As treasurer of the community, my primary responsibility is to steward the assets of the monastery. For me this means responsible care and decision marking of all that is entrusted to me – not for the sake of accumulating financial resources, but for the service of others, whether that be our own community members, our employees, those we serve through our ministries, or all the people who share our earth.
St. Benedict, in his Rule, provides much guidance for us in stewarding the assets of the monastery. His guiding principles include: sharing all things in common, distributing the goods of the monastery according to need, caring for all the goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, and the recognition that all we have comes from God.
Along with the staff in the business office, I am called to minister in many ways.
Serving all as Christ: First, we minister to our sisters in community by welcoming them with their daily requests, no matter how large or small, and responding to each as Christ in a non-judgmental way. Benedict says: “Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, but whoever needs more should feel humble because of their weakness, not self-important because of the kindness shown them. In this way all the members will be at peace.” (Chapter 34 of the Rule)
Ministering to our employees: We minister to our employees by providing just wages, generous benefits, and a safe and supportive work environment. We try to create a work environment where our employees are challenged to use their gifts, are able to support their families, and thrive as individuals to grow. When employees struggle because of illness or family needs, we assist them with loans and we offer scholarships to further their education. We strive for economic justice for all laborers.
Charitable giving to those in need: Acknowledging that many donors, families and friends have been generous to us, we commit ourselves to sharing our resources with those less fortunate, responding to natural disasters throughout the world, immigrants at our borders, clients of Keeler Women’s Center, and our own Atchison friends and neighbors in need.
Stewardship in our investments: We strive to be good stewards of all the resources entrusted to us. Our investment policy begins, “Through our investments we exercise our responsibility to care for ourselves and the future members of Mount St. Scholastica. We also recognize our responsibility and obligation to have our corporate investments reflect the promotion of human life in all stages and of social justice according to Gospel principles.” And so we exclude certain companies from our portfolio, such as fossil fuel companies, or manufacturers of chemical weapons. We actively promote and support shareholder resolutions directed toward human rights, equal opportunities for all, and protecting our earth. We work with our investment managers to actively seek out companies that share our values and promote good.
Caring for our earth: Benedict tells us to treat all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing be neglected. In addition to our community efforts to recycle, we carefully use and reuse all equipment and materials. We encourage the use of biodegradable products, and have purchased hybrid vehicles and solar panels to conserve on fossil fuel usage.
Sister Molly Brockwell is the Human Resource director who works most closely with our employees.
Sister Barbara McCracken is coordinator of Benedictines for Peace and also files our shareholder resolutions and votes our investment proxies.
Sister Grace Malaney and Alison Simpson respond to the many daily requests of our sisters, employees and vendors…they have many opportunities to welcome Christ in the other.