The Federation of Saint Scholastica, comprised of 20 Monasteries of Benedictine Women, was established on February 25, 1922.

Sr. Jennifer Halling makes Perpetual Profession of Vows – May 15, 2022

St. Gertrude Monastery in Newark, Delaware      re-elects Sr. Catherine Godfrey as Prioress

The Sisters of St. Gertrude Monastery in Newark, Delaware re-elected Sister Catherine Godfrey. She will serve a 7 year term. (Her first term was 5 years - another 7 will take her to the maximum 12 years, per Federation Constitution). Thank you, Catherine, for your YES! God bless you and your sisters. 

St. Walburg Monastery in Covington, KY       re-elects Sr. Aileen Bankemper as Prioress

The Sisters of St. Walburga Monastery today re-elected Sister Aileen Bankemper for another four year term of office as prioress. Rejoice with them. Thank you to Aileen for her YES!


Benedictine College’s Sister Linda Herndon was not in the spotlight at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce dinner in November, but she was highly honored there, thanks to the keynote speaker.

“A million little things had to go right for me to be standing here standing here in front of you today,” Davyeon Ross told the crowd at the KC Chamber Annual Dinner. “Benedictine College had to bring me in. My family and my village had to encourage me. And Sister Linda had to push me to reach my fullest potential.”

Ross, who serves on the board of directors for Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, is the co-founder of DD sports, known for its innovative Shot Tracker software, which touts Magic Johnson and David Stern as investors and Klay Thompson as a spokesperson.

Before he got a scholarship to play basketball at Benedictine, he was a high school student in Trinidad and Tobago who led the nation in basketball field goal percentage.

“While I was blessed with athletic ability and this goofy smile, in our house and in the dictionary, academics always comes before athletics,” he said. “Where I grew up, being academically inclined or athletically gifted was great. But it was not enough to guaranteed me what I needed most: an opportunity.”

And for people like him to have an opportunity, Ross one thing was key: community.

“What can people do?  The same thing that this community did for me.  Open doors and provide opportunity.”

The first community that’s important is the family, he said. In his case, “Mom and Dad demonstrated work ethic, dedication, demanded excellence. Both of them would pray over me as I slept in the early morning, not realizing that I heard those prayers of protection and love. Love. We got to get back to love, y’all.”

He saw that same commitment to community, faith and scholarship when he went to college, he said.

A person wearing glasses Description automatically generated with low confidence“Allow me to introduce you to a special lady whose love and support has left a mark, he said: “Sister Linda.”

Sister Linda taught his 8 a.m. computer science class at Benedictine College. Now only was she “sharp as a tack,” he said, but “Sister Linda loved basketball. And she was the loudest one in the arena. … After every game, Sister Linda would cut out my clippings. All I had to do is look for the clippings, and that was my seat for the day in Sister Linda’s class.”

At the same time, though, Sister Linda demanded academic excellence. “But she had zero tolerance for shenanigans. This may not be a surprise to some of you, but I majored in shenanigans before I met her,” Ross said. “Unimpressed by my boyish charm, mastery of the queen’s English, and Caribbean accent, she challenged me and saw in me what I had not seen in myself. We became fast friends.”

He describes how after one road game when the team returned to Atchison at 3 a.m., he skipped his 8 a.m. class. “I thought, ‘You know what? Your boy got buckets last night. Sister Linda is cool. She loves me. I’ll be all good.’  Wrong! I strolled into basketball practice, obviously very well rested. Sister Linda had already made a call to Coach. She told Coach that I missed class that morning. Man, I had to run sprints for the entire hour.”

Most of all, he said, Sister Linda “expected excellence from me. She refused to let me fail. Now that I remember it, those clippings that she cut were always in the front row. Sister Linda wanted to keep me close. I thought she was teaching me computer science. But she was preparing me for life. It reinforced the foundation my parents laid from my childhood.”

