language was German. We came to line in the psalm that says, “God gives to the vower a vow”. And those of you who know German know the “v’ is pronounced like a “w” in English. So what my pew-mate said was, “God gives to the wower a wow”. I immediately thought, well of course, that’s it, every “vow” is really a “wow”. It makes me wonder, if we are willing to be “wowers”, how many “wows” God will give us in a day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Long is our winter, dark is our night

As we approach the winter solstice next week, there are times during these weeks of the shortest days of the year when I think that bears have the right idea: hibernation seems an attractive solution to rising in the dark and to long winter evenings and nights. Yet we in our day have electricity that helps to stretch out the day; so much so that it is easy to be oblivious of the dark. For many the dark can be a fearful thing; I often think of the settlers of this area of the country and how long the winter nights must have been for them. Imagine a family living miles from the nearest town or the closest neighbor. They lived by candles or kerosene lamps, both dangerous for starting fires; their use was limited to just a few hours a day and only when absolutely necessary. Anyone who has been awake for several hours during the night because of illness or for some other reason knows how difficult it is to keep hope alive during those dark hours. Will daylight ever come?

Although hibernation along with our brother bear might seem a good idea to some, we would never have the opportunity to see the extraordinary beauty and brightness of a winter night sky. Also, during the darkest hours of the night it can be reassuring to know that around the world there are monks and nuns who rise from sleep to keep vigil and in doing so they keep hope alive that God is with us, even in the dark and through the night.

Every year we are certain that the days will start getting longer after December 21; as did the human family of several millennia ago we celebrate the lengthening of days, but we who believe in the Light of Christmas have an added reason to rejoice:

“Longing for light,
we wait in darkness. . .

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!”

  (From the song: "Christ, be our light" by Bernadette Farrell)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

South Africa Here We Come!

As one of the faculty at CSB/SJU (College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University), I have the privilege of directing programs for students wanting to study abroad. This particular Liberal Arts Institution is noted for its excellent programs, numbering 17.

I was the Director for South Africa in 2003 and am preparing to take a second group of thirty students spring semester. The picture here gives you a sense of their enthusiasm and wholesome attitudes. We have spent the semester prior to departure getting together for orientation sessions and fundraising.

While in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, we will volunteer our services at a primary school named Pendla and at an AIDS Haven for children.

Students performed a variety of tasks in the classroom, depending on the expectation of a particular teacher. In all classes students can expect to do some teaching under guidance from the teacher. Our students will work with individual students on their homework.

At the AIDS Haven, House of Resurrection, they build one-on-one relationships with the children not yet school age. Their role is to prepare the children for school by stimulating their cognitive skills, teaching them good manners (i.e. cover mouth when coughing), learning courtesy phrases, good behavior, and teaching them to be good listeners.

The service they give is much needed and deeply appreciated as well as rewarding for them personally. Many come back changed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

I remember.

Freshly fallen snow glistened like jewels across the landscape of the monastery grounds. The crisp air and the brilliance of the sun was winters lure that had me stepping out into this new day. It was particularly inviting to me since I had just returned to the monastery after spending my first semester of study amid skyscrapers and city noise. I could not ignore the invitation that brought me home to myself.

I loved the sound of winter crunching beneath my feet. I welcomed the chill of morning kissing my face and leaving its mark. I walked with no particular destination in mind and yet surprised by where I found myself. I had walked into silence … into the monastery woods. I was standing upon a rock and looking at the statue of Mary. Without prompting, my words were spoken for a dear Sister who was at the threshold of death and yet seemingly found it difficult to release herself into this great mystery. “Mary, please mother Coronata into her death”. Tears filled my eyes as I held my gaze on the weathered statue of Mary. Instinctively, I looked a bit to my right and there I was held by the gaze of a deer. I knew in that moment that all would be well for Coronata.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Liturgically, Advent is my favorite season. The antiphons and hymns in particular, for both Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, move me more than those of other times. An air of expectancy is very strong and it is a joy-filled season. Happily, this year we come close to a full four weeks.

Often Advent gets clipped by the calendar. I want the full four weeks every year! Worst of all is the “shorting” being done by the commercial interests. It seems impossible to avoid this annual “hurry up” process. However, it could be worse . . . note the November 27th Peanuts comic strip. Lucy tells Charlie Brown that her mother is taking her downtown to see all the Christmas decorations. But Charlie tells her, “You’re too late. They’re starting to put things up for Easter.”

