Sister Jeanne d'Arc Kernion
My ministries continue to be centered on books, perhaps because that’s all I know. English, especially literature, was my field of study, and is what I taught for most of my teaching years until I retired from the seminary college at age 81. So, I have continued to lead book discussions at Mount St. Scholastica, both with a group of Sisters in Dooley Center and another in the monastery.
Again with books, I help in the library with processing new books before they are available to the community. And, since one cannot just sit and read all day, I help with some of the chores essential to our life in community. And I write a little.
What I do could be, and is, done by anyone interested in and with some knowledge of books. But essential to my sharing the knowledge of books, especially of fiction, is my considering good fiction as a form of theology and spirituality. My monastic formation with its emphasis on community contributes to this viewpoint.
I believe that every piece of fiction worth reading has something to say about our relationship with God and with others. When I taught the modern novel course to college seminarians, I always reminded them of John Henry Newman’s quote that there cannot be a sinless literature about a sinful people, and since they would one day sit in the confessional and hear people’s sins, reading and understanding good literature would help them to understand and be compassionate.
This is also true for all of us. We are called to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. So we, too, need to understand ourselves and others, why we do or do not act in certain ways. We can learn a lot from the people we meet in literature.
I am aware that there are many books that don’t fit this category, ones I would refer to as “airplane” books, and these have their place. For me, though, my choice is a book that has some wisdom and depth.
Sister Delores Dolezal
My primary ministry is being present for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Eucharist, and being obedient to my Sisters. That truly is my PRIMARY ministry. As for “labora,” I am a gardener inside the monastery and outside the monastery. Inside the monastery, I care for the Monastery plants and, when needed, assist any Sister with care of her plant. Daily, I take out the compost collected from our kitchen. Outside on the monastery grounds, I give care and harvest our asparagus, rhubarb, gooseberries, and aronia berries. I also tend an area of the flower garden by planting and caring for flowers. Making sure there is clean water and food for the birds is another ministry I delight in doing. My part-time ministries are doing dishes and assisting with liturgical needs.
Being a Benedictine Sister is integral to my life and ministry because I try to follow the Rule of Benedict and Scholastica in doing ALL for the honor and glory of God. Whether I am watering plants, trimming plants, repotting a plant, scrubbing pots, pulling weeds, pushing a wheelbarrow or harvesting, I am constantly calling on God for assistance. I ask God for help in treating ALL as vessels of the altar.
** To facilitate Sister Delores’ ministry, a shed constructed in 2021with materials recycled from other monastery buildings was gifted to her as a place to store her bird feed and garden seeds.