Ross quoted the Parable of Talents from the Gospel of Luke. “From everyone to whom much is given, much will be required,” he said.

His parting advice: “Include people. Nurture them.  Refuse to let them fail, in spite of themselves.”

Photos from the 55 and Under Gathering       in Beech Grove, IN




St Lucy Priory in Glendora, CA re-elects      Sr. Elizabeth Brown as Prioress

Benedictine women send donations to their sisters in the Ukraine

“Now I see the horror of war no longer on the news. I see it in the eyes of the people I meet. These are families who have already seen tanks in the squares of their cities or who have had their homes destroyed. They knock on our door without knowing anyone, they see the monastery on the street and they come and ask for refuge,” writes Abbess Klara, Benedictine nuns of the Immaculate Conception of Zhytomyr. Read more.

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie have joined with women’s Benedictine monasteries around the world in offering financial support to our sisters and those they serve in the Ukraine. By way of Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum(CIB), whose members represent women’s monasteries on almost every continent, the sisters have sent more than $200,000 in dollars and euros to aid victims and refugees of Putin’s war on Ukraine. The monies have gone directly to Mother Blandyna Michniewicz, Abbess of the Monastery of Benedictine Nuns of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Warsaw and a CIB delegate for the region of Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania. She and the sisters in the Ukraine are working together to meet needs as best they can.

If you would like to offer financial assistance CIB is collecting funds via their PayPal account. All monies donated through this link will go directly to the Benedictine Sisters in Poland for immediate refugee relief. DONATE HERE.

Sister Lynn McKenzie, OSB, moderator of the CIB, communicates information received from the sisters in Poland. “The nuns of the monastery in Zhytomyr have evacuated to another monastery in L’viv, in the far western part of Ukraine. I have learned that they are receiving approximately 100 refugees from other parts of Ukraine per day and feeding them and sending them on their way, hopefully to safety. We pray for the safety and good health of the nuns now in L’viv. Indeed, we pray for all Benedictines and people of Ukraine who have lived through this atrocity. We give God thanks for their fidelity and love.”

In addition to financial assistance, CIB sisters in Germany have also organized the shipment of medicines and bandages to Ukraine. The transport went from Germany to Warsaw and from there passed through a “well organized ‘corridor’ and transportation network in Ukraine to reach the most needy,” according to Sister Caterina Gorgen at the Benedictine Abbey of Engelthal in Germany.

Both Mother Blandyna and Sister Caterina have sent photos. “I think you will be moved as I was in viewing the video (see below) of the Missionary Sister of St Benedict playing the guitar and singing a rhythmic song to the children, as well as the photos of the children doing artwork that depicts the war that they have just escaped in Ukraine as they came to Poland for refuge,” wrote Sister Lynn. “As I viewed the children’s expressiveness in their art, I thought how terrible it is that these children know so much about war. Thanks be to God that they made it safely to Poland. Who knows what the future holds for them.” The photos were taken in Poland where the children and the Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict from Ukraine have arrived safely after their escape.

The other photos show the preparation and sendoff of the medical supplies, including their border stop.

If you would like to offer financial assistance CIB is collecting funds via their PayPal account. All monies donated through this link will go directly to the Benedictine Sisters in Poland for immediate refugee relief. DONATE HERE.

Benedictine Sisters Donate to Ukraine

Link to original Article

Where farming know-how and the Rule of St. Benedict meet.

This week, Sister Elaine Fischer, OSB, who is director of maintenance for the Benedictine Sisters of Atchison, takes Leaven readers inside her ministry.

Q. What is your title and where do you minister?

A. I am a member of the Benedictine monastery of Mount St. Scholastica. I am the director of maintenance for our campus and buildings.

Q. How would you describe what you do not as a Sister, but as the maintenance director for the Mount?

A. I direct and oversee the day-to-day operations of our facilities; and oversee and schedule preventative maintenance and as-needed repairs of buildings, grounds and associated systems and equipment. I supervise and work with our maintenance  staff and   solicit bids and work with various contractors. I work closely with our monastery leadership in future planning of our campus and buildings.

