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St. Benedict Monastery, Pittsburgh, PA

March, 2020…The Pittsburgh Benedictines are in the middle of our year-long celebration of 150 years of foundation…August 29, 1870. Visitors from near and far, members of our daughter and granddaughter houses have joined, as well as women and men who have walked our journey with us and told our stories. We even had a visit from our founding prioress, Mother Adelgunda Feldman, although she did have a striking resemblance to Sister Evelyn Dettling!

Gathering for prayer as a community during our stay with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Gathering for prayer as a community during our stay with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

We continue to recover from our January 31, 2019, flood which caused us to evacuate right into the open doors, open arms and open hearts of the community which we once knew as the Vincentian Sisters of Charity who are now part of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  Our time with them was blessed and the blessings continue to overflow in sweet friendships, wonderful memories, and visits back and forth between the two communities.  Our chaplain, Leroy DePietro, refers to them as our annex.


Repair work to our monastery following our flood is on-going.  We were able to return to our monastery in Bakerstown after four and a half months when all the visible repairs were completed.  We are now facing issues of insufficient insulation and the work to repair that is scheduled to begin soon.  Fortunately, it has been a rather mild winter in western Pennsylvania, so we have not had many challenges in reference to frozen pipes!


Spas for Women continue to appear on our community calendar quarterly and usually 30 to 40 women of all ages and backgrounds join the community for a day of reflection and celebration.


Our neighbors, near and far, continue to discover us and we find blessing in each visit as we respond to Chapter 53 of Benedict’s Rule.


Come to visit!

Holy Name Monastery, St. Leo, FL

The Benedictine Sisters of Florida, like everyone else, are in the throes of our busiest time of the year.  Oblate meetings, concerts, workshops and retreats keep the house buzzing both with groups and individuals.


One of our newer programs is “Sharing Your Story for the Benefit of Others.”  In many cases, retreatants are very open about why they have come on retreat. Their stories often give great insight to the human condition in our world.  They run the gamut stretching from compelling and lost to delightful and joyous…stories you have heard too.  Whatever the retreat need, as Benedictines we all strive through what we do to provide an atmosphere of peace and reflection.


At some point, it seemed to us that our retreatants’ stories should be heard and/or read by others.  Listening is, of course, the bedrock of our founder, St. Benedict’s Rule. So, a couple of years ago we instituted a more focused program for such sharing.  


The point was to emphasize how a particular retreatant’s story and/or experience at Holy Name Monastery might impact someone else’s life journey.  The voice inside us is powerful, but is often dismissed.  Listening to one’s enter voice and then writing down thoughts and reflections makes a stronger connection whether looking for a new direction, a fuller spiritual commitment, or an entire reboot and renewal.


In asking to share one’s story requires the person’s permission.  That permission comes with the realization that they just might be able to help someone else regain their footing.  What the program has done since inception is just that.  It has proven to be a profound gift to our community and those who hear about the stories or read them in our Tide Newsletter

January 27th – 31st, we held an Icon Workshop with Phil Zimmerman instructing.  The artists and beginners at this art form produced the Noah and the Whale Icon and had a great time.  It was interesting to watch the development of everyone’s pieces.  If you have thought about participating in one, go for it.  Evidently, it is something you can learn to do even if you’re not an artist!


Now we look forward to Easter and being fully present in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.


God bless you and keep you in His loving care.

Sacred Heart Monastery, Lisle, IL

In 2019 the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery have had a number of spirituality programs offered. Click on the file below to see their happenings.

Spirituality Programs.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [319.2 KB]

Emmanuel Monastery, Baltimore, MD

Emmanuel Monastery's Blessings of "Being Small"


Emmanuel Monastery, founded in 1971 in the aftermath of Vatican II, has never been a big community. We began with, were founded by “23 faithful, courageous women” which in itself has been an anomaly of sorts. Most new foundations are founded by someONE, not a group of individuals. Today the community numbers 12 and, like most other monasteries, is experiencing the challenges of diminishment and aging. At the same time we are experiencing the blessings of new kinds of growth, energy, creativity and expansiveness. A paradox indeed!


