The Federation of Saint Scholastica, comprised of 20 Monasteries of Benedictine Women, was established on February 25, 1922.
The 2019 NAABOD (North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors) Conference held July 5-10, 2019 in Schuyler, NE was a great success. The group enjoyed great hospitality, wonderful oasis, and excellent speakers.
Here is a link to the speaker videos. (You may have to turn up the volume for Fr. Joel’s talk.) http://www.naabod.org/naabod-
Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie's Presidential Address from the 2018 Chapter Gathering in Cullman, AL was recently re-recorded so that it could be made available for viewing. (The previous recording did not capture the audio properly.) To access the new video file for viewing or download, click here.
Elaine Nadeau, originally from Holden, MA, has taken on the role of Archivist for the Federation of St. Scholastica as well being the archivist for Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, KS. Her professional background includes an M.A. in History and an MLIS with Archives Management Concentration from Simmons College. Her under undergraduate degree is a B.A. in History from Union College in Lincoln, NE. She has worked in multiple library and archival environments. She spent two years in the Peace Corps as a University TEFL Teacher in China.
In her free time, she loves running, reading, cooking, and baking. She admits to traveling a lot and enjoys taking a cooking class wherever she goes. She is passionate about her work and eager to learn about the Benedictine charism as well as the history of Benedictine women in the United States, particularly those of our federation. She can be contacted at Archives@mountosb.org for any assistance with information from or about the federation's archives.
GoErie.com highlights the recent fundraiser that will support various community ministry activities. To read about it, click here.
Mark Di Nionno has witten an article for an online neighborhood publication highlighting the Gilded Age mansion owned by the Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, NJ and is used for their retreat center.
To read the article click here to follow link.
Sister Joanna Burley was elected the 11th prioress of St Benedict Monastery in Bristow Virginia, during their 150th year. Sisters Mary Catherine Wenstrup and Kimberly Porter of St Walburg Monastery in Covington KY were the facilitators of the election discernment process. She will be installed June 22, 2019
Since Advent, Sister Kathy McNany, OSB (Baltimore) has provided weekly reflections for all of us to enjoy. Beginning in Easter, Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB the prioress at Holy Name Monastery in St. Leo, FL, will take up the task of providing these weekly "nuggets" of spiritual treasure. Thank you, Sr. Kathy for sharing your insights and ponderings! To sign up for weekly reminders and to receive other news, click here to navigate to the Centennial website's home page.
You also may view recent podcasts added to the website as well!
The Prioresses and Abbots held their joint meeting in Cullman, AL in late February 2019 with the theme "As We Wait in Joyful Hope." Abbot Primate Gregory Polan addressed the assembly in two session on Saturday, Feb. 23rd, providing some insights to biblical perspectives of hope. Sr. Susan Hutchens of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL addressed the assembly in two sessions on Sunday focusing on Christ as the source of hope in these uncertain times. Additionally, there were two sets of responses given at the end of each day's presentation followed by table discussion among the participants.
While the presentations and most meals of the joint meeting were held at St. Bernard Abbey, all of the participants joined the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery for Sunday Vespers in their Gothic-style chapel. The 100+ joyfully resounding voices joined in monastic praise was an amazingly uplifting experience for all in attendance. The weekend was brought to a close with a festive meal in the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center Dining Room.
Sister Evangeline Salzar of Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs, CO gave a radio interview from the US-Mexico border broadcasted on NPR. Sister Clare gives the following instructions for hearing the interview:
Go into this link and scroll down to the listen tab. On the left side. Then forward to the place of 10 minutes and 30 second point
You will then hear Evangeline’s talk.
Holy Name Monastery has produced a video each month for the last several months which can be viewed on u-tube. We featured the grounds of Holy Name Monastery and the interior on the first two videos to promote retreats. The January video was especially fun as we focused on some of the Sisters’ ministries including Sisters Elizabeth and Donna teaching little ones at Sacred Heart. videos out!
Just go to u-tube.com, type in Benedictine Sisters of Florida and see the ones that have been posted.
The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman have been selected by A Nun’s Life Ministry to participate in their live-streamed podcast series, Motherhouse Road Trip. In this series, A Nun’s Life Ministry brings a field studio to religious communities around the country to allow their nationwide audience of viewers to meet and interact with Sisters during live podcasts. Sister Madeline Contorno and Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie from the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman will be joining the podcast host, Sister Maxine Kollasch, IHM, to talk about topics such as discernment, prayer, spirituality, and more. A live chat room during the podcast, moderated by one of the Benedictine Sisters, will allow on-line viewers or listeners to interact with each other and the Sisters.
