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One Heart and One Soul: Stories from our Monastic Home

"And so we are going to establish a school for the service of the Lord...For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love." Rule of Benedict, Prologue 45-49

Announcing Prioress Maribeth

Greetings,

We joyfully announce the election of Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff as our fourteenth Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery.
Join us in praying for God’s blessing and the guidance of the Spirit as Sr. Maribeth prepares “to hold the place of Christ in the monastery” (Rule of Benedict 2).
Sr. Maribeth will be canonically installed as Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery as a part of our Monastic Chapter at the beginning of June.

We spent four days in prayerful discernment during our Chapter of Election. It was an amazing experience to consider all the sisters’ gifts and talents, and then reflect on how those could be shared as the prioress of our community. All throughout the prayer and discussion and prayer and balloting and prayer and more voting, there was a great trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit (for which we prayed at every celebration of our Liturgy of the Hours). The culmination of these days was our ‘canonical’ election which is the decisive balloting for prioress in which our sister Maribeth was chosen as Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery.

Following the election were the two tender parts of our community tradition. Each sister approached Sr. Maribeth and placed our hands in hers or hugged her as we offered our support. There were few tears in our eyes as all our members from elder to novice came up to her and offered their prayers with great love in their voices. The agape was the final part of our tradition of election. The sisters celebrated in the Chapter room with Sr. Baker’s fresh bread in one hand, a bit of wine in the other, and greeted each other with hope, joy, and faith-filled anticipation for our future. It was beautiful to listen to the blessed sound of laughter fill the room as the monastery bells pealed our joy, announcing the election to the whole Yankton community.

Of her election, S. Maribeth says, “The election process is a very sacred time for a monastic community.  It is a truly a blessing to be called forth by my sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery and the Holy Spirit, to serve my community in this ministry.  I am humbled by the affirmation of my sisters, and with their love and support, I feel empowered to journey with them into an exciting and joy-filled future.”

Front Row, left to right: Sr. Jacquelyn Ernster, Prioress 1997-2005; Sr. Aidan Bourke, Prioress 1981-1989; Sr. Wilma Lyle, Prioress 1972-1981 and Back Row, left to right: Sr. Penny Bingham, Prioress 2011-2017; Sr. Jennifer Kehrwald, Prioress 2005-2011; Sr. Maribeth Wentzlaff, Prioress-Elect 2017; Sr. Kathryn Easley, Prioress 1989-1997

Blessings,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ A Brilliant Diamond

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the stories of our Jubiliarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!  Our final Diamond Jubilarian sister is celebrating 70 YEARS of service to Christ, Church, and Community…

Sister Madonna grew up one-half mile east of Epiphany, SD. “I was surrounded by faith-filled relatives, people of virtue, honesty, and kindness… our daily lives included familial and public prayer.” Entering the monastery proved to be challenging because her aunt, Mother Jerome, was prioress. “I was torn between experiencing her as an exacting authority figure and a loving, devoted Aunt.” After entering  the monastery in 1942, she attended Mount Marty High School, received her Bachelor of Arts from Mount Marty College, a Bachelor of Liturgical Music from the Gregorian Institute of America, and a Masters in Music Education from USD.

She ministered as a liturgist and music instructor in many of our schools. She was also the Postulant Directress for six years while teaching chorus, piano, and speech at Mount Marty High School. After teaching at the elementary level, Sr. Madonna was a Parish Minister in the Grand Island Diocese and at St. Michael’s Parish in Sioux Falls and also served in Pastoral Care.

Since retiring, she continues sharing her life of faith by volunteering at both  Avera Sacred Heart Hospital and Mount Marty College, she is also an avid gardener. S. Madonna shared, “In the year 2016, I will have walked the way of St. Benedict for seventy years. Mine has been a richly rewarding journey of peaks and valleys, ups and downs, fully cognizant that God is very much in all of it! How I wish that those who are searching God’s plan might take that leap of faith and experience the richness of the GIFT that is mine.”

As we close this National Catholic Sisters Week, we ask for your continued prayers for the sisters and nuns throughout our nation as well as those women who are now discerning God’s will in their lives.

