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Biography of Sister Bonita Gacnik

“My goal in life has always been to be fully human and fully alive”—these words of Sister Bonita Gacnik describe the busy, active, and energetic life of this Benedictine sister and professor of mathematics and computer science.

Sister Bonita with Mount Marty students

Sister Bonita with Mount Marty students

As a Benedictine and a teacher, S. Bonita feels she has a special opportunity to model Catholic, Benedictine values in the classroom and to mentor future leaders of society. As an educator, “I have the opportunity to help students realize their potential, their giftedness and broaden their vision for themselves and expand their views of the world.”

S. Bonita was 36 when she entered the Monastery. She owned her own home, was active in her parish and well established professionally. Knowing the challenges a professional woman faces in deciding to choose monastic life, she feels a special call to work with other professional women discerning a call to religious life. “I came to Sacred Heart Monastery,” she says, “because I felt a call to religious life. I continue to believe it is as a Benedictine that I have the opportunity to realize my full potential as a human being.”

S. Bonita knows what it means to work for what is important. Her family had a paper route when she was in grade and high school. Moneys earned were used to pay tuition for the four in her family to attend parochial school. In college she worked in dietary at Colorado State Hospital, 20-30 hours a week. After graduating from Southern CO State College, Pueblo, she worked for 14 years in Scientific Computing doing software design, development and consulting at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. Since entering the Monastery in 1984 she has earned master’s degrees in mathematics and computer science, an Education Specialist Degree in Computing Technology in Education, and a Ph.D. in Computing Technology in Education. She has been on the faculty of Mount Marty College since 1989.

Sister Bonita with some of her students in East Africa

Sister Bonita with some of her students in East Africa

S. Bonita has had the opportunity to serve in East Africa three times (2009, 2010, and 2013). Her two recent African adventures were sponsored by the Sisters Leadership Development Initiative, a special project of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC). ASEC’s mission is to facilitate educational opportunities for women religious in Africa which will enable them to enhance and expand access to educational, healthcare, social and spiritual services for the people they serve.  She has taught classes in technology and web design.  Of her African experiences, she comments, “I believe that those who have been trained and educated by ASEC are the future of their congregations, their apostolates, the Church, and their countries. Technology skills enhance and enrich the gifts of any leader. My African experiences have touched my spirit and have given me a love for the sisters of East Africa and a passion for this ministry.  Given the opportunity, I am ready and eager to return to Africa to continue this apostolate.”

S. Bonita has a great love of the elderly, nurtured by her work in the Monastery Care Center. She has always had one of the residents as a “buddy.”

She loves nature, sports, and handyman-type projects. She enjoys golfing, bike riding, rose gardening, working in photography, and feeding birds and squirrels.

 

 

Benedictine Sisters
Sacred Heart Monastery
1005 W. 8th St.
Yankton, SD 57078
605-668-6000

 

 

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