The Monastic Heart

queen annes lace and lake

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

What distinguishes monastic religious life from apostolic religious life includes some straightforward lifestyle differences. Monastics pray, live, and often work together. Apostolic Sisters usually do not, at least not as a whole group.

More difficult to articulate is something often referred to as the “monastic heart,” a state of being that embraces silence and a listening stance. Whether you are married, single or a Benedictine Sister, having a monastic heart helps engage you in right relationship with all creation.

When I was living and teaching in Chicago years ago, the constant noise and congestion of the place got old fast. I couldn’t wait to get home to Dubuque, Iowa, to hear … nothing. I couldn’t wait to rest my senses. Continue Reading

Lessons from a Well-Loved Life

mary-jane-wavingSeveral years ago, we asked Sister Mary Jane Wallace to reminisce about her life as a Benedictine. She brought scrapbooks, photos, typed notes and laugh-out-loud stories.

Sr. Mary Jane is still a dynamo at 85. She continues to teach piano to children and adults, write skits for community celebrations and work on a book about her ministries. And all of that is what she does in between our daily Benedictine prayer schedule.

Continue Reading

Why I Became – and Remain – a Benedictine Sister

stef-and-kids-in-reading-cornerBy Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

After taking a few years to work and live my Catholic parish life, God sent me another message.

I was at church with my father and youngest sisters, when Sisters from a habited community filed in. The pastor introduced them, and they seemed very nice.

Continue Reading

Rooted Here, Rooted Now: What Our Benedictine Monastic Promises Mean

Sister Stefanie MacDonald signs her monastic promises during a simple but beautiful ceremony in our chapel during her first monastic profession.

One of the differences between apostolic communities (like the Franciscans and Dominicans) and Benedictine monastic communities is our vows. In fact, we don’t actually make “vows.” We make promises. It’s more than a word difference!

Our promises underscore our commitment to each other, as Sisters of St. Benedict. They underscore our commitment to seeking God together. They underscore our commitment to be faithful for life. Continue Reading

Labor Day Vocation Retreat for 22- to 50-Year-Old Single Catholic Women

Register now for this informative and inspiring Labor Day Weekend Retreat

Have you ever wondered what makes an apostolic community different from a monastic community?

Come learn about the range of different Catholic Sisters’ communities located along the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois. Continue Reading

Changing the only person we have the power to change

Sr. Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

Wow! I’ve been thinking about this since last week’s gospel. It’s hard to do … even as a Catholic Sister!

We all have people in our lives we’d rather not have to deal with. Maybe they have been harsh with us, maybe they have been cold. Maybe we’ve been unkind to them in return. Continue Reading