Sister Benedicta Boland, OSB
June 16, 1925 - September 29, 2016
Sister Benedicta Boland, OSB, 91, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kan., died Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, at the monastery. The vigil service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, in the monastery chapel, and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there at 10:30 a.m. Monday, October 3.
Born on a family dairy farm in Port Hudson, Mo., Sister Benedicta was one of ten children of John and Cecilia Boland. When she came to Guthrie, Okla., in 1940, to attend the first vows of Sister Cabrini, her sister, the prioress suggested that Benedicta finish high school with the Benedictines in Guthrie. She did, entering the monastery in 1942, several months before graduation. She was soon asked to accompany community prayers on the organ. She taught in parish and community schools and also served as liturgical minister. After receiving her graduate degree in liturgical studies at The Catholic University of America, she was director of the Tulsa Office of Liturgy from 1978-83. As part of Red Plains Monastery in Oklahoma, she served on its monastic council, and in its formation and oblate programs. In 1983, her focus became spiritual direction, retreats and training others in ministry. When the Red Plains Monastery closed in 2010, the sisters there joined the Benedictines in Atchison. She continued to direct the Retreat in Daily Life in Atchison for several years. She enjoyed music, reading and working outdoors and continued to contribute to the liturgy and music of the monastery until her death.
Sister Benedicta was preceded in death by her parents and by her brother, Father Aloysius Boland, and sisters, Anna Boland, Cecilia Boland, Frances Buchheit, Rose Marie Nealon, and Sister Cabrini Boland, OSB. She is survived by her brothers John, Sylvester and Richard, nieces, nephews, and her monastic family. Arensberg Pruett Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online.
Reflection for the Vigil for Sister Benedicta Boland, OSB
By Sister Marie Ballmann, OSB
Sister Benedicta was the last of the 6 Boland girls to join her family in Heaven. After several weeks of gradual weakening and increased difficulty breathing , she spoke less and saved her energy so she could participate in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Eucharist she so loved. She told Sr. Anne that she wanted to go heaven on the feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Rafael and that's just what she did. God could not deny this chosen daughter her final request.
On behalf of the Mount St. Scholastica community, I want to extend our sympathy and prayers to Sister Benedicta’s family: to her brothers – Richard & his wife Doris, Sylvester and his wife Theresa, to Marlene, her sister-in-law, whose husband John (Benedicta's brother, was unable to come, to all her nieces and nephews and their children, and to her former students, oblates and many, many friends.
Benedicta, the 4th child of John and Cecelia Boland, grew up in a faith-filled family of 6 girls and 4 boys on a large dairy farm in Port Hudson, MO. Their lives revolved around their family, daily chores, and St. Joseph’s School and Church. They were present for most of the services there because their father was the organist.
When the parish high school closed in 1940, Theresa (Benedicta) had finished the 10th grade. The Prioress of St. Joseph’s Convent in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where her aunt and sister were members, invited Theresa to come to Guthrie and finish high school there at St. Joseph’s Academy. Shortly after graduation she entered St. Joseph’s Convent.
Benedicta had a rich & varied ministerial life. At first, she taught elementary classes plus music, and was often the parish musician, as well. She was the liturgist for several parishes and for the monastic community. Then Vatican II came on the scene and promised to bring to fruition all Benedicta’s hopes and dreams for the Church. She was ecstatic about all the possibilities and could quote easily and passionately from the Council documents. The depths of Baptism and the Eucharist became her theme song. She had the fire of the Spirit in her, for sure.
Here are two examples of her passion for liturgy that I remember from her workshops…
“... Jesus was anointed priest, prophet and king, so may you live.” These words from the Baptismal liturgy guided and enriched Sr. Benedicta's life for many years. It flowed from her like a fountain to slake the thirst of all those she taught, encouraged and supported on their life’s journey and their journey into the heart of God.
Out of the Vatican II documents, she stressed that we are the “People of God”, that is taken for granted now, bit was the best of good news then. We are called by our Baptism to share in the Priesthood of Christ, to participate and celebrate this great mystery with the Presider. We already knew that Christ was present in the Eucharist, but Christ was present in the words of scripture, too, and Christ was also present in the very gathering of the faithful. We are “the Body of Christ.” We, ourselves become the offering on the altar to be transformed into Christ. Every Eucharist is a renewal of our Baptismal covenant. This was the energy and passion that Sr. Benedicta lived her whole life.
With a graduate degree in liturgical studies from Catholic University, Benedicta became the first Director of the Tulsa Diocesan Office of Liturgy 1978-83. She visited each parish and mission, invigorating the people with a renewed sense of what a liturgy can be. In her enthusiasm she said, “My whole life has been a build-up and preparation for what I am doing today.”
From Tulsa she took time off to care for her mother the last 10 months of her life. Then the Benedictine Peace House beckoned her to Oklahoma City where she joined in the efforts of education & advocacy for peace.
Benedicta's last major ministry was the Retreat in Daily Life in Piedmont, Oklahoma. She was a group facilitator and a spiritual director. This 30 week retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius welcomed people of all faiths. It opened people’s minds, hearts and souls to a deeper realization of the humanity of Jesus and the depth of Christ's presence within them. This sent Benedicta's heart soaring.
Dear Benedicta, we will miss your spirit!