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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

The Federation of Saint Gertrude

Greetings,

Whew! It has been a busy couple weeks here at the monastery.  We hosted over fifty sisters from 14 different communities for the Chapter Meetings (official business meetings) of the Federation of Saint Gertrude.  It took the help that was offered by all our sisters!  They volunteered to prepare gift bags, bedrooms, and meeting spaces.  Sisters woke up early and stayed up late to meet airplanes and guide our guests to their bedrooms.  They worked behind-the-scenes and filled in as extra dish-washers, kitchen aids, and room cleaners.  Sisters hosted socials each evening and gave up a day to offer tours of our Yankton area for the Sister Delegates’ on their free-day. They also prepared additional Liturgy of the Hours (prayer) books and readied the pews in Chapel so that the Sister Delegates could join us for daily Prayer and Eucharist.  Most importantly, our sisters offered their prayer for the Sister Delegates and the success of their meetings.  All in all, the Federation Chapter ran like the Swiss Trains on which our earliest sisters once traveled.

The Benedictine Federation of Saint Gertrude was established by the Apostolic See with tentative approval on April 14, 1937, and definitive approval received on April 4, 1950.  The twelve member monasteries and two affiliated ecumenical communities trace their roots to Benedictine abbeys of women from Eichstätt in Bavaria, and Maria Rickenbach, Sarnen, and Melchtal in Switzerland. Arriving in the mid-19th to the early 20th century, these communities came to American and began to serve the needs of the Church and the People of God.  While each member monastery remains autonomous, we share a common set of canonical documents, “Listen”, which guide our monastic life.  The Federation of Saint Gertrude is a source of mutual support, service, collaboration, and dialogue to encourage the continuing growth and development of each member monastery.

The Sister Delegates gathered around the theme “Paschal Mystery: Journey to Transformation”.  They began with guest speakers: Sr. Nancy Schreck, OSF, and Fr. Dan Ward, OSB,  on the Paschal Mystery theme and about engaging transformation and change in our monastic communities.  Then the work of the Chapter began: studying by-laws, reviewing canon law, establishing new direction statements for the next three years, and electing a new president and five councilors to the Federation.  After much discussion, discernment, and prayer, the Federation Chapter elected our own Sister Jeanne Weber of Sacred Heart Monastery as President of the Federation and councilors from five other monasteries in the Federation: Sr. Barbara Lynn (Monastery Immaculate Conception), Sr. Mary (St. Benedict’s Monastery), Sr. Mary Luke (Our Lady of Grace Monastery), Sr. Shawn (Mount St. Benedict Monastery), and Sr. Teresa (Monastery of St. Gertrude).

The week of Federation Chapter concluded with Vespers and the installation of Sister Jeanne as Federation President and Sisters as Federation Councilors.  Sister Joella’s last act as President of the Federation was to commission Sister Jeanne to carry out the duties of the Office of President which includes a commitment to preserve the monastic way and Benedictine Rule within the monasteries and a resolve to safeguard each monastery’s heritage and autonomy.  Then she blessed her: “We now ask our loving God to bless Sister Jeanne as she begins her term as President of the Federation of Saint Gertrude. Let us ask our God to sustain and guide her as she serves our Federation. May the gifts of the Spirit be poured out upon her so that she may in turn inflame with good zeal the hearts of all those she serves. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”  Sister Jeanne’s first act as Federation President was to call forth the five councilors elected by the delegates and to commission them to service to the Federation and ask God’s blessing through the Spirit.

Please pray for Sr. Jeanne as she begins this service to the sisters of our Federation.

Blessings to you,

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

Greetings,Sacred Heart of Jesus Icon Author Mary Charles references Yankton Benedictines Sacred Heart Monastery Sisters

Tonight we begin our celebration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the patronal feast of our monastery.  We will begin this evening with first Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours.  The celebration continues on the day of the Feast with our prayer and Eucharist being celebrated in the Bishop Marty Chapel.  The Psalms and antiphons all echoing the reminders of Christ’s great love for us poured out through His Sacred Heart.

“Let us love one another with fervent love, endure one another’s infirmities; patiently serve and obey one another, and prefer nothing whatever to Christ.”
~ Vespers Antiphon

“Thus says the LORD: When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.  Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love
~ Hosea 11

The day of prayer is accented with little joys to join in the celebration:  flavored coffee during the day and time to gather for laughter and recreation.  These little joys are part of our family tradition too.  Tradition runs deep in our Benedictine life.  The mosaic of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (below) in the Chapter room of the monastery.  He has was designed by the artisan sisters in our community; each sister in our community joined in the art by placing individual tiles within the design.  The lintel block of our name (below) was placed above our early convent doorway over a hundred years ago.  When we rebuilt the monastery in 1999-2000, the lintel was preserved and still declares our presence.  Today, it is built into the retaining wall of the flowerbeds in front of the monastery.