Loving God, by your grace,
Catholic Sisters throughout the world continue to respond to Your Baptismal invitation
to live lives dedicated to prayer and loving service.
Enkindle in their hearts a renewed desire to be zealous servants of the Gospel
and continuing signs of Your presence in our world.
Preserve and strengthen in them the passion and the vision
to welcome and to serve all Your people without hesitation or pause.
As they strive to live the mission of their respective congregations,
empower them to do so with courageous simplicity,
consecrated celibacy, and committed obedience to Your will.
We ask this in union with Jesus the Christ,
who showed these dedicated women the way to living in union with You.  Amen.
~Mary Rose Romeo, SSJ

Blessings,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

 

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ A Trio of Diamonds

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the stories of our Jubiliarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!  Our three Diamond Jubilarian sisters are celebrating 60 YEARS of service to Christ, Church, and Community…

Sister Bernadette began life on the family farm near Laurel, Nebraska. She attended school at Holy Trinity in Hartington, Nebraska and taught a year at Bunker Hill rural school near Hartington before studing a year at Mount Marty College. Sister shares, “Because of the services the Benedictine Sisters from Yankton had given the Hartington area, I finally became aware of my vocation; I joined Sacred Heart Community in 1954.”

Sr. Bernadette served  in a variety of ministries: 35 years teaching kindergarten through college, parish work, companion for another Sister, and work in hospice care.  She also worked with Native Americans at the Standing Rock and Crow Creek Reservations.  In retirement she continues to share her life of faith by quilting, sewing, preparing vegetables, serving community meals, and spending many pleasant hours volunteering in the Yankton community. Sr. Bernadette says, “Inspired by relatives who were priests and Sisters, I knew this is the life I was meant to have.”

 

Sister Matthew was raised with two brothers and one sister on the family farm near Haymarsh, North Dakota. She attended the area parish school at St. Clement’s in Haymarsh and St. Mary’s High School in Richardton, North Dakota. After entering the monastery in 1954, she took English and religion courses at Mount Marty College. She also worked in the Vestment Department from the time she was a candidate.

Over the years, Sr. Matthew ministries have included gardening, cooking, sewing, house-keeping, and serving as Eucharistic Minister. Her service also included a unique opportunity of ministry also included serving at the Bishop’s House in Sioux Falls for nearly a year.  Sister has also served as a housekeeper at the college for 22 years and even learned to upholster furniture!  Sr. Matthew presently assists at Mount Marty College planting flowers and recycling and serving the St. Joseph Care Center as a seamstress. She gives credit for her skills to her sisters in community. She felt these women taught her more than any formal classes. Sr. Matthew writes about her life of faith in this way: “As I look back over these years, I’m happy about them. I’ve had good times and bad times, but God has helped me through it all and I thank Him.”

 

Sister Louise Marie was raised on the family farm of rural Freeman, South Dakota. The faith and life of her parents influenced her readiness to find God in the nature she so loved. Listening to “The Call” of the Lord in her heart that she experienced one summer afternoon out in a pasture, she marveled at the summer sounds and the gentle quiet around her… “I heard a gentle but strong voice come from deep within ‘Go to the convent!’ I knew in some unexplainable way this to be the Lord’s voice.” She entered Sacred Heart Monastery on August 20, 1954. The Benedictine Sisters touched her spirit by their prayerfulness, goodness, and happiness. She graduated from Mount Marty High School and then Mount Marty College with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, and later earned a Masters of Education degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Sister has a passion for teaching and for 38 years she served in elementary education in South Dakota, Colorado, and Nebraska. She then became the Director of Religious Education for St. Benedict Parish, Yankton, South Dakota, for 16 years. Sister has retired now to the monastery but continues to share her life of faith by serving through hospitality for the Monastery Peace Center, teaching adults who experience difficulties in reading, taking care of the Monastery art, driving Sisters to appointments, as well as serving on the Mount Marty College Board of Trustees. She also shares her talents of calligraphy, liturgical art work, card making, baking, and creative writing. Of the blessings in her life, she states, “Being out in nature has always been both gift and awareness of the presence of God to me.”