I recall a former chaplain on our college campus—in the 1970s—insisting that Advent must be kept in its entirety, meaning no putting up Christmas lights or decorating trees and no public concert of Christmas songs during that period. Some of us, faculty and students, joked that CSB was “the Advent capitol of Minnesota and possibly the world.” The policy (admittedly tough and not very popular) is long gone and I doubt we can halt the “shorting” of Advent. Still, we enter the season with joyous expectation, awaiting once again the glorious celebration of Christ’s birth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Communal Anointing at the Monastery

Early in November of this year I was among the sisters in our community who had the comforting and touching experience of the a Communal Anointing of the Sick. Having reached the age of 80 and having recently experienced some heart challenges, I asked to be among those receiving the sacrament. It was so supportive to have over a hundred of my sisters present with me in the Chapel for this beautiful liturgy.
Our Prioress, S. Nancy Bauer, and a Benedictine priest, Fr. Dale Launderville, conducted this communal service of prayer, song, psalm and ritual. They began with a short prayer and went immediately to those of us being anointed and laid hands on each sister’s head. After that our sisters came forward and one after another placed their hands on our heads and prayed silently. I looked into the face of each sister as she lovingly placed her hands in blessing on my head. Here were women who have shared life with me for so many decades in this community.

We live closely in the monastic community, praying side by side, eating meals together and sharing life in small groups here. Thus this experience of Communal Anointing seemed like a fitting continuation of the many blessings and kindnesses that make up our life together.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Eichstaat Connection

Three students from the College of Saint Benedict, Katie Ebben, Marita Vievering and Megan Sinner, delighted members of the monastic community with stories of their visit to St. Walburga Abbey in Eichstaat, Germany, the founding monastery for the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota. The beginning of St. Walburga's Abbey has a fascinating history. Three British Benedictines, Walburga and her two brothers were sent to Germany to establish new monastic foundations. Enduring the travel through dense forests, on wild rivers, and in danger from marauding tribes took great strength of purpose by these courageous Benedictines.

In 752 Walburga's brothers founded a monastey in Heidenheim, Germany. This was a double monastery for men and women. Walburga eventually became the Abbess of both monasteries. She proved to be an outstanding leader, noted for her knowledge and wisdom. She was skilled in medicine, which she practiced in the monasteries, and among the people of the area. Walburga wrote about the lives of her two brothers, and became known as the first female Christian author of both Britain and Germany.

Walburga died in 777 with a reputation for great holiness of life. Later, her remains were transferred to Eichstaat and put in the care of Benedictine sisters at the Abbey of St. Walburga. Monastic life has continued in that Abbey from 1035 until today. It was from this monastery that six sisters emigrated to St. Cloud, Minnesota, in 1857, moving to St. Joseph, Minnesota in 1863. They came to teach children of European settlers and live a monastic life on the frontier. In time, they founded eleven other monasteries, four of which are in other countries.

Now comes the Eichstaaat Connection for the three young women from the College of Saint Benedict. After their study abroad program, they decided to visit the Abbey of St. Walburga. Here they met Abbess Francesca, who endeared herself to the students with her warmth and sense of humor. Stories were told of the history of the Abbey, and the difficult period of secularization in the 1800s when the government took over the property of all monasteries. Katie, Marita and Megan were amazed at the courage and great strength of purpose of the Sisters in the face of all the hardships they endured. They proudly announced that the abbey in Eichstaat had sent their best Sisters to St. Joseph, where in time, they established an academy for young women, a forerunner of the College of St. Benedict.

The three women are proud to call the college their school, and they are proud of the Sisters of Saint Benedict who exhibit, as they said, great strength of purpose. And the Sisters are equally proud of the women and men who graduate from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University. These graduates go out to make their place in the world, living the Benedictine values and spirituality in their everyday lives'

Monday, November 23, 2009

Influenza Epidemic

This is my first entry in our community’s blog. I have an interest in our community’s history and in the recent past have been completing research on various aspects of it. In doing so, I have become acquainted with many valiant women who went before us. It is some of their stories that I will share in my blog entries.

With the H1N1 flu season getting our full attention I began wondering about the 1917-1919 flu epidemic. I know there is a row of graves in our cemetery of sisters—many very young—who died from the flu. How did the providers in the 70-bed hospital in St. Cloud—built and staffed by our sisters—manage to care for all the sick? In our archives I found the memoirs of Sister Julitta Hope, one of the hospital sisters at the time. In it she relates how acute the situation was and how our sisters helped through the crisis.

