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
In case you haven’t already heard… the newest issues of the Yankton Benedictines is here!! Click the image below to view the issue!
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Clarice Korger, OSB, celebrated her 25th jubilee of monastic profession on August 7th at Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton. She was born in Norfolk, Nebraska and grew up in Battle Creek and Columbus, Nebraska. She is the third of six children born to the late Eugenia (Krzycki) and Richard Korger. She entered Sacred Heart Monastery (a.k.a. the Yankton Benedictines) in 1994. She made her first profession of vows in 1996 and her perpetual monastic profession in 1999.
She is currently helping out around the monastery while she deals with health issues. In the recent past, she has served her community as vocation director; member of the PR committee; residential volunteer steering committee; and chair of the vocation committee; vocation advisory committee; and interview committee. In the more distant past she has served on the monastic counsel, the board of the college monastery sponsors (Mount Marty University) and various social work positions. When not working in her ministry position, S. Clarice might be watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory or crocheting gifts for her 5 siblings, 9 nieces and nephews and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews.
Her favorite quote is from Fiddler on the Roof: Because of our traditions, every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects him to do.
Kathryn Burt, OSB celebrated her 25th jubilee of monastic profession on August 7th and Sacred heart Monastery, Yankton. S. Kathy is the youngest of four children born to Clinton and Joan Burt of Yankton, SD. She grew up in Sioux Falls and attended the Sioux Falls Catholic schools from 1st grade until Graduating from O’Gorman High School in 1988. She states “I may be biased, but I believe, I have had the best education and am grateful to the many teachers who have influenced my life”.
She served in the Air National Guard in Sioux Falls, SD while attending Mount Marty University. She graduated from MMU in 1993 with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree. Upon graduation she worked at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. In 1994, she returned to Yankton, SD to join the Benedictine Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery. After making first profession in 1996, Sister Kathy worked at Avera Sacred Hospital on the surgical unit. She made her final profession in 1999. In 2001, she was given the opportunity to attend graduate school at The Catholic University of America where she obtained both her MSN and Doctoral degree in nursing Upon completion of her graduate studies Sister Kathy taught nursing for 11 years at Mount Marty University. In 2018 she received a position at Avera Majestic Bluffs as a nurse educator.
Sister Kathy states that “the most exciting thing about religious life is the call to do God’s service and work whatever that might be. That seems to be changing right now in our world, but what I think our world needs more than anything now is God. Despite some of the changes around us, religious sisters have been around forever and are a strong foundation. I believe that there are women and men called to continue the tradition of prayer and work. My religious vocation continues to call me to strive to build up Christ’s church. Entering a religious community has opened me up to a vast amount of possibilities that I never knew where possible. This is what community does, it calls me to be the best version of myself and to serve God in a multitude of ways.”
S. Eileen Neville OSB celebrated her 70th jubilee of monastic profession at Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, SD.
S. Eileen, daughter of the late William and Irene Neville, was born on the Feast of Benedict, July 11, on the family farm near York, NE. She attended a one-room rural school and graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in York. She attended Mount Marty College for one year prior to her entrance into the monastery in 1949. She made first profession in 1951 and received a B.A. degree from Mount Marty College in 1953. Later she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from St. Louis University.
She taught in the English department at Mount Marty College for over 45 years, as well as serving as Visiting Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1969-70, where she helped prepare students to teach in the culturally diverse settings. She was also active in the SD Humanities Council, the American Benedictine Academy and many other state and national organizations. She served on the Avera Sacred Heart Board of Trustees and worked with Native American communities and immigrant families from Vietnam. Most recently, she served as Interim Director of On-Going Formation for the monastery and assisted with research in the monastery archives and other community needs.
She says that her “vibrant religious family were a strong influence on my vocation. The generous, faith-filled example of my Benedictine Sisters who taught me in high school and college drew me to the Benedictines.” Reflecting on her 70 years of monastic life, S. Eileen says that she becomes more grateful each day for God’s having called her to this Benedictine life. “As I look back, I glimpse how enriching it has been to have shared family life with hundreds of Sisters. Their example and mentoring have led me to a greater intimacy with God, and which has been a wonderful reassurance in days of trial and stress and a source of deep peace.”
Sister Madonna Schmitt OSB celebrated her 75th jubilee of monastic profession at Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton. S. Madonna is the daughter of late Frank and Nettie Schmitt of rural Epiphany, SD. She entered the monastery in 1942 following the 8th grade. She attended Mount Marty High School graduating in 1945. Her first profession was in 1946 and her final monastic profession in 1950.
Madonna earned her Bachelor’s Degree in music from Mount Marty College and in liturgy from the University of Montreal. She also earned a Masters of Arts in Music Education from the University of South Dakota. She taught music at the elementary and secondary level in South Dakota and Nebraska. S. Madonna later served as a Parish Pastoral Minister in Grand Island, NE and Sioux Falls, SD. She also served in the monastery as Postulant Directress in the early 1960s.
In 1987, S. Madonna pursued chaplaincy studies at St. Louis University and completed her residency in Pastoral Care at Mayo Medical Clinic in Rochester, MN. She then served as a chaplain at Mercy Medical in Cedar Rapids, IA ministering to the sick and dying, a ministry dear to her heart. Upon returning to the Monastery in 1997, she was engaged in several ministries at the monastery and Mount Marty University. Until the fall of 2018, she continued to volunteer in the Benedictine Center at ASHH and Mount Marty University as welcome greeter and receptionist.
Of her 75 years as a Benedictine, S. Madonna says, “I have tried to live my life based on the acronym ‘U.I.O.G.D’ which translates to ‘That in all things God may be glorified’”, a quote from the Rule of Benedict. She says, “Having been called to this way of life at an early age, I have been blessed with abundance, supported by my birth family, my Benedictine