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Recent Events and News Notes from Home Page

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See Archives page for other events including 2016, 2015, and 2014 Jubilee Celebrations.

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S. Maribeth Wentzlaff Officially Installed as Prioress

“At the election Mass, S. Joella Kidwell, president of the Federation of Saint Gertrude asked the community, “Sisters, do you promise to accept, obey, and prayerfully support Sister Maribeth as your prioress? To which the community responded “We do. We the sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery elected you, Sister Maribeth, as our prioress. We believe that you are the spiritual leader of this community, a visible sign of Christ’s presence among us. We look to you, our prioress, to unify teach, heal and minister by your love and service … Together, through prayer and work, may we extend the reign of God in peace and justice that in all things God may be glorified. Amen”


S. Maribeth Wentzlaff was installed as the 14th prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery during the Eucharistic liturgy on Saturday, June 3.

S. Joella Kidwell, president of the Federation of St. Gertrude, conducted the installation ceremony, and Abbot Adrian Parcher presided. S. Maribeth succeeds S. Penny Bingham who completed her six-year term of office.

Raised in Miller and a graduate of Mount Marty College, S. Maribeth entered Sacred Heart Monastery in 1987 and most recently served as the director of Campus Ministry at Mount Marty College.

Read more here for full article.

Sisters Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking Issue

Last year the Monastic Council distributed a questionnaire about social justice areas that we at Sacred Heart Monastery as a community would be interested in focusing on 2016-1017.  As a community we decided to focus on human trafficking and the Death Penalty.  The Social Justice Committee was asked to assist with these choices.  The monastery has begun this focus. We encourage others to become educated about this national and state problem, to be aware of one’s surroundings and those who are suspicious, and to get involved in helping stop this crime.

The monastery began educating themselves on the issue of human trafficking with a community night in October. Sr. Joelle Bauer presented a power point with information on this topic.  Various slides were shown with information about trafficking.   It began with the statement:

Click here for full article of Sisters Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking Issue.


“Reflections at Wake” by S. Jeanne Ranek

Click here to view reflections for the life of S. Ann Fasbender. (Clicking this link will not download a document).

Death Penalty

During the eulogy for a nun,
the priest relates, In the ambulance
on her way to the hospital
sister stated that she would give
her pain for a successful end
to the death penalty in South Dakota.

A nun sitting in the hard pew
next to me, Kleenex tightly
balled in her left fist, blue-green
veins swelling in her luminous skin
whispers, That’s so like her.

                                                —for Sister Eileen O’Connor

Written by Jim Reese

Reprinted with permission in the Benedictines LXIX:2 2016 Fall/Winter, pg. 43

To learn more about Jim Reese and he recent works click here.



6th annual Candlelight Vigil

Ss. Kathryn Burt, Sharon Ann Haas, Phyllis Hunhoff, Penny Bingham, Mary Jo Polak, and Rosemarie Maly, and Peggy Venteicher showed support to the victims and survivors of domestic violence Friday evening, October 14th, by serving cookies to those attending the 6th annual Candlelight Vigil put on by the River City Domestic Violence Center. The cookies were prepared by several Sisters in various living groups at Sacred Heart Monastery. There were a few festive themed orange and black cookies even. Participation in this event and other outreach needs of the community expresses the Sisters’ passion for others as they continue to live their mission of service – serving God’s people in this time and place.

recent eventsrecent events

Fall Theology Institute 

The Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery had a special gathering Saturday morning, September 17, from 9:00 a.m. until noon in the Chapter Room.  Fr. Dennis Hamm, S.J. will present on The Gospel according to Luke- Bursting with Mercy.”

“Father Hamm advised us to look at every Gospel story in the context of the material before and after it.  Often it helps us understand the story in a deeper way.” – S. Mary Jo Polak

For more information about Theology Institutes visit the link on our webpage More pictures from the day can be found at

Reflections for S. Marie Helene Werdel by S. Mary Kay Panowicz

Hover over the blue title and click here to read the document in honor of S. Marie Helene Werdel

Ice Cream Social with Mount Marty Freshman

Freshma 2016 Mount Marty orientation

Novice Terry Lafferty sharing a laugh with Mount Marty freshman

The end of August is an indication of new beginnings. On Friday, August 26, before classes started Monday Sacred Heart Monastery welcomed Mount Marty College’s Freshman to campus. During the afternoon, the sisters hosted a “ice cream social” in the Monastic Chapter room.  We joyfully opened our doors to the new students, for the Rule of Benedict says “Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, “I came as a guest, and you received Me” (Matt. 25:35). And to all let due honor be shown, especially to the domestics of the faith and to pilgrims” (chapter 53).

