Friday, April 29, 2011


The Sisters of St. Benedict extend our sincere congratulations to Father Charles C. Thompson, named by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger as bishop of Evansville! And we send our warm wishes to Bishop Gettelfinger as he moves on to retirement. Our prayers are with you both.

Mad Hatters

Some sisters and employees had a royal time at breakfast this morning, showing up in fancy hats and regalia to have a little fun alongside the Royal Wedding festivities in London. There were smiles aplenty amidst all the hoopla, as the group proved they can dress quite fancily on this side of the pond, too.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Between the Storms

All of us in the Midwest are no doubt tired of the storms and rain that seem to be a permanent fixture these days. We are especially aware of all those in the south who were hit hard yesterday by the tornadoes. We are praying for the families who have lost loved ones, homes, and businesses. Also in our prayers are all those in our area who have been affected by flooding.

Today however, right in between two storms, God sent us a beautiful double rainbow! What a joy to see and a great reminder that God is with us and has made a promise to be there right by our side for all of time. Though it may not feel like it now, God IS in our midst. Let us hold each other in prayer and remember our loving God who not only sent us a rainbow today but also sent Jesus, His only son to die for us. Happy Easter blessings to you all!

Did you see the double rainbow tonight? If so, where were you when you saw it and what thoughts came to your mind? Please share with us!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thanks to donors, we have new energy-efficient windows

For those who contributed to our last Home Appeal, here’s how your gift is being put to excellent use! Thanks to our generous supporters, new energy-efficient windows are being installed on the main floor of the monastery.

The impressive arch-top windows are 122 inches tall and 70 inches wide. Each has 22 panes of tinted glass that’s 5/8 inch. The 23 new insulated windows replace ones that are 75 years old and have been leaking air.

Keusch Glass, Inc. of Jasper, Indiana, is coordinating the window replacement, with Mohr Construction, Ferdinand, doing removal and installation. Work began April 12 and has continued between — and despite — frequent episodes of rain. So far seven windows — five in St. Gertrude Hall and two in the serving room — have been installed. The dining room windows are next on the agenda. Eventually, work will be done to replace the old woodwork and trim for each of the windows.

We’re grateful for the overwhelming response to last summer’s appeal that has made it possible for us to replace all 23 of the old windows. Blessings to all who have made this major project such a huge success!

Top: A heavy plastic curtain keeps the air from blowing through the serving room. Above left: Jeff Mohr and Tony Mohr remove part of the arch from an old window. Above right: They install the arch of a new window. Left: A newly installed window provides a striking frame for a lovely view of the monastery grounds and the countryside beyond.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Some visitors from the Federation

Sister Joella Kidwell recently welcomed five sisters from other Benedictine communities to the monastery for the spring meeting of the Federation of St. Gertrude Council. Sister Joella is Federation president. The Federation consists of 16 member monasteries of Benedictine women in the U.S. and Canada.
On the agenda for the Federation Council was planning for the Federation Chapter meeting, which will be held in Ferdinand from June 30 to July 6. About 60 sisters are expected to attend. The past three living presidents of the Federation are also invited in observance of the Federation’s 75th anniversary in April 2012. The three and their years as presidents are Sister Mary Rose (Anselm) Hammerling, from St. Benedict’s Monastery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1981-1990; Sister Ruth Fox, Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, North Dakota, 1990-1999; and Sister Kathryn Huber, Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, 1999-2008.
Sister Joella and the five councilors graciously posed for a photo on the monastery balcony, despite some strong wind gusts. From left are Sister Mary Ann Schepers, councilor, Holy Spirit Monastery in Grand Terrace, California; Sister Anita Whalen, councilor, Mt. St. Benedict Monastery in Crookston, Minnesota; Sister Jill West, councilor, Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton, North Dakota; Sister Jennifer Kehrwald, first councilor, Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, South Dakota; Sister Maureen Therese Cooney, councilor, Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana; and Sister Joella Kidwell, president, Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

Today, Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week - the holiest week of the year for Christians. Through our liturgies and rituals this week, we commemorate the final days of Jesus' life, his death, and resurrection.

