Meet Sister Lynn Osika
“It is funny how I ended up here, and then I remember the verse from Jeremiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” — S. Lynn Osika
Born in Harvey, IL, in 1957 to Louis and Rose Osika, Sister Lynn Osika was an only child but had many cousins and friends. After graduating from Marian High School in Chicago Heights, she studied forestry at Michigan Tech University in Houghton and then Range Management at University of Wyoming in Laramie. S. Lynn shares, “while living in Houghton my family moved to the town of Norway, also in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My summer jobs included working with a surveying crew for the Highway Dept., and doing university research projects. That fall I went to the University of Wyoming for Range Management, focusing on mined-land reclamation ecology where the land is restored after coal and ore are removed. Having attended 12 years of Catholic school, becoming a sister was not ever on my radar screen, but I realized that the Sisters I did know had something.”
S. Lynn worked as an agricultural researcher for the Kansas Rural Center (Whiting, KS) and later served as a volunteer in a Catholic Worker House in Kansas City, MO, and running a Community Garden Project at Seton Center a parish neighborhood center serving the poor of inner Kansas City. Serving the poor and stewarding God’s creation have always been important to her. In her own words S. Lynn shares in greater detail. “The land has always been important to me, even though I grew up in a big city I learned from my family to appreciate the land and enjoy being in nature, camping, and walking in the woods. I also enjoy reading and doing jigsaw puzzles and watching basketball. A turning point was when I became a volunteer at Mother of God Monastery in Watertown, they’d started a year-long program to live there during 1986. I was 25-26 and thought I can do this for a year and also a good way to find out more about Monastic life. I remember a Sister there who was in charge of the program telling me I could be in charge of the grounds, we have all these trees and buildings to accommodate, this option sounded appealing. “I then again had the thought I could enter here.”
S. Lynn entered Mother of God Monastery the summer of 1986 in Watertown, SD and made first monastic profession in 1988 and perpetual monastic profession in 1992. She took care of the monastery grounds and assisted in the business office at Harmony Hill Center. After receiving a Master’s degree in library science from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1993, she worked as librarian in Watertown and from 1997-2010 in the Brookings, SD, Public Library. In 2010 she returned to Watertown to serve as the monastery archivist, and in 2011 moved to Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, SD to discern a transfer to this community. In Yankton, she volunteered in Mount Marty College library, worked at Yankton Community Library, and taught a Wisdom of Benedict class at MMC. She currently serves as a librarian and archivist from Mount Marty College and teaches Wisdom of Benedict classes.
Reflecting on the future S. Lynn comments, “The people keep me striving to live this Benedictine Life and when I entered, the reality for me was ‘it was like yeah you came to the Monastery to seek God but all these other people are just kind of here too, each seeking God in our own way.’ It is amazing that we all come from a variety of families, backgrounds, pleases and likings yet we work together for the good of the whole. The future will be different, something is coming, hopefully big, I am optimistic. If you’re thinking of religious life I’d refer one to the Nike slogan–, just do it, ask questions, try it, be open to many new things, and if I were not in community I would not be the person I am today, nor done many of the jobs and careers and experiences I have had over past 30 years.
If you ask, it will come back to you. Where is your happiness? Listen to your heart.”
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