Meet Sister Arthur Schramm
After suffering three medical crises during the first nine years of my life, along with subsequent complications due to these illnesses, I believed that I owed God, and those through whom He worked, to be of service in this world and to assist others in like manner as they did to my family and me. I planned to become a social worker at Friendship House in Chicago, Illinois after hearing one of their workers describe the needs of many poor people. Realizing that I could not support myself through college, I turned to an alternative route, becoming a diploma nurse, since this education offered a scholarship, and then working as an RN as I pursued my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. I had not thought of religious life until I made a retreat during my senior year of high school.
Being one of ten children, having boarded at a four-year Catholic high school, growing up in the German culture of my rural parish, and receiving healthcare and high-school education under of the care of the Yankton Benedictine Sisters, I thought that I could adapt to this community more readily. I was also interested in becoming a missionary and serving in poor countries. The future would provide me with the latter experience.
I found that the values of the Benedictines had already been nurtured in me as a child, from the times that my mother welcomed all who stopped or had business at the farm for noon lunch. This sense of hospitality was deepened in me when I joined the Benedictines. I never imagined the support that I would receive from my fellow Sisters as together, we met the many challenges of formation, nursing and anesthesia education, or the many projects and issues that occurred in the years that followed. Community continues to be important to me.
I had been introduced to the Liturgy of the Hours, daily Mass, and singing with the schola prior to entering the Benedictine community. I learned Lectio later on in living in Community. I found this deep prayer life not only enriching, but also as the ground work for my spiritual growth. Shared reflections, group living within the larger Community, and retreats, theology workshops, and contemplation have rounded out my life.
Now the verse “a hundred fold this life” has truly happened to me and I look with faith and hope to experience the joy of eternal life. I have certainly had many opportunities to better the health of the rich and the poor in this world, supported by our community’s mission of service to others, including those in foreign countries. Divine Providence is truly working through this community and it has supplied me with the energy and the vision to be of service to others. If I knew what I know now, I would not have been so fearful to enter religious life as a Benedictine Sister.
Sister Arthur Schramm
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