A Nun’s Life Ministry is a pioneer in combining technology, social media, and vocations outreach in highly interactive and pastoral ways, encouraging people to understand their life as a vocation. The Benedictine Sisters are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with A Nun’s Life Ministry. The live-streamed podcast (audio and video) will air at 1:30 pm CST at aNunsLife.org/LIVE. All are welcome to watch live on-line, or listen later to an archived audio of the podcast.
If you wish to sign up for email notices from the Federation Centennial Celebration website to notify you when her reflection is posted each week, you can sign up from the website's home page. When registering, you also may sign up to receive a similar alert when a new podcast is posted.
We encourage you to make use of the social media share links on both the reflection and the podcast pages. Furthermore, we would be grateful if you could post a link to the Centennial
page on your website with a simple blurb like, "The Federation of St. Scholastica will celebrate 100 years in 2022. As a means of sharing Benedictine life as a vision unfolding, the Federation is
offering a multi-featured website to share our life and values. Click here [ send to https://scholastica-
If you would like the Centennial page to highlight your community, please send content—as the page grows we want to list courses or workshops, links to blogs or podcasts, and post inspiring photos of your sisters, oblates, guests, ministries.... See the Prayer Resources page as an example. You can reply to this email with your content. Photos must be minimum 960 x 640 pixels. If you have questions, please contact Linda (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for helping us promote our Benedictine life,
The Centennial Committee
Benet Hill Monastery has been recognized by the Global Sisters Report, a project of the National Catholic Reporter, for the way in which their contemplative life overflows in various forms outreach activity. Click here to read the article published on Nov. 8, 2018.
(l to r) Sisters Kathy McNany (Baltimore), Chair of Visitation Team, Benita Coffey (Chicago), Visitation Steering Committee, Jacquelyn Ernster (Yankton), Visitation Team, Lathy Maloney (Chicago), Chair of Visitation Steering Committee, Lynn Marie McKenzie (Cullman), Federation President, and Judith Zonsius (Chicago) Visitation Steering Committee
In an October 7th posting on the OSV Newsweekly webpage, the Benedicitne Sisters of Erie, PA were highlighted for their efforts in the "Take Back the Site" ministry campaign. Since the ministry's establishment in 1999, the Sisters of Mercy—New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West Community and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania have joined the Erie Benedictines in addressing the needs of their local community deeply wounded by senseless acts violence that involve the taking of innocent lives. The ministry began after the brutal murder of a 5-year-old girl in Erie with the mission "to bring God’s peace and comfort to the victim’s family and friends; to restore God’s peace to the place where violence has taken place; and to put forth a message of nonviolence to the community." (Sisters of Mercy blog June 10, 2014) One of the primary activities of "Take Back the Site" is to hold a prayer vigil at the sight where a life was taken through an act of violence. Based on the needs and wishes of the victims' family, the vigil may be public or private.
The Baltimore Sun reported about a letter sent by Kathy McNany and thirteen other Sisters from her Benedictine community in response to the congressional hearings regarding Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh asking for the women in Congress to vote against advancing the nominee to further proceedings. The Baltimore Sun writes:
McNany, who is with the Emmanuel Monastery in Lutherville, said that two events triggered her letter. The first was an interview she heard on the radio with high school students about their responses to Thursday’s congressional hearing into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh....The second thing that prompted her letter, McNany wrote, was a column in the Washington Post by writer Alexandra Petri with the headline, “It is very difficult to get the train to stop.” The article, McNany writes, is about how no matter how many women speak out, “the train of power and patriarchy does not stop!”
The article in the Baltimore Sun was followed by a similar piece published by The Global Sisters Report, a Project of the National Catholic Reporter.
To read more of the article printed in the Baltimore Sun, click here.
To read the article printed by the Global Sisters Report about the letter from the Baltimore Benedictines, click here.
The Greene County Chamber of Commerce has recognized the work of Sister Audrey Quinn of St. Benedict Monastery (Pittsburgh, PA) by naming her as the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award.
From the Greene County Messenger: The Distinguished Service Awards are bestowed based on lasting contributions to community welfare, participation in civic organizations, evidence of leadership ability, success in vocation, personal and/or business progress, and cooperation with other individuals and organizations.
