Five Benedictines Celebrate Golden Anniversary

7 July 2013

In 1963, five sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, had the distinction of being the “centennial class” when they made their monastic profession. A half century later, a July 7th celebration within the monastery’s 150th anniversary festivities honored them on their golden jubilee. 

Sister Ann Diettrich came to Atchison from Chicago to attend college and pursued studies in education. After some years as a primary teacher, she received a master’s degree in early childhood education. She administered child care centers in Kansas City, Kansas, and was director of early childhood education at Donnelly College. Also trained in clinical pastoral care, she has spent most of the past two decades as a parish visitor for the sick and elderly for several parishes in Kansas City. Having been a lay Benedictine oblate herself before becoming a sister, she was happy to serve for 18 years as director of an oblate group in Kansas City, Kansas, where she resides.

Two other members of the class came to the monastery by way of attending Mount St. Scholastica College although they came from places as rural as Sister Ann’s was urban. Sister Barbara McCracken grew up in Wymore, Nebraska. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in the social sciences. Much of her ministry, after some years as a teacher, has been in the area of peace and justice. She has been a speaker and archdiocesan consultant in these concerns, lived at a Catholic Worker House with the homeless, and currently works at the Keeler Women’s Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

Sister Angela Ostermann came from Brunswick, Missouri. She came to the college to study home economics and later received her master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics.  For most of her years in community, she has been in charge of food service for the sisters, which now includes being dietician for Dooley Center, the care facility at the monastery. She recently retired after many years of teaching at Mount St. Scholastica College and later Benedictine College. She also served for several years as the director of new members of the community.

Sister Rosann Eckart is a native of Wamego, Kansas, where she was taught by Benedictines. After attending the Mount Academy in Atchison, she returned home and worked as a dental assistant for three years while discerning her vocation. Her life’s work has been as a teacher and, after earning her master’s degree in education, as an elementary school principal. Hers would definitely be called an active retirement as she is now a member of the maintenance staff at the monastery, assisting in construction, repairs, and groundskeeping. She also serves as the community archivist.

The fifth sister, Sister Fran Cross, came by a distinctively different path. In her early life in the Clay County and Lee’s Summit area of Kansas City, Missouri, she was not raised Catholic. She worked in an insurance office for nine years during which time she joined the Church and got to know the Benedictine sisters in her parish of Guardian Angels. In community, she did office work until 1980 when she received a degree in physical education from Benedictine College and became an aerobic dance instructor and swimming teacher. Before her recent retirement, she spent 25 years as registrar at Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kansas. Now she is back at a desk, assisting in the monastery’s development office. 

All are recognized with gratitude for their lives of prayer, active involvement in community life and their enthusiastic service as tireless workers for the sisters and those whom they serve. 

Reflection given at the Jubilee Mass.

Here are some photos from the celebration.