Introducing your new Benedictine vocation director!

Benedictine Sisters Jackie Walsh Claudia Scharf Catherine Cleary Susan Hutchens (piano) Stefanie MacDonald at LaudsYou may recognize Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB (far right) from past stories and photos. She entered in 2007 and has kept a blog for the past few years about her adorable preschoolers.

Beginning this August, she has agreed to take over vocation ministry, so she will be your Benedictine guide.

You’ll love her openness, humor, gentleness and willingness to be there for you. Here’s your first chance to get to know her a bit!
 
What do you want to share about your own vocation?

I started looking into my vocation at 28 and didn’t finish it till 37 when I entered the Benedictine community.  
 
I’m one of those people who started and stopped, started and stopped. I looked at 4 different communities, including Franciscan, Presentation, a traditional habited community and the Benedictines.
 
While discerning, I discovered the most important things to me are communal prayer, community life and feeling at home.  
 
Originally I thought I wanted to wear a habit, but it didn’t turn out to be that important to me after all. The most important thing for me is prayer with all my Sisters in chapel together 3 times a day.
 
What will you offer inquirers?

For one thing, I offer my experience as an inquirer myself. I lived with a Franciscan community for 9 months. I discerned with a habited, semi-cloistered community for 6 months. I researched others.  
 
I gained some great insights and understanding of different lifestyles.  
 
Our first fall vocation retreat will feature Sisters from all kinds of communities. They will provide insights it took me years to gain.
 
What was your childhood like?

Unlike a lot of my Sisters, I grew up after Vatican II. I’m part of the digital age, but know how important it is to unplug.
 
I grew up in what we call “Little Rome,” otherwise known as Dubuque, Iowa. It seemed like we had a Catholic Church on every corner!  
 
My family used to get up early every morning of Advent for family prayer and breakfast. It was a warm and beautiful time (even if it was a little early for this late riser)!
 
Why did you choose the Benedictines of St. Mary Monastery?

I entered this community because of their prayer life. My prayer life has been enriched with the communal prayer of Liturgy of the Hours and Lectio Divina.  
 
I love to participate in daily Mass when I have a day off from school. And I pray the rosary every day.
 
Another reason I chose this community is my family. They can visit any time and I can go there for vacation (and if there is a need). I am close to my mom, dad, sisters and nephews (all of whom still live in Dubuque). They are welcome at the monastery any time!
 
Anything else?

You should know that I’m a good listener, and that I was not what you might picture as a typical inquirer. I was an adult with a good job, my own life, my own friends and church and fun.
 
I did feel a longing for something more. I spent time every day in the Eucharistic Chapel in adoration. I prayed the rosary and went to daily Mass. But that wasn’t enough. I needed something – someone! – to come home to.
 
How can you be reached?

Call (309) 283-2300 or email me anytime. I’ll get back with you as soon as I possibly can. With school starting this month, that may mean a couple of hours, but I’ll reply the same day you reach out.
 
We can do web hangouts or Facetime or whatever you want.  
 
Bottom line is: Don’t let anything stand in your way. If you sense God is calling you, answer. All God is calling you to do is find out. I’m here for you. It’s time to find out!!!    

Call me anytime at (309) 283-2300 or email me at smacdonald@smmsisters.org!

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