At our liturgy today, we observed Christ's entry into Jerusalem, a triumphal procession with blessed palm branches and songs of "Hosanna in the highest."  On Holy Thursday we will carry out Jesus' words, "Do this in memory of me," as we celebrate the Last Supper liturgy. During Good Friday services we remember Jesus' journey to Cavalry and his death on a cross. And on Holy Saturday, in the dark silence of the tomb, we wait for those Easter words, "Alleluia! He is risen! Let us rejoice and be glad!"

We hope that you will join us in prayer during these holy days.

Palm Sunday reflection by Sister Karen Joseph, OSB

(Sister Paulette Seng)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring, a season of new birth, new beginings

Wow! It is so hard to believe that my first year as a novice, my Canonical Novitiate, is almost over. On April 25, during evening prayer, I will be recieving a blessing as I enter into my second year as a novice. I have learned so much this past year. I have also grown as a person, both spiritually, and physically. This past year, I have studied Monastic History, The Holy Rule of Benedict, and I have also studied our Monastic Professions and Practices. I have also learned a lot from the sisters here with whom I work, eat, pray, and play! The sisters have taught me to look outside of myself, to see things from a different light, and a different perspective. My way isn't the only way! Living in community sure takes a lot of patience, love, and compassion. We are not here to do our will, but the will of God who sent us. I have been truley blessed with the experiences that I have had this past year. These sisters and this community are such gift to me and to those who they serve in their various ministries. As a community, we have grown in my opinion, just in the time that I have been here. We have seen nine sisters pass away to their heavenly home, we have felt the economic cruch that all of society has felt, we continue to lean on each other and support each other, even though it may not always be easy. We have moved to new living groups and learned how to adapt to these new situations. Even though I haven't made my profession yet, I can feel that these sisters do everything they can to live out their professions of Fidelity to the Monastic life, Stability to this community, this current prioress, and the Rule of Benedict. There is deffinetly a feeling of love in this community. And this community strives daily to live out conversatio. To be willing and open to whatever life throws at you. It is for all of these reasons and many more, that I am proud to be a part of this community. Also, I have grown in my prayer life. By being faithful to common prayer as well as being faithful to personal prayer, I am showing my sisters that I am taking what we are and who we are seriously. Not every day is easy, I don't expect that they will be. However, I always keep this quote from the Rule in the front of my mind, "Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love"(RB Prol. verses 48-49). This next step in my formation will bring many new experiences, new beginings, new births. I will find a part time job, I will continue to serve my sisters here at the monastery, I will move to a new living group. I am looking forward to all of these things. I am also feeling a bit anxious, because it is all going to be a new experience, a transition time. But I know that by doing all of these new things, I will continue to grow in many ways. In May I will be attending NADI-Novices and Directors Institute. This will allow me to interact with other Benedictine Novices from all over. To share my story and learn theirs. This next year is going to be yet another gift, another year of my new monastic journey. God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I get asked often about dating. If you're a nun, you can't date, but that doesn't mean that nuns have never dated. Of course, if my dad would have had his way, I wouldn't have dated until I was 50.

The last date I went on was the weekend before I entered the monastery. This guy I had been working with wanted to do something nice for me as a way to say good-bye. He knew it was the last date. I knew it was the last date. But my dad must have been a little worried.

When he came to pick me up, my dad asked him what his dad's name was and what his dad did for a living. These seemed like reasonable questions, but they didn't end there. He then asked him what he thought about genetically altered crops. Genetically altered crops??? I don't know what that had to do with anything. His dad was a truck driver. I then started saying we had to go, but I was powerless, and the questions continued. My dad then asked, "Do you know how rice is grown?" I was annoyed at my dad's questions, but was thoroughly impressed with the guy's answers. He answered well, and, unfortunately, the questions continued. "What do you think about our trade relations with China?" What!!! Trade relations with China??? I couldn't believe it. I tried, to no avail, to get us out of the house. I must say that the guy was extremely good at handling the bizarre situation.

Finally, my dad said, "OK. I'll let you go if you answer one more question. What was one of the causes of WWI?" Oh, my gosh. I couldn't believe the interrogation this guy had to go through. My only thinking was that maybe my dad was worried I'd change my mind about joining the monastery.

That was the last question, and I believe he passed the pop quiz with flying colors. He knew my dad's reputation, but that was certainly more than either of us would have bargained for. He let out a deep sigh when we got to the car. We then enjoyed a very, very nice dinner. After all, he had earned it. My dad had nothing to worry about. I entered the monastery a week later, which was almost 10 years ago.