We begin an election process today to discern our new prioress. She will replace Sister Phyllis McMurray, OSB, who has served as prioress for the past 8 years. (This photo is from her installation in 2004. She is being blessed by outgoing prioress Sister Ruth Ksycki, OSB.)
A little background: The prioress is the spiritual and business head of the community. Sort of a CEO … with spiritual guidance responsibilities. According to St. Benedict – whose 1500-year-old rule we follow – she takes the place of Christ in the community.
Although we elect our prioress by secret ballot, the process we use is prayerful and contemplative; it is guided by the Holy Spirit. There is no electioneering here! In fact, no one puts her hat in the ring. We come together and begin to share our thoughts and concerns in a spirit of mutual support and respect. We discuss, take time for prayer and quiet, and discuss some more.
Our facilitator, Sister Christine Vladimiroff, OSB, from the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Penn., will help guide the process. We will stop our discussions periodically for votes, to determine which names are rising to the top. When at last we have consensus, we will know our new prioress.
Our election process – one that we have followed since the 1800’s – tells you a lot about who we are as a community of Benedictine Sisters. We are deeply prayerful, collaborative, respectful and committed.
We will post the name of our new prioress here when we know who she is. In the meantime, we ask your prayers. We know we do nothing alone!