We invite you to join us in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel for our celebration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:

~ First Vespers ~ Thursday, June 22nd at 5:15 PM
~ Lauds ~ Friday, June 23rd at 6:30 AM
~ Celebration of the Eucharist following prayer at approximately 6:50 AM
~ Vespers ~ Friday at 5:15 PM

Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapter Room Theology Institute Icon

…Community Prayer of Dedication to the Sacred Heart…
God of all creation, and God of our hearts,
on this feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
we remember the love with which you first loved us.
We remember the gift of your Son,
Jesus Christ who brings us to birth and feeds us
with the blood and water flowing from his side, pierced on the cross.  

Inspired by the Spirit of Love, we desire to give our hearts to you,
and to make the heart of Jesus our own.
Through his most Sacred Heart
we consecrate to you our monastery, the life and work
of each member of this community, and our beloved sick.
We ask you to receive this offering, which we make through Christ,
in the power of the Holy Spirit, one with you forever and ever.  Amen.
  

Blessings to you,

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sister Pierre

To Paradise now may the angels bring you,
and may the martyrs now come to meet you on your way,
and may you be led into the holy city Jerusalem.
All the choirs of angels make you welcome there,
and with Lazarus once so ill and poor,
may peaceful joy be now forever yours.
~In Paradisum
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Blessings to you,

May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her ~ Sr. Leonette

To Paradise now may the angels bring you,
and may the martyrs now come to meet you on your way,
and may you be led into the holy city Jerusalem.
All the choirs of angels make you welcome there,
and with Lazarus once so ill and poor,
may peaceful joy be now forever yours.
~In Paradisum
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Blessings to you,

Chapter Meetings, Prioress Installation, and Pentecost Joy

Greetings,

This weekend is TRIPLE the celebration for the monastery.  We will be gathering for our Monastic Chapter, installing Sr. Maribeth as our fourteenth prioress, and celebrating the descent of the Spirit upon the Apostles with Pentecost Sunday.

It is wonderfully appropriate that our June Monastic Chapter should coincide with Pentecost, for we rely on the wisdom and guidance of the Spirit as we discern the needs of our monastic community. We also ask for your prayers as all of our sisters, from prioress to novice, travel home to discuss the “important business [that] has to be done in the monastery” (Rule of Benedict 3:1).

Whenever any important business has to be done in the monastery, let the Abbot call together the whole community and state the matter to be acted upon. Then, having heard the brethren’s advice, let him turn the matter over in his own mind and do what he shall judge to be most expedient. The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

Let the brethren give their advice with all the deference required by humility, and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions; but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot’s judgment, and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare. However, just as it is proper for the disciples to obey their master, so also it is his function to dispose all things with prudence and justice (Rule of Benedict 3).
However, it isn’t all work and meetings.  All throughout the weekend, we visit with our sisters: catching up on news, sharing joys and sorrows, taking walks and playing favorite games. We also take time to celebrate significant anniversaries.  One evening we will honor our Jubilarians of 50, 60, 70, and even 75 years as professed sisters.
 .
After two days of meetings, we will celebrating the installation of our Sr. Maribeth as prioress of our monastery.  The Sister President of the Federation of St. Gertrude will present her to the community and install her as prioress according to Canon Law and our Tradition.  “The prioress-elect shall take the oath of office, assume office, and obtain the right and duties of the office of prioress on the day of installation” (General Norms). The prioress’ oath includes several questions.  Two of these are close to the heart of our Benedictine life.
Sister Maribeth, do you promise to encourage your sisters to love God, to live the Gospel, and to observe the Rule of Benedict?
Sister Maribeth, are you resolved to encourage your sisters to be faithful to the traditions of the monastic way of life by example as well as by words?
The new prioress will then be given the Sacred Scriptures and the Rule of Benedict to guide her in the Office of Prioress.  The Federation President will then ask us if we “promise to accept, support, obey, and pray” for our prioress.  If we do, we also pray that “We look to you, our prioress, to unify, teach, heal and minister by your love and service…[that] through prayer and work, we may extend the reign of God in peace and justice that in all things God may be glorified”.  Then Sr. Maribeth, newly installed, will be blessed by the presider of the Mass and our sisters gathered to receive her.
 .
Prayer schedule changes during Monastic Chapter…
 .
Thursday:  Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
8:30 AM ~ Lauds, morning prayer
8:50 AM ~ Celebration of the Eucharist
4:45 PM ~ Vespers, evening prayer
 .
Friday:  Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
8:30 AM ~ Lauds, morning prayer
8:50 AM ~ Celebration of the Eucharist
5:15 PM ~ Vespers, evening prayer
 .
Saturday:  Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel
8:30 AM ~ Lauds, morning prayer
10:30 AM ~ Celebration of the Eucharist, Installation of Prioress
5:15 PM ~ First Vespers for the Solemnity of Pentecost, evening prayer
.
Blessings to you,

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ARCHIVED Stories of our Monastic Life

 Bishop Marty Chapel Stained Glass Nuns Sisters Scribe Writing Yankton Benedictines Sacred Heart Monastery

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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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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