Meet Sister Rosemary Weber
I grew up on a farm near Salem, SD, one of eleven children born to Frances and Stephen Weber. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a teacher and at the same time a nun. I had nuns for teachers, and my aunt, Sister Bernette Weber, was very much a part of our lives. I enjoyed reading when I was young. My reading material was often a magazine called “Mana” and it was stories about young children who led good lives. My mother and S. Bernette were responsible for getting me these materials. Those magazines helped me to know how to live a good life. In discerning my call to religious life I’d attribute it to my family and Catholic School training where I learned to pray for what God wanted me to do. My prayer to know my vocation was very simple. I liked St. Theresa the Little Flower and my name was Rosemary so I liked St. Rose. My prayer to both was, “If I’m supposed to be a nun you got to get me there!”
It was not difficult to make a decision. I came to Sacred Heart Monastery after I graduated from St. Mary’s high school in May, 1952. My main reason for coming to Sacred Heart Monastery was that I wanted to work with rural people. Being born and raised in a rural environment, I wanted to be working with people I would understand. I knew through my sister, S. Stephanie Weber, already a member of Sacred Heart Monastery, that the community taught in schools in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Therefore, I would most likely teach in a rural area. I knew very little about the Benedictine way of life. I entered Sacred Heart Monastery on August 20, 1952 as a candidate and felt immediately that I was in the right place. I never really doubted this was the life for me. Benedictine life is like a family, a community, where you pray, work, and play together. Everyone has their place. I continued on my faith journey, became a novice and made temporary vows in June, 1954 with final vows following on June 29, 1957.
One of my favorite parts of Benedictine life is the whole aspect of community prayer, whether recited or sung. Singing psalms especially at Sunday liturgies and Mass are special to me. I have always enjoyed singing in the choir from third grade on up. Growing up, going to church and Catholic school, prayer was very much part of our daily life. It was something you naturally did, not something added on or extraordinary.” The Benedictine model of prayer and work suited my aspirations.
One of my favorite parts of the Rule is the Prologue, which describes Benedictine life as a School of the Lord’s service. Chapter 72 summarizes the whole rule, with the emphasis on loving one another. The most challenging part of the rule for me is the daily obedience, especially to be obedient to one another, learning to give in and compromise. In my thirties, I came to realize and acknowledge who I really was and had a broader perspective of life.
My life as a Benedictine has been very blessed. When I think of teaching, I remember the enjoyment and the happiness it has brought me. It feels right. Things come together inside you, a oneness. It’s an experience of grace and gift.
The gift you have received you pass on. So by our lives of wholeness and prayer, we are giving the gift of peace and oneness that has come within ourselves. I have shared my gifts through a variety of ministries, teaching in parish schools in Aberdeen, Dimock, Sioux Falls, and Salem, SD and York, NE. Then I worked as a pastoral minister on Standing Rock Reservation in Northwestern SD for 14 years. After taking a Sabbatical at Gonzaga University, I moved into to parish ministry at Holy Name Parish, Watertown, SD and St. Benedict Parish, Yankton, SD. Currently my hope in my vocation is to grow old gracefully. There isn’t anything that I’m looking for as far as what keeps me committed. This is my life and therefore, I want to daily live it.
What excites me about the future of religious life is how I think it’s going to be different and adventuresome. God is always at work. I know in my heart that God loves us and is with us. I have had opportunities as a religious to do things that I would not have done on my own. Among adventures I cherish are travel to the Holy Land and Europe including Rome. Another is a trip in 1998 to visit Kajiato, Kenya, a mission my mother helped support. Then again I was able to go to Africa to teach English to African Sisters in Mtwara, Tanzania. In my teenage years, I thought often about being a missionary Sister. I realize in looking back that I wasn’t mature enough to do so. My prayer is that young women called to religious life will listen and follow where ever God leads them.
Sister Rosemary Weber
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