We have done various energy audits to help us determine how to save energy costs, and in the past several years, we have been updating our heating system to high-efficient boilers and changed most of our lighting over to LED. We have also invested in solar panels to provide a small portion of our electricity.

Q. How would you describe how your work to maintain the Sisters’ buildings, plant and campus fit into the larger mission of the Catholic Church?

A. The mission of the Catholic Church is carry out and continue the work of Jesus Christ, share the word of God, help those in need and live as example. So, I try to approach every situation in my work with the “golden rule” and try to treat everyone and everything with dignity and respect.

Q. Is this what you set out to do in life?

Not really, but from an early age, I knew I wanted to help people, to work with my hands and stay connected to the land.

Q. If not, what road led you to this place?

A. Growing up on a farm, working the land and caring for animals with my family. On the farm, we learned to be self-sufficient and used creative problem-solving. I think those gifts and abilities are a part of who I am and when I entered the community, the gifts were recognized and further cultivated.

For example, I was given the opportunity to make the furniture for the bedrooms in Dooley Center (nursing center). We looked at buying various items, but had trouble finding items made of good material and construction. So, over a year, I made a dresser, night stand, vanity and wardrobe for 46 bedrooms.

It was a lot of work, but a real privilege to make those items for our Sisters to use.

Q. Did you collect some skills from other jobs along the way that have proved surprisingly applicable? If so, explain.

A. I worked as a firefighter/EMT in Atchison for seven years. The ability to assess a situation and see what needs to be done quickly was further developed in my work at the fire station. The ability to listen and care for people when life is most challenging was expanded along with the deep sense of the dignity of all people and the stewardship of personal property.

Q. What would the average Catholic be most surprised to learn about your job?

A. People might be surprised about the variety my job entails. I can do something as ordinary as taking out the garbage to working with our honeybees, mopping up a flood to participating in a meeting about corporate compliance for our licensed care facility. Every single day is different.

Q. Who does your ministry primarily serve?

A. The members of my monastic community and our sponsored ministries, such as our spirituality center (Sophia Center).

Q. What do you wish everybody knew about your ministry?

A. It is a tremendous privilege to work with our employees, contractors and my community members and to be a good steward of all the gifts God has blessed our community with.

Q. Why does the world need more of what you’re offering, do you think? Especially right now?

A. I think the world needs to ponder the line from the Rule of St. Benedict on treating all things as vessels of the altar. That statement for me is how I try to approach life. All things — ranging from people, animals, down to basic hand tools you use in the garden — all things have intrinsic value, need to be honored and treated with gentle hands and great respect.

Q. What have you learned about people in this job?

A. Every day, I am deeply impressed by people’s willingness to help each other and their ability to deal with each other’s less polished edges. Some days we are better at this than others, but we continue to try and forgive each other.

Q. What have you learned about yourself?

A. I absolutely love new challenges and finding different ways to deal with the daily issues in the world of maintenance. I enjoy the variety and continue to find myself in awe of God’s creative and transforming presence in my life and my community.

Q. How has it changed the way you view your identity as a Catholic?

A. I don’t think the ministry has so much changed my identity as a Catholic as it has deepened my Catholic faith in the sense of recognizing the inherent dignity of all people and the wonder of the interconnectedness of all creation.

Sister Bernadine Reyes elected Prioress  of Boerne, TX

On November 21, 2021, the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery in Boerne, Texas elected Sister Bernadine Reyes, OSB as our Prioress. Sister Bernadine, who held the position of Prioress from 2001-2018, succeeds Sister Frances Briseño, OSB who suffered a stroke in March 2021.
For the past two years, Sister Bernadine has served as Director of Ministries and as a member of the Sisters’ Formation Team. She currently serves on the Sam’s Kids Board in Boerne.
Sister Sylvia Ahr, OSB, who was appointed the community’s Administrator in April 2021, will remain Administrator until Sister Bernadine is officially installed as Prioress in early 2022.
Sister Elaine Fischer, OSB of Mt. St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kansas served as the election discernment facilitator. Sister Lynn McKenzie, OSB of the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama and President of the Federation of St. Scholastica presided at the canonical election.

