Q and A: Sister Stefanie on family, ministry, daily life

You entered in your 30s, after establishing your career, enjoying life in your own apartment with your own stuff, being active in your parish. You had a lot of friends and could go out with them any time. You also were very active in your family, taking your nephews on adventures and vacations whenever you wished. How did entering the convent change or affect this?

I did go home less, but that’s true of whatever new family you become a part of. That said, my birth family is very important to me. I chose this community in part because it was welcoming of family involvement. I quit discerning with another community because it only allowed limited contact with birth families.

The Benedictines have warmly welcomed my family. My nephews (pictured with Sister Stefanie at right) were starting high school when I entered, so our adventures were changing anyway. Today they come to fish in our lake or to go to a ball game. My sister, MacKenzie (pictured at right with Sisters Michelle and Mary Jean), spends a week here every summer.

Recently I went home for a visit and we all went out to eat. My married friends and family have the same experience. Our adventures with our birth families are smaller and closer to home, but still good.

What kinds of ministries do the Sisters do?

We have 2 corporate ministries, or ministries we do together. They are prayer and retreats. Our prayer is communal. We come together 3 times a day for Liturgy of the Hours, although many of us are away at our ministries for Noonday prayer. We also pray Eucharist and Lectio Divina.

We all support Benet House Retreat Center. We share in giving programs and retreats, and  we make our guests feel welcome.

Our individual ministries include teaching (I teach preschool), parish work, campus ministry and other work.

We also do volunteer work. Sisters volunteer at a local food pantry, the hospital, a residence for homeless women and children and other organizations. Sister Mary, who works with youth at a parish here, took her students to Project Renewal last summer to help develop their desire to volunteer.

What’s a day in this life like for you?

Here’s the lineup:

6:30 – Lauds
7:00 – Leave for school
7:30 – 3:30 – Teach
4:00 – Personal Prayer Time
5:00 – Vespers
5:30 – Supper

After Supper and Weekends:

Monday – Liturgy Office work till “Castle” starts at 9

Tuesday – Choir Practice and Community Night. We set this evening aside every week to hang out with each other. I usually play cards with some Sisters. Other Sisters play board games, work puzzles and maybe watch a movie together.

Wednesday – Usually school meetings or liturgy office work

Thursday – Usually start to prepare for the following school week or work in the liturgy office. I also watch “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s hilarious.

Friday – TGIF!! I watch movies with the Sisters, have a fire outside, sometimes grab a bite to eat with friends.

Saturday – Sleep in, yay! 8:00 – Personal prayer, Lauds not till 9 or 11:30 (depending on our prayer schedule), family and friends might visit, we might have a community outing.

Sunday – Sleep in again, YAY!!! 8:00 – Personal prayer, Lauds at 9:30 and Mass at 10:30, followed by brunch. The rest of the day is free. I often have school work to catch up on, and lots of personal reading. It’s my favorite day of the week!

Want to hear more about Sister Stefanie’s life? Shoot her an email at smacdonald@smmsisters.org!

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