Sister Therese Elias
I was born at the Atchison Hospital several days after my parents moved from Doniphan to a farm southwest of Atchison. The intent of their move was so their children could attend the Benedictine schools.
I’m happy to lay claim to being a Kansas farm girl. Our farm was a traditional one – we raised a variety of animals and engaged in diversified farming. In addition to crops, my father had an apiary and a large peach orchard. I grew up milking cows, herding cattle, picking peaches, working in the bee yard and bottling honey. My mother made sure that I learned to bake bread and pies.
I attended the Benedictine schools through 2 years of college and then entered the Mount community. My vocation came when I least expected it, and I decided quickly, 1 month before I entered. Community life has been good for me. I was inspired by the gifts, intelligence, and prayer life of the women of the Mount. I loved the Divine Office and the liturgy. I found myself inspired and challenged to discover and try new learning and fields of study.
My first teaching experience was in elementary schools. Later I was invited to parish ministry: coordinating liturgy and teaching children and adults. After earning my master’s degree in religion, I was offered a position teaching theology and scripture at Donnelly College. Another stint at graduate school earned me a masters in Spirituality and Spiritual Direction which led me to full time work in spiritual ministry and retreat direction.
My Irish roots have led me in recent years to an interest in celtic spirituality. With the help of wise mentors, my work has expanded to leading pilgrimages to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
“Benedictine” means “blessed one,” and that’s how I think of myself. I’ve been gifted and loved by God and my community. For that and being able to pray the psalms daily, I give thanks.