What One Lawyer Learned Living with Nuns in Alabama While Representing a Man on Death Row 

The following article was written by Don Cameron Clark Jr. who wrote the book Summary Judgment. It discusses the impact Sr Lynn and the Culman community had on his life. A great read - as is the book!


What One Lawyer Learned Living with Nuns

Visitation - St. Scholastica Monastery,                  Atchison, KS    November 2-7, 2021

Visitators: Sr. Susan Quaintance, Sr. Lynn McKenzie, and Sr. Michaela Hedican

Prayer Shawls Auction

Be part of the 100th Anniversary of the Benedictine Women’s Federation of St. Scholastica in 2022


All proceeds from the sale of these 10 beautiful shawls made with prayerful hands and loving hearts by Sister Ana Cloughly, Colorado Springs, CO, and Sister Dolores Dean, Bristow, VA, will help support the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Benedictine Women's Federation of St. Scholastica in June 2022. Titled "Benedictine Life: A Vision Unfolding," the celebration will include a public prayer and celebration, a special anniversary issue of Benedictines magazine, and a Benedictine Colloquium open to all Benedictine seekers.


Six speakers will present papers at a hybrid colloquium with participants both on site at Mount Saint Scholastica in Atchison, KS, and anywhere else via virtual attendance. Registrations for both options will open soon. More information at

“Over the next four years (2018-2022) take the 17 communities of the Federation of St. Scholastica and monasticism itself to new levels of visibility in the church and the world by publicly celebrating the vision and dedication of Benedictine women over the past 100 years while at the same time supporting current works as well as new and wider efforts to bring the peace of Christ and the justice of the gospel to today’s turbulent world.”


Ana Cloughly, OSB,
Andrea Westkamp, OSB,
Catherine Martinez, OSB, Elizabeth Brown, OSB,
Judith Sutera, OSB,
Linda Romey, OSB,

Visitation - St. Walburg Monastery,                  Covington, Kentucky    October 14-17, 2021

For Pittsburgh Benedictines, a "glorious" Easter after the Covid 19 ordeal. 

Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh link to article



NAABOD (North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors) Newsletter

2020 - Final_Fall. NAABOD Newsletter.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [952.4 KB]

Sister Sue Fazzini from Pittsburgh Benedictines

The Global Sisters Report features a question and answers interview with Sister Sue Fazzini about her ministry with incarcerated individuals:

Sister Stephanie Schmidt elected Prioress in Erie

Sister Anne Wambach, prioress, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress-elect, Sister Lynn McKenzie, president and Sister Michaela Hedican, election discernment facilitator. Sister Anne Wambach, prioress, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress-elect, Sister Lynn McKenzie, president and Sister Michaela Hedican, election discernment facilitator.

The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania, on July 12, 2020, elected Sister Stephanie Schmidt as their 22nd prioress.  Stephanie succeeds Sister Anne Wambach, who served the community as prioress for the last ten years.  For the last ten years, Sister Stephanie has been director of initial formation.

Sister Michaela Hedican, OSB of St. Benedict Monastery (St. Joseph, Minnesota) served as the election discernment facilitator.  Sister Lynn McKenzie, OSB presided at the canonical election.”

Bristow Sisters recognized in local publication

Once again the Benedictine Sisters of St. Benedict Monastery in Bristow, VA are recognized in the Prince William Living publication. The May 31, 2020 edition and article are accessible through the following link:

Coronavirus Edition of the Gyrovagi Published

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