Join us in praying for Catholic Sisters and Nuns who continue to seek God’s Will and serve God’s people throughout our nation.  Pray also for women who continue to discern God’s will in their lives.

Loving God, by your grace,
Catholic Sisters throughout the world continue to respond to Your Baptismal invitation
to live lives dedicated to prayer and loving service.
Enkindle in their hearts a renewed desire to be zealous servants of the Gospel
and continuing signs of Your presence in our world.
Preserve and strengthen in them the passion and the vision
to welcome and to serve all Your people without hesitation or pause.
As they strive to live the mission of their respective congregations,
empower them to do so with courageous simplicity,
consecrated celibacy, and committed obedience to Your will.
We ask this in union with Jesus the Christ,
who showed these dedicated women the way to living in union with You.  Amen.
~Mary Rose Romeo, SSJ

Blessings to you,

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ Golden Care

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of one our Jubiliarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!  Today, we honor our final Golden Jubilarian as we remember her  50 years of service to Christ, Church, and Community…

Our Sister Marietta grew up in Salem, SD, and is the middle child of seven. She attended St. Mary’s Grade and High School, Immaculate Conception Academy in Dubuque, IA, and Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD. She entered Sacred Heart Monastery in August of 1964, made first monastic profession on June 29, 1966, and perpetual profession in November 25, 1972.

Sister Marietta’s ministries have included teaching grade school and being a Religious Education Director. She later returned to the monastery to be Vocation Director. She continues to serve the monastery in various ways, including serving on the Mount Marty College Board, being Liturgical Director, and guiding Sisters in formation.

She writes, “The possibility of being a Sister stood in front of me every day as I was taught by the Bernadines and later the Yankton Benedictines. Prayer for vocations was among our family prayers. So it was with a great deal of support that I entered Sacred Heart Monastery. Often we were invited by our teachers to consider religious life, and S. Rose invited me to Sacred Heart Monastery when I was completing high school at St. Mary’s in Salem. Her belief in me enabled me to ‘give it a try.’ When I entered, I did not know much about the differences in religious communities but found the way of Benedict to be a wonderful fit for me; it provided strong community support for prayer, work, and growth personally and spiritually. Celebrating 50 years has called me to pause and give thanks for God’s presence in my life, especially in my Benedictine Sisters who have provided stability on the journey, encouragement in the challenges, and role models to follow. Life lived together has been God’s greatest gift to me and enables me to reach out to others in many ways unrealized when I first knocked at the door. It is with a heart full of joy and gratitude to God, my Sisters, my family, and those with whom I have ministered that I celebrate this year of Jubilee.” (Yankton Benedictines, Spring 2016)

Join us in praying for Catholic Sisters and Nuns who continue to seek God’s Will and serve God’s people throughout our nation.  Pray also for women who continue to discern God’s will in their lives.

Loving God, by your grace,
Catholic Sisters throughout the world continue to respond to Your Baptismal invitation
to live lives dedicated to prayer and loving service.
Enkindle in their hearts a renewed desire to be zealous servants of the Gospel
and continuing signs of Your presence in our world.
Preserve and strengthen in them the passion and the vision
to welcome and to serve all Your people without hesitation or pause.
As they strive to live the mission of their respective congregations,
empower them to do so with courageous simplicity,
consecrated celibacy, and committed obedience to Your will.
We ask this in union with Jesus the Christ,
who showed these dedicated women the way to living in union with You.  Amen.
~Mary Rose Romeo, SSJ

Blessings to you,

National Catholic Sisters Week ~ A Golden Teacher

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the story of one of our Jubiliarian Sisters, those celebrating significant anniversaries in religious life!  Today, we honor our fourth Golden Jubilarian as we remember her 50 years of service to Christ, Church, and Community…

Our Sister Margo was born in Yankton, SD, to Verdi and Hattie and was a student in Hoven, Tabor, and Yankton, SD. Having Yankton Benedictines as teachers influenced her toward the religious life, she joined the convent in 1964 and made first monastic profession in 1966. She graduated from Mount Marty College and then taught in Lincoln, NE, and Sioux Falls, SD.

