Doors to Initial Formation
What can be sweeter to us than the voice of the Lord inviting us?
From the Prologue of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Doors to Initial Formation: Postulancy
As the newcomer enters the Postulancy she begins a life-long formation process guided by the Holy Spirit which takes place in the midst of community life. During the postulancy, usually 6 months to a year, the newcomer shares in the life, work and prayer of the community as she and the community discern God’s call to her in to this Benedictine way of life.
Dr. Theresa Lafferty was received into Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, SD, as a Postulant in a simple ritual on August 2, 2014. After Theresa symbolically knocked on the front door of the Monastery, the Prioress, S. Penny Bingham, asked, “What do you seek?” to which Theresa responded, “I want to live in love and service of God with the help of this community.” The monastic community affirmed her request and S. Penny presented her with a medal of St. Benedict. The celebration continued at Vespers and supper.
Theresa Veronica Lafferty was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, the third of eight children of the late Francis J. and Patricia A. Lafferty. She attended twelve years of Catholic schools before enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania for a BA in American Civilization and an MS in Secondary Education. After four years of teaching in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, she went to work as a computer operator in an insurance company before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as an employee. Performing such tasks as accounts receivable, accounts payable, grant management, and payroll, she eventually became the Payroll Manager. She wrote and delivered the week-long training program for payroll employees throughout the university, offering the course every month for up to twenty employees.
While working at University of Pennsylvania, Theresa began an MA course of study in Sacred Scripture at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, PA. After graduating in 1997 she began teaching Bible Study in the Diocese of Camden (NJ). In 2001 she began studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, pursuing a doctorate in Biblical Studies, with a concentration on the Old Testament prophets. She lived in Dover, Delaware from 2004-2012 while writing her doctoral dissertation and teaching at The Catholic University.
Little did Dr. Lafferty know when she came to Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD in 2012 for a job interview that this might be more than a faculty position. While serving as Assistant Professor of Theology at Mount Marty, Dr. Lafferty began studying the life of the Benedictine Sisters next door to the college campus, leading to her decision to join the Monastery. She has taken a unique path to the monastery from MMC, as she is the first to enter the community as a professor from the college, rather than as a graduate. As a postulant Theresa will the live the life of the community, meet regularly for guidance in the monastic way of life, take classes on transitions, Liturgy, and music lessons in addition to her professional work at the college.
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