To read more of the article about this story, click here.
The above photo and others from the final day of the Symposium may be viewed via the following link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/
First activity following the group picture-taking was hearing from the younger sisters who had been invited – 1 from each region of the world. They spoke about their own experiences of hospitality in their own communities, etc. Then there were some questions from some of the rest of the participants.
AIM International's executive secretary gave a very good an uplifting report to the assembly.
The administrative council of the conference of delegates did a beautiful series of thank yous for Judith Ann Heble for her 12 years of service as CIB Moderator.
The August 2018 issuse of the Gyrovagi has been posted to the website under the tab with that name. Follow the link above to navigate to the page where it may be downloaded and viewed.
The Federation of St. Scholastica members gathered for a group photo during the LCWR Assembly held in St. Louis, MO August 7-10, 2018. The theme of the assemnly was "Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Communion."
More information about the assembly is available on the LCWR website.
Sisters Lynn McKenzie (Cullman) and Mary Catherine Wenstrup (Covington, KY) recently attended the annual meeting of the African Benedictine Sisters of the Association of St. Mechtildis, held July 1-13, 2018 at Twasana Priory in South Africa. It was winter time in the southern hemisphere, and it was quite cold there – especially with no heat! All of the African Sisters knew they needed winter coats, scarves and leggings, but their two American visitors did not! Nevertheless, the American Sisters were warmly received and welcomed to the Association meeting. Lynn and Mary Catherine were invited to share about how our federation operates and how it is mutually beneficial for all the monasteries. In addition, the canonical experience of Mary Catherine and Lynn was shared with the Association President, Sister Theodora Ntuli, and her council by analysis and review of the Association constitution.
Mary Catherine and Lynn were favorably impressed with the evident joy of the Sisters gathered there, who broke out into holy song and dance at just about every opportunity, not only during the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist. What a wonderful experience of their culture!
The Sisters had also invited Abbot John Paul Mwaniki of the nearby Inkamana Abbey to address Obedience and Disobedience in the Rule of Benedict. This led to good discussions among all the Sisters gathered and they shared some of the challenges of practical obedience within their monasteries.
The grounds of the Twasana Priory, even in the midst of winter there, were full of blooming trees and fruits. They had a variety of trees including avocado, orange, lemon, papaya, even palm trees. The American visitors were also surprised and mesmerized by the gray monkeys which inhabit the trees behind the monastery and also steal fruit from the Sisters’ trees. The Sisters at Twasana also tend a variety of gardens, growing much of their own vegetables and fruits. They make wines from the fruits grown there, as well as delicious jellies and jams. In fact, all of the food was fresh, well prepared and delicious. They also have goats, cattle and horses that live there on the grounds, and wherever they choose to graze.
Each delegation presented a symbol of a current critical juncture that it is facing and placed it at the focal point of the prayer room. The symbol of the burning bush, representing the presence of God in the midst of the critical moments of our lives, was a prominent theme throughout the Chapter gathering.
Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, Federation President, addressed the gathering on Thursday evening, June 14th, offering words of encouragement to all of the monastic communities represented. Utilizing inspirational words from a variety of writers, Sister Lynn emphasized that the experience of death and dying is integrally part of the experience of resurrection and ascension, i.e. the entirety of the Paschal Mystery. Facing critical junctures with hope is the call of all Christian disciples. It gives witness to the ceaseless confidence of Jesus Christ who also cried out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Remaining faithful to the work of God unfolding through us in our time is a process of letting go of whatever ideas about our ourselves, our communities, and monastic life in general that may be inhibiting us from becoming the new creation God envisions for us. She reminded the gathering that we are all in this together and that love and prayerful support of one another throughout the process is the way forward.
Over the weekend, various committee reports were given and the process of creating direction statements for the next four years began. Once the statements were agreed upon, the process of election began. Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie was re-elected to serve as Federation President for the next four years. Sister Elaine Fischer of Atchison, KS was elected as 1st Councilor. Other elected members of the new Federation Council are Sisters Christine Ereiser (Tulsa, OK Prioress), Maricarmen Bracamontes (Torreon, Mexico Prioress), Anne Wambach (Erie, PA Prioress) and Kimberly Porter (Covington, KY).
Federation of St. Scholastica
916 Convent Rd NE,
Cullman, AL 35055
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