Four Sisters Celebrate 25 Years of Monastic Profession
Sisters Molly Brockwell, Oanh Pham, Bridget Dickason, and Susan Barber
Four Benedictine sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison have marked 25 years of monastic profession. Sister Susan Barber encountered Benedictines early in life as a student at St. Pius X School in Mission, Kansas, and again when she attended Benedictine College. Having studied music there, she has been an elementary and junior high school teacher, gives music lessons, and is an organist and pianist for the monastery’s liturgies. After more than a decade as the liturgist for the Mount community, she is currently on sabbatical. She also writes intercessions and blessings for the popular national publication Give Us This Day. As a musician and liturgist, Sister Susan has a great appreciation of the prayers and Eucharist at her monastery, but prayer is only part of the appeal. “I am most appreciative of the rhythm of Benedictine life, with its prayer, community, ministry, and the balance, integration, and careful listening in which we are constantly challenged to stretch, grow, and trust God,” she says.
Sister Molly Brockwell is also a graduate of Benedictine College. Her family lived in several places when she was growing up, but her parents currently reside in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her degree in theology and has been working as a high school religion teacher, most recently at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas. She recalls now how young she was when she came to community: “The community shaped me and gave me so many gifts and opportunities. I was drawn by the wonderful people and that’s what keeps me here.”
Sister Bridget Dickason was educated by the Benedictines at Sacred Heart/Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kansas, and graduated from St. Joseph High School in Shawnee, and Benedictine College. She has taught high school religion and English and is currently associate director at Keeler Women’s Center. She believes that all she does is because the Mount “has helped form me into the person God has created me to be. I am daily purified by the crucible of the Paschal Mystery and sustained by the common life of the Mount.”
The journey of Sister Oahn Pham is very different from the others. Born in Viet Nam, she left with a group of LaSallian sisters after the fall of Saigon. Her path led to Fort Chaffee, Ark., then Fresno, Cal., and finally to Kansas, where she met the Atchison sisters. She earned a nursing degree at Washburn University, and works at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. She says, simply, “I praise the Lord for my blessings each day.”
The four sisters celebrated with their community, familiy, and friends at a Mass in Atchison on July 13, at which time they renewed their profession.