What is Benedictine Monastic Life?
As Benedictine Sisters we seek Christ together, taking the Rule of St. Benedict as our guide for living the gospel in a lifestyle that embraces community life, prayer, work, service to God’s people, and care for creation.
“As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.” (Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue 49)
The Rule of St. Benedict is a guide for seeking God with others in community. Rooted in the gospel, it has been adapted again and again for 1500 years as women and men seek to know and serve God in the times in which they live.
Stages of Initial Formation
An affiliate is a woman who has chosen to associate with the community of Mount St. Scholastica for the sake of learning more about the Benedictine way of life with the intention of seeking admission. The woman enters a period of prayer and regular contact with the community and the vocation director in order to discern her call to live the Benedictine way of life and to develop a relationship with the community. This affiliation period could last from six months up to two years.
“We intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.” Rule of St. Benedict
A postulant is a woman who has entered religious life at Mount St. Scholastica. During this period of eight to twelve months, the woman begins to transition from her previous lifestyle to that of monastic community life, becoming acquainted with the community life more deeply and its spirituality. She continues to discern her call to monastic life, as well as growing in self understanding through openness to God, self, and others in community.
“The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God and whether she shows eagerness for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.” Rule of St. Benedict
The novice continues to discern her call to seek God within the monastic way of life, living under the Rule of St. Benedict and a prioress. At the same time, the novice director and the community discern whether the woman has a vocation to Mount St. Scholastica. This first year as a novice is one of more intense listening to the Spirit’s call, giving time to solitude, silence, and study. The time spent as a novice includes two years, one of which is the canonical novitiate year and lived within the house of formation. During the second novitiate year, the novice lives on mission with other sisters and engages in a ministry.
“Come daughter hear me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Draw near to God that you may be radiant with joy and your being will always be at peace.” Rule of St. Benedict
First Monastic Profession
First monastic profession follows the novitiate stage. This three-to six-year period is a time of growth and immersion into the Benedictine way of life as a sister, during which you will participate in community ministry and be guided to deepen your spirituality and integration into the community.
Perpetual Monastic Profession
Perpetual monastic profession embraces our permanent commitment to obedience, stability and fidelity to the monastic way of life.
Is promise to be faithful listeners. Hover to learn more.
We listen to the voice of the Spirit in Scriptures, in the Rule of Benedict, in the prioress, in one another. We are guided by the question of what is truly best for ourselves, and for the community. Then, we seek to respond with generosity and courage.
Our promise to live the Benedictine life together in celibacy and monastic poverty.
Rooted and strengthened by our lives in this community, celibacy enables us to devote our time and energy as Christ, in the service of others. Celibacy allows us to share ourselves fully with the world. Monastic poverty asks that we live simply, balancing our wants and needs.
To the Monastic Way of Life is our promise to work through life and life's changes with God at the center of our lives.
We seek to be faithful to this way of life … and this life transforms us when we are faithful to it. It transforms us so that we turn to God in the midst of everything that happens in our lives — in joy, in pain, in everyday events. It transforms us during communal and private prayer, so that we can deal with the everyday experiences of life.
Growing up, did you think you would become a sister?
Yes, it was ever present to me.
When did you first hear the call to the monastic life?
I’m not sure it was a call to monastic life as much as simply wanting to become a sister and that was in the 2nd grade….I wanted to grow up and be like Sr. Bertrand.
Why the Benedictine Order and why Mount St. Scholastica?
I was taught by this community and so they were familiar to me and took me to the Mount as a junior and senior in high school.
What was the most difficult/fearsome part of your discernment process?
Telling my boyfriend that I thought I had a vocation to religious life.
How did you overcome these difficulties and fears?
I simply bit the bullet and had a conversation with him over dinner one evening.
Was there any “turning point” or moment in your discernment, when you knew this is what God was calling you to do?
After working two and a half years in a parish, I felt I needed to listen to my heart and check out whether community and religious life was for me.
What was your favorite memory from the novitiate?
Going to St. Patrick’s for hermit days and a retreat as we started was very memorable. My formation director, Sr. Evelyn guided me in praying with the scriptures in such a way that they came alive for me. It was wonderful.
I enjoy taking photos and making photo cards to gift others.
What do you enjoy about Mount St. Scholastica?
I enjoy our commitment to life, as experienced in our prayer for the good of the world, in our seeking of wisdom, in our celebrations, in our diversity of service for the welfare of others, in our service to and support of one another, in our love of learning, and in our opportunities to share hospitality and advocate for justice.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
In my childhood I wanted to be a teacher, a singer, or a missionary. I also had a fascination with Jacques Cousteau and oceanography.
What is something others would be surprised to learn about you?
I enjoy playing Hide and Seek, and I introduced the game to all of my nieces and nephews. I have also had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania in Africa and Mineros in Brazil. I felt very much at home with the Benedictine Sisters in both of these places.
What do you find is the biggest misconception of community life?
There may be some misconceptions that peace is a given in community. Rather, it is pursued. Peace in community requires a lot of give and take and much prayer. It is a precious gift that others who come to us tell us that they sense. For that, I am grateful.
Describe your religious vocation journey in three words: Centered in love.