The Federation of Saint Scholastica, comprised of 20 Monasteries of Benedictine Women, was established on February 25, 1922.
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.
On Friday, September 14, 2018, the final day of the quadrennial symposium of the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB), the assembled delegates from all parts of the world elected our Federation President, Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, to a four-year term as Moderator of the CIB. Her term of office follows the twelve years of service completed by Sister Judith Ann Heble of Chicago.
The role of the Moderator is to coordinate all of the CIB activities. She presides over Conference and Administraive Council meetings and directs the work of the CIB. She also serves as the liaison between the CIB Conference and the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation.
The primary purpose of the CIB is to promote mutual support and exchange of ideas and experience among Benedictine women on an international level and to foster the development of women's monasticism. The CIB also serves to support the relationship between women's communities and the Benedictine Confederation and to advise the Abbot Primate on issues as they relate to Benedictine women. For more information about CIB, visit their website at www.benedictines-cib.org
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).
In a letter dated April 2, 2018, Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, as President of the Federation of St. Scholastica, asks that His Holiness Pope Francis favorably consider the Postulation of St. Gertrude the Great as a Doctor of the Church. To read her letter and learn more about the Postulation, click on the file below.
On Saturday, April 7, 2018, the Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery in Covington, KY elected Sister Aileen Bankemper to serve as their new prioress for the next four years. The outgoing prioress, Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup has served the community as prioress since 2006. Sisters Susan Quaintance (Chicago) and Elaine Fischer (Atchison) were the election discernment facilitators, and Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, Federation President, presided over the election.
March 21, 2018
Wishing you every grace and happiness on this feast of our Holy Father Benedict. May we always run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love. (RB Prol. 49) And may God bring us all together to everlasting life! (RB 72:12)
Let us hold each other in prayer as we continue to seek God in the school of the Lord’s service, asking God to keep us faithful.
With love and prayers for your good,
The 11th Annual Oblate Institute held at the Sophia Spirituality Center in Atchison, KS is scheduled for July 12-15, 2018. The theme of the Institute is "Being Fully Alive: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community." Judith Valente, Oblate of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery, will be the main presenter. She has authored four books on spirituality, is an award-winning journalist and a poet. The brochure for the event, which contains more detailed information and a registration form, may be downloaded below.
The following story ran on the website GoErie.com on February 28, 2018: "Five representatives from the Erie Benedictines for Peace were among about 40 Catholic nuns and leaders who were arrested Tuesday in Washington, D.C. at a rally calling for immigration reform." To read more of this story, follow this link.
The Winter 2018 NAABOD Newsletter is now available via the link below. In the section on the World Congress presentations, you can click on the links to access them.
The Conference of Benedictine Prioresses gathered for its annual assembly in Cullman, AL at the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center from Feb 1-7, 2018. As always it was a great opportunity for the CBP members to share with one another and encourage one another in the ministry of leading monasteries. It wasn’t all work – at the end of the week together, there was a grand Mardi Gras celebration including Cajun food and a Dixieland jazz band providing great entertainment and an opportunity for dancing and fun.”
The Federation of St. Scholastica gives thanks for the life, leadership and service of Sister Johnette Putnam. May she be rejoicing in heaven.
Thank you, Johnette!
The following obituary and photo are from the Mt. St. Scholastica website (www.mountosb.org)
June 2, 1933 - February 4, 2018
Sister Johnette Putnam, OSB, 84, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died Sunday, February 4, 2018, at the monastery. The vigil service will be Thursday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the monastery chapel and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there Friday, February 9, at 10:30 a.m.
Born in New Orleans, La., Sister Johnette was a member of St. Scholastica Priory in Covington, La., until it closed in 1988 and she transferred to Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison. She taught in grade schools in Louisiana and was a principal for several years. From 1958 to 1968, she taught at St. Joseph High School in Chauvin, La., and St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, La. She held a B.A. in English from Mount St. Scholastica College, M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and an honorary doctorate from Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D. In 1968, she was elected prioress in Covington and in 1978 became president of the Federation of St. Scholastica, an organization of Benedictine monasteries. She held this position for 12 years and then was a retreat director at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Ala., before moving to Atchison. There she served as director of Sophia Center from 1992 to 2003 and helped launch Souljourners, an ecumenical program for training spiritual directors at Sophia Center. She wrote many articles and gave lectures and workshops on monastic life, community leadership, liturgy, and spirituality.
Sister Johnette was preceded in death by her parents Gorham and Georgiana Serpas Putnam, by her brothers Charles, Joseph and S. Jerome, and a sister, Emilie Nicaud. She is survived by her twin brother John (Dot) of Tierra Verde, Fla., nieces and nephews, and her monastic family. Arensberg Pruett Funeral Home (www.arensbergpruett.com) is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online at the Mount's web site (www.mountosb.org).
Our Lenten Reflections on Fasting and Feasting will begin on Ash Wednesday and continue each Wednesday in Lent, offering suggestions for prayer, reflection and intentional action.
Emmanuel Monastery, Lutherville, MD
St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA
St. Gertrude Monastery, Ridgely, MD
Freelance writer Olivia Overman contributed an article to the Prince William Living magazine/website noting the 150th anniversary of the community's founding. To see the article, click here.
On Sunday, October 15th, Sister Barbara Austin of Tulsa, OK was installed as the Administrator for the Benedictine Sisters at Queen of Angels Monastery in Liberty, MO. Sister Barbara received a blessing from Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, Federation President, as well as from each member of the Liberty community.
Federation of St. Scholastica
916 Convent Rd NE,
Cullman, AL 35055
CIB Resources- Bulletins