Lesson and gift: How my Tribunal Ministry awes me


By Sister Marianne Burkhard, OSB

Sister Marianne serves as a Canon Lawyer in the Peoria diocese, helping restore sacramental life for those who are divorced. “Once people come to us, they should know that they’ve come through the worst. They’ve survived and grown and come to a better place. To visit that failed marriage again will promote more healing. We want to help them achieve that. We want to help bring them back to the sacraments.”

Looking over my 23 years of working in the marriage Tribunal, the first important lesson is a very marianne-small-for-blogBenedictine one: Listen! Continue Reading

How Being a Catholic Sister Helps Me Help Them


By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

I have the privilege of teaching preschool in a Catholic school that serves middle- to low-income families. Our families are mostly Latino (over 50%), and the same percentage of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

It’s a privilege to serve families of diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds. Continue Reading

Going on a Benedictine Adventure

When Sister Mary Core’s youth group began hatching a plan to stay overnight at Camp Loud Thunder along the Mississippi River in Illinois, she knew who to call for help. Sister Stefanie MacDonald loved to camp; she had taken her nephews every chance she got. But now that her nephews were grown – and her own students were just preschoolers – Sr. Stefanie missed cooking and sleeping outdoors.

So when Sr. Mary asked her to help out, Sr. Stefanie said yes. Together with 9 youth group members – and a few parents and siblings – they created a delicious, fun, Benedictine and memorable experience. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

Feeding young bodies and spirits: A Benedictine ministry

Sister Mary Core’s parish youth group recently spent a week teaching, guiding and playing with young kids in Davenport’s inner city. Here’s a peek into one of their afternoons, as part of occasional series of stories about Benedictine Sisters’ ministries.

Walk through the front door of this tiny aluminum sided house and you see kids of every age playing games, coloring, laughing and squabbling. You hear a din of voices. And today you smell … cake. Continue Reading