Sister Margo continued to teach and taught at Hope Preschool for 7 years and at Sacred Heart School in Yankton for 34 years. Sister Margo and S. Joelle Bauer co-founded Hope Preschool and taught in it from 1972- 1979. Since retiring, she has been helping with activities for the Care Center Sisters, tutoring people from the Yankton Abilities Building Center in Yankton, and teaching ERTH (Ecummenical Religious Training for the Handicapped program), which she co-formed 37 years ago.

Throughout her life, beginning in the first grade through high school, she had Yankton Benedictines for teachers. She states, “It only stands to reason that since I felt called to religious life it would be to the Yankton Benedictines. The joyful presence of these Sisters was the biggest influence in my life. As a Benedictine and a teacher, I had many opportunities in the past 45 years to plant the seeds for Benedictine men and women try to live out by following The Rule of St. Benedict.” Sister Margo goes on to say, “I find it hard to believe that I have lived the Benedictine life for fifty years. I thank God daily for being a Benedictine Sister at Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton.” (Yankton Benedictines, Spring 2016)

Join us in praying for Catholic Sisters and Nuns who continue to seek God’s Will and serve God’s people throughout our nation.  Pray also for women who continue to discern God’s will in their lives.

Loving God, by your grace,
Catholic Sisters throughout the world continue to respond to Your Baptismal invitation
to live lives dedicated to prayer and loving service.
Enkindle in their hearts a renewed desire to be zealous servants of the Gospel
and continuing signs of Your presence in our world.
Preserve and strengthen in them the passion and the vision
to welcome and to serve all Your people without hesitation or pause.
As they strive to live the mission of their respective congregations,
empower them to do so with courageous simplicity,
consecrated celibacy, and committed obedience to Your will.
We ask this in union with Jesus the Christ,
who showed these dedicated women the way to living in union with You.  Amen.
~Mary Rose Romeo, SSJ

Blessings to you,

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Monastic Horarium

Our weekday schedule at the Monastery.
6:00 AM ~ Early Breakfast
6:30 AM ~ Lauds in Peace Chapel
6:50 AM ~ Mass
7:30 AM ~ Breakfast
* Ministry and Service
12:00 PM ~ Lunch
12:45 PM ~ Noon Praise
* Ministry and Service
5:15 PM ~ Vespers in Peace Chapel
5:45 PM ~ Supper Evening
* Recreation and Compline
blog image- Wooden door inside Bishop Marty Chapel

The weekend horarium allows for a reflective start to the day.

7:00 AM ~ Breakfast
8:30 AM ~ Lauds
         Saturday in Peace Chapel

         Sunday in Bishop Marty Chapel

* Ministry and Service
12:00 PM ~ Lunch
12:45 PM ~ Noon Praise
* Ministry and Service
Saturday Evening
         Supper, Vespers, and

         Recreation in Living Groups

Sunday Evening
5:00 ~ Vespers Bishop Marty Chapel
5:30 ~ Supper
*Recreation and Compline

 

Prayer for Vocations

Prayer for Vocations God of Love,
You call us to live in your love through the grace of our baptism.
Bless us with the courage to carry out the mission of Jesus.
Grant us open and generous hearts to see the needs of others
and to respond with compassion.
May the Church be blest with women and men who are dedicated to you through marriage, the single life,
the diaconate, priesthood, and the consecrated life.
It is in Christ and through Christ
that we offer ourselves to you now and forever. ~Amen

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About the Author…

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I entered our Monastery on January 3rd, 1998. After professing my temporary vows, I began to teach high school English and speech. During this time, our community accepted me into Perpetual Monastic Profession. Now, I am teaching Theology while living on ‘mission’ in a city not too far from the sisters at the Monastery. Benedictine life is filled with opportunities to learn from the constant call to minister to each other. My stories and tales grow out of these opportunities to serve and learn within community life. blog

Eucharistic Love

Pope Francis said, “The Eucharist affects the way we see others. In his life, Christ manifested his love by being with people, and by sharing their desires and problems. So, too, the Eucharist brings us together with others–young and old, poor and affluent, neighbors and visitors. The Eucharist calls us to see all of them as our brothers and sisters, and to see in them the face of Christ.” ~ February 14, 2014 General Audience.

God Bless You for Visiting!

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