Because we have always been “small,” we have always seen ourselves as bigger than only the Sisters who comprise our monastic community. Because we have always been “small,” collaboration and networking is in our communal DNA. Because we were never in a position to take on institutional commitments, we helped begin intercommunity staffing in the schools of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and our sisters were part of the very first “cluster schools” in Baltimore City catholic schools. When the Justice and Peace office was closed in the Catholic Center, Emmanuel  Monastery was a founding member of the P. Francis Murphy Justice and Peace Initiative that became a collaborative ministry of 16 religious communities for 16 years. We did not have a chapel until 2001, so were always dependent on the generosity of other communities/ area churches for any big celebration we had. Our beautiful chapel is still small, so we remain dependent on that continued generosity. For more than a decade we have journeyed with the monasteries in Bristow, VA and Newark, DE (formerly Ridgely, MD) in a Tri-Community Endeavor, sharing resources and supporting one another.


 As we struggled through fund raising for a monastery addition in the 1990’s, we became aware of the impact our “smallness” had on those around us. Dependency on others taught us the grace of hospitality…given and received. Our willingness to share the little we had, especially in the areas of prayer, spirituality and social justice, shaped us further into a presence of Emmanuel for so many. Humbled, blessed and graced to see our gifts through the eyes of others, we received new energy to continue to be that presence here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and surprisingly to us, throughout the larger world.

Sara and her family at Citizen Ceremony Sara and her family at Citizen Ceremony


A simple “yes” during Christmas week of 2010 to a young, pregnant women from Afghanistan in need of housing opened literally a whole world to us. Many of you know the story of Sara and her little boy who lived with us for over 2 years. Her experience made us aware of the plight of women who flee their country seeking asylum here, the struggles and odds that they face, and the dangers that often confront them. Once again, in collaboration with other communities of women religious, we were founding members of AWE, Asylee Women Enterprise. Today AWE is a free standing organization, offering a wide span of services and support to women, children and men seeking refuge. Our Sr. Jo-El McLaughlin co-directs a choir, the Hope Choir of Nations, and Sr. Kathleen White serves on the AWE Board. Over the past decade we have offered housing to 3 other women asylum seekers and a refugee family.


Of the women who lived with us, 3 are married and have children, and remain part of our lives.  Sara was reunited with her husband in 2015, and they now have 2 children. She became a US citizen this past August, an event in which the community and several Oblates participated, and will graduate from Towson University with an IT degree in December. 

The Benedictine Oven! The Benedictine Oven!


Through Sara, we have been introduced to Islam and its traditions, prayer and spirituality. Tina continues to bring her relatives from both Rwanda and Kenya (where her husband comes from) to visit us. One of our Oblates was part of a mission trip to teach the deaf in Zimbabwe in 2016. Recently, the village where she stayed sent us pictures of the “Benedictine nuns oven” which they built with the contributions our community and Oblates sent with Susan, an oven that bakes bread to feed the village and surrounding area A Nigerian family who stayed with us is now in Virginia, and calls periodically to keep in touch.  And we, as a community, continue to marvel at how the larger world is so much a part of our lives.  Who are we (this little community in Lutherville), Creator God, that you should love us so, trust us so?.(Ps. 8)..to extend our hearts so far and wide beyond ourselves into this suffering world?

Mary Jo and Beth Mary Jo and Beth

Our Sisters and Oblates have been participating in the Oblates for the Future Symposium in Cottonwood, ID for the past 2 years. The program and the dedication and creativity of our Oblates have led us to explore more deeply the vocation of “Oblate” and its role in the future of monastic presence in the Baltimore area. Two of our Oblates approached the sisters 2 years ago about “moving deeper” in commitment to the community and its vision. Mary Jo Piccolo and Beth Taneyhill, in response to the Spirit’s call in their own lives to Isaiah’s prophecy, “See, I am doing something new…” will ritualize their commitment of fidelity to continue to seek God with our community on December 8th. They will continue to live in their own home, contribute personally and financially to the community, a format similar to covenant commitments in other religious communities. As Anam Cara (Soul Friends) of the community, they participate in liturgical ministries, program facilitation and attend community gatherings and meetings. Other Oblates continue to explore personal ways of moving more deeply into their own commitment and understanding of the Oblate vocation.


Emmanuel Monastery is so much bigger than our smallness in number, so much bigger than the little town of Lutherville, MD, and reaches so much further than we had ever imagined possible. For this we offer humble gratitude and renewed commitment to be Emmanuel to our world.

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