See Flickr page for more photos: @



Watertown Benedictine Sister Celebrates 75th Jubilee

S. Rosalie Sitzmann celebrates 75th Jubilee

On Wednesday, August 10th, S. Rosalie Sitzmann OSB celebrated her 75th Jubilee of Monastic Profession at Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, SD. Sisters from Mother of God Monastery of Watertown, SD present to celebrate included: Ss. Jeremy Sitter, Marlene Minnaert, Johanna Schumacher, Emily Meisel, and Eileen Brick. Family members who joined to mark the joyous jubilee included: niece, Sarah Koopman; sister, Marlys Koopman; and Dan and Sandy Koopman. Msgr. Carlton Hermann presided at the Mass in the St. Joseph Care Center where S. Rosalie renewed her vows before Sr. Marlene, Prioress of Mother of God Monastery.

Then and Now

S. Rosalie entered Sacred Heart Monastery in 1939 and made her first vows in 1941. Sister was part of the original cohort of sisters who founded Mother of God Monastery in Pierre in 1960 (later moved to Watertown).  She currently resides in the St. Joseph Care Center at Sacred Heart Monastery.  Before retirement S. Rosalie’s ministries included nursing and nursing education. She was also second Prioress of the Watertown Benedictine community.

Terry Lafferty received into Novitiate at SHM

Terry Lafferty received into Novitiate at Sacred Heart Monastery

On August 7th, 2016, in the presence of S. Penny Bingham, prioress, and the Benedictines Sisters, Postulant Terry Lafferty was received into the Novitiate. The Novitiate is a time of integration and preparation to enable the novice to better recognize her vocation to monastic life, experience the manner of living this life, be formed in mind and heart by its spirit, and be tested for her intention and suitability to live this way of life. The novitiate may be one to two years in length and is spent at Sacred Heart Monastery. Terry shares “I am grateful to Almighty God and the Sisters for giving me this opportunity to discern His will for my life.”


Terry is from Philadelphia, PA, the third of eight children of Patricia A. and the late Francis J. Lafferty. Terry came to the Yankton area in 2012, as an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies and Philosophy Department at Mount Marty College. While teaching at the college, Terry began studying the life of the Benedictine Sisters next door to the campus, leading to her decision to request to enter. 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. She and the Sisters joined together in the joyful celebration of her entering the Novitiate at Vespers on Sunday evening. The Sisters gathering in the monastery dining room to congratulate Terry after the ceremony.

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”...

The Work of the Prioress

Greetings, As we prepare to elect a new prioress this Spring, we wanted to share with you the work and role of this sister in our lives as the leader of our Benedictine family. The prioress in a Benedictine monastery is called to be deeply aware of her role as the...

Oblate Dean Retreat

Greetings, Oblate Deans have an important role in our monastery's work of sharing our Benedictine way of life.  Deans are oblates who have made final oblation and have been selected by the director to offer service and counsel toward becoming a Benedictine oblate. The...

Golden Jubilarians ~ Sister Jennifer

Greetings, Sister Jennifer grew up in Yankton, SD, and is the third child of her family. She attended Sacred Heart Grade School and Mount Marty High School in Yankton, being educated by the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton for twelve years. She was also encouraged by...

Monastic Chapter

Greetings, Please pray for us as we prepare for our Monastic Chapter this weekend. It is wonderfully appropriate that our June Monastic Chapter should coincide with our patronal feast, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; for we as discern the needs of our...

A Gathering of Hope

Greetings, "Collaboration is a style of performing ministry in a way that is completely based on the identification, release, and union of all the gifts in the Christian community so that the mission of Jesus Christ continues" (Br. Loughlan Sofield, ST)....

Benedictine Sisters
Sacred Heart Monastery
1005 W. 8th St.
Yankton, SD 57078

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