She wrote:

“While the flu was raging in St. Cloud, it seemed that every family was involved and Sister Cunegund and I went to tend the sick from house to house….With the mothers and 5 or 6 children in bed, all needing care…we could not get very far. Word of the situation…got to Bishop Busch that something needed to be done. ..[I]t was decided to use [a diocesan building] for the care of the sick….We had only a few beds set up when the patients began to come….The schools had been closed, and so the Sisters came to help from almost every one our convents, and they helped until they, too, were taken with the flu….We had very few doctors and they, too, got sick. The undertakers got sick and there was no one to bury the dead. Often there were 3 or 4 bodies needing burial. We wrapped them in sheets dipped in formaldehyde, and put them in the coldest place [we had] until they could be buried. We did the best we knew how. [Expectant mothers] were in a dangerous condition. I had to do a caesarean myself.”

Valiant women indeed! I like to walk in our cemetery during November and visit the graves of Sisters dear to me. I found myself making a special pilgrimage to say thank you to those who died at the time of the epidemic. Surely some of them cared for the sick in the “overflow hospital” Sister Julitta described, and very likely succumbed to the flu themselves. It makes real Jesus’ teaching on how great a gift it is to give one’s life for others.
photo: Sister Julitta Hoppe (left) with Sister Glenore Riedner at St. Cloud Hospital

Friday, November 20, 2009

Catholics Confront Global Poverty

We, the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, have recently joined the campaign Catholics Confront Global Poverty (CCGP). This is a joint initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 World Day of Peace Message, “Fight Poverty to Build Peace.”

The initiative focuses on seven key areas:

• U.S. international assistance

• Peacekeeping

• Debt relief

• Fair trade

• Natural resource extraction

• Migration

• Global climate change

The campaign aims to mobilize one million Catholics in the United States to confront global poverty through prayer, education and advocacy. Click here to be connected to their web site, where you will find action alerts and information regarding resources and events. Once there, you can join the campaign yourself and invite others, perhaps your parish or church community, to get involved.

For more on the Sisters' involvement in social justice issues, click here.

submitted by Katherine Howard, OSB

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anger, my friend

Learning and teaching energize and nurture my being. Last month I went to a workshop entitled “Anger, Forgiveness and the Healing Process” by Paula Butterfield, PhD. I didn’t try to absorb every word only because she could have written the script for Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Cosby or Jay Leno. I also appreciated the fact that her talk was filled with the wisdom-of-life stories, current ”Life Coaching” research and included a well summarized 31 page handout (not a power point) with scientific documentation of everything she presented.

I continue to think about two of her helpful topics. One topic can be summarized by her description of anger. “Anger happens when one of your values has been violated.” The challenge for me is to do exactly what she suggested, related to my values. After I made a list of my top ten values, I needed to admit how much time I actually give to nurturing these each week. My weekly review was a bit shocking. Her point was, “Anger is about you, not about the situation.” I learned that anger is my friend, because after it invites me to ask, “What value of mine has been violated?” I also get to clarify to myself a whole range of values I didn’t consciously know I had. Somehow this self-awareness makes me feel more transparent (I apologize for using one of the current buzz-words). I suppose my next challenge will be spontaneously sharing those newly articulated values with people I care about. I have to admit, I still feel a little shy about by newly-articulated-value language.

The other comment that still lingers in my brain is “Resentment is harbored anger. Resentment is like drinking a little poison every day and expecting the other person to die.” I’m still ruminating…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monastic Interreligious Dialogue

There is a group in Benedictine, Cistercian and Trappist circles that does not ever make a big splash, only small ripples. The group is called Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. As the name implies the focus of this group is to foster dialogue between Christian monks and nuns and monks and nuns of the great religions of the East, Buddhism and Hinduism in particular.

A little over a year ago, 14 Christian and Buddhist nuns met at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, IL for a weekend of sharing on our respective communal and individual monastic practices. On Friday evening we began with an agenda of topics we were hoping to cover in our time together. By Sunday afternoon we realized that rather than getting shorter our agenda seemed to be getting longer and longer. As we listened to each other with the ears of our hearts we noticed that the perceived barriers between us were crumbling and that we wanted to continue the dialogue. Although we had to leave for our respective monasteries early Monday morning, we decided to continue our conversation via e-mail on a monthly basis which several of us did until the spring.

Several moments of the weekend were particularly moving. On Sunday morning, we all attended Eucharist with the Sisters of St. Mary Monastery and at communion time, every Buddhist nun came forward to receive a blessing from the celebrant. Sunday evening at our closing ritual each Buddhist nun did a chant from her particular tradition which we participated in, and then the Christian monastic women sang the Salve Regina in Latin. Finally, on Monday morning, the first car was leaving at 6:30 a.m. and by 6:15 a.m. we were all gathered in the kitchen to say our goodbyes to each other. One could sense how much we wanted to prolong our time together. In early October of this year, the monastic women who are on the board of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue began planning our next gathering of Buddhist/Christian nuns in 2011. If you would like to read more about Monastic Interreligious Dialogue go to

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Benedictine Women Service Corps

A ripple of excited air has been flowing over the campus of the College of St. Benedict and Saint Benedict’s Monastery since Wednesday, November 4, when the Monastery launched its new program, a program that CSB women have been requesting for several years running.

