Why make the choice to be a Catholic Sister?

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

God looks down from heaven … to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Psalm 53

As we prayed this verse at Lauds recently, a question a friend had posed popped into my head. “Why have you made the choice to be a Catholic Sister when so few are doing so? Aren’t you afraid that your numbers are growing smaller?”

I’d be silly – and untruthful – to say it has never crossed my mind. But, then, there are a number of things I also think of. 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

The mystery of a religious vocation

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

In today’s society, we do not deal well with the mystery. Mysteries are to be solved, not accepted and even – the horror! – embraced.

We read and watch mysteries with great excitement (sometimes we skip to the end to find out who done it). Scientists explore mysteries to get to the bottom of why. Our culture demands to know … everything.

Sometimes, though, we forget about the importance of faith. No matter what invisible-to-the-naked-eye particle we discover, we simply must take the why of it on faith. And that’s true of our path in life as well. Continue Reading

Wisdom calls Benedictine Sisters under 55 to play and learn

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

This has been a hectic but mostly wonderful summer (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog). :)

My most recent adventure was to Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, South Dakota, to a fabulous gathering of Benedictine Sisters under the age of 55 (this photo is of Sister Edith Bodge, who spoke to us on the theme of cultural shifts). 82 women attended from all of our Federations. Our theme was Wisdom Calls.

Going from "No" to "Yes" in One Summer Afternoon

As a Catholic girl growing up in Peoria, Ill., Margaret Mary “Marmee” McGrath (shown in red at left) never dreamed of becoming a nun. Nicknamed for the mother in Little Women (“My mother loved that book!”), Marmee attended Catholic school, prayed the rosary before morning Mass, and helped her teacher Sisters keep the sanctuary clean. She also had 2 cousins enter religious life.

During her junior year in high school, Marmee’s choir director even asked her point blank, “Have you ever thought of religious life?” Marmee said simply, No.

“And the question didn’t get me started thinking about it, either,” she laughs today. Continue Reading

Would you be a good Benedictine Sister?

What kind of woman makes a good Benedictine Sister? We asked Sister Mary Core, OSB to share her thoughts with us. Take a look, and email us if her answers resonate for you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Q. What kind of woman is best-suited for Benedictine life?

A. Religious life is for emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy women. We are not here to hide from the world.

A key to Benedictine monasticism, in particular, is that it is not a call to participate in a ministry, per se, but a call to seek God. You don’t become a Benedictine because you want to teach or pursue medicine or social work, although you might do any one of those – or other – ministries. Benedictine life is rooted in community and prayer. Continue Reading

Responding to a Nagging Sense of "Something More"

From the beginning of recorded time, living as a religious Sister has been countercultural. We give up our possessions … our bank accounts … our cars. We take on a new set of priorities. We take on a new set of responsibilities.

In other words, it’s no longer about “me.” It’s about “we.”

What might make someone take such a radical, countercultural step? It’s sure not the salary. (There is none.) It’s not the easy lifestyle. (We begin our days before dawn in chapel for Lauds.) It’s not the nightlife. (Unless that’s what you call a rousing game of cards on Community Night!) Continue Reading

The Path to Holiness as Lived Out in Profession

That’s a mouthful of a title! Although the path to holiness can be lived out in other ways – marriage, singlehood – we Benedictine Sisters have chosen religious life (St. Scholastica, left, founded the women’s community to follow her twin brother’s Holy Rule, which we follow 1,500 years later).

Today, Bishop Joe – a member of a religious community himself – reflected on the promises we make in our Monastic Profession. (Sister Stefanie also reflected on the Promises today!) Continue Reading