Sister Cecilia Olson
Over the years, my ministries focused on either teaching or coordinating liturgies, both at Mount St. Scholastica and for six years in a parish. I can honestly say that I loved both worlds! Now, in my “senior years,” I find myself with the opportunity to be engaged once again in these same ministries!
First, the ministry of teaching. When a woman first enters our monastery, she takes classes that introduce her to this new way of life that she is exploring. I have the privilege of teaching a class called “Monastic Values” where, each week, the postulant – accompanied by five or six professed sisters – reflects on core values of our common life: prayer, moderation, obedience and hospitality, to mention a few. When the postulant enters into her canonical year, she studies in depth the Rule of St. Benedict. Again, this is one of my favorite classes! Over a 12 month period, the novice walks through the Rule chapter by chapter, again alongside five or six professed sisters. I find that sharing my understanding and love of the Rule and responding to the questions and insights of the postulant or novice challenges me to articulate how living and following this Rule gives meaning and direction to my life. The classes never fail to deepen and enrich my own understanding of the Rule and renew my desire to embrace it more fully. St. Benedict calls the monastery “a school of the Lord’s service.” It truly is a school in which we each are students, always learning, always awakening a bit more throughout our lives to what it means to faithfully live the way of the Gospel and the way of Benedict.
My love of liturgical work continues as I now serve as the community sacristan. Primarily, this is a detailed job with a number of behind-the-scenes responsibilities that range from making sure the readings are marked for the Liturgy of the Hours, preparing the lectionary and Roman Missal for Eucharist, laying out the correct vestment, lighting candles (and cleaning off lots of wax!) to turning lights and sound systems off and on, etc. etc.
As for “part-time” ministries, I enjoy helping with the liturgical environment, serving on the liturgy team, playing the piano as needed for our liturgical gatherings and being a part of the “house movie team.” That last one involves the auspicious task of choosing a good movie for the Sisters to watch as a group every other Friday; this is not always an easy task!
Living a monastic life calls forth the gifts of each member. I consider my life very blessed in that I am able to serve in ways that bring joy to my heart and, hopefully, to my community!