More than one year ago, Prioress Nancy Bauer listened to the student voices and asked a team of sisters and students to begin shaping the volunteer service program that we are offering to our graduates. Sisters Ann Marie Biermaier and Mary Jane Berger, along with senior Maria Conroy and a few other students met every other week to determine the mission, goals and responsibilities that will be a part of the service corps.

We had an excellent model to follow because our brother Abbey at St. John’s began a volunteer corps approximately ten years ago. They now have 16 sites where they send pairs of Johnnie grads each year. We anticipate that our program, too, will expand to new sites each year.

Saint Benedict’s Service Corps will begin this year with two sites and two volunteers at each site. We are offering our grads a 2-week training/spiritual experience prior to their departure in late August or early September, and a follow-up reflection time after they return.

When our women go to the monastic sites that we together decide upon, they will be living the Benedictine Gospel Values. As volunteers they will be hosted by the monastic community they are serving. They will join the community for prayer, work, and leisure. They will be listening to those they serve and will in turn be listened to by the sisters on site. These women will be receiving hospitality from their hosts and giving hospitality to those they serve.

Since November 4, we have had a flood of interested Bennies from first-year students to post graduates. Next week, Sister Ann Marie and I will be hosting women interested in knowing more details and possibly in applying to be part of this first endeavor. We are absolutely delighted with the voices we have heard saying, “We are so glad you have finally begun a program for CSB grads”!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How beautiful is the dwelling place of God

I like opening the large oak doors to Sacred Heart Chapel. It feels to me as if I am entering a place where the more of life is being lovingly tended. Sometimes I place myself in the stillness of this vast space and truly experience it as if I am in the womb of God. I feel safe. I experience intimacy and holy tending. In this place I am confident of God’s love for me. I stay in the quiet; welcoming the Love that breaks open my heart.

Light spills into the sanctuary and dances upon the altar. I thought I was alone. I look around me and I see no one. I look to the altar and I see. God comes as Light streaming through the large honeycomb windows. God draws my attention to the table, the altar of generosity, of self-giving. The table where bread is broken to be shared for the many and wine poured out that the world would know mercy. I am awed by this wonder; this miracle of now. I feel the warmth of the light penetrating my being. I realize I am cast in the

Light. I hear these words Do this in memory of me. In quiet, humble attentiveness I am left to ponder this encounter.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Benedictines and the Ojibwe in Minnesota

Since the 1990s the U.S. officially designates November as American Indian Heritage Month. It is meant to honor Native American culture and its imprint upon this nation. My community, the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict, based in St. Joseph, Minn., has strong ties with the Ojibwe of Minnesota—a tribe which we lived among from the late 19th into the 21st century. We served as teachers and catechists on the White Earth, Red Lake and Mille Lacs Reservations: White Earth from 1878-1969; Red lake from 1888-2009 and Mille Lacs from 1941-2001.

As an historian, I did research on these three Indian missions and found much to admire as well as to regret while describing the decades of interaction between two cultures. Unfortunately, the hundreds of our Sisters who served on these missions did so ignorant of the Ojibwe rich traditions and values. Good will and zeal were abundant , but these did not fully compensate for lack of preparation and understanding over the many decades of missionary activity. However, my research and interviews with the Sisters and Ojibwe made clear that, in spite of cultural differences and misunderstandings, the Sisters and the Ojibwe grew to respect and over time to admire and even grow fond of one another.

When we closed the Red Lake mission in the summer of 2009, there was a combined appreciation and farewell celebration, with the Sisters and the Red Lake people sharing many memories—mostly positive ones. I believe that the history of the interaction between Benedictines and the Ojibwe reveals a steady pattern of mutual help and friendship. Both groups found benefits in the crossing of cultural boundaries. We can hold high the memory of our long connection as we continue to honor American Indian Heritage.

photos: (top left) St. Mary's School, Red Lake
(right) Sister Theresa Lodermeier and friend at the farewell luncheon at Red Lake in June 2009. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Welcome to our Blog

We are a community of women Benedictines in St. Joseph, Minnesota. On this blog we will record short reflections on our daily lives. You will find posts by several different Sisters here. Please comment and let us know you're out there and if you like what you read. Feel free to ask questions, as that will prompt more entries. Our comments are moderated, but we want to hear from you and will answer and publish all appropriate comments.

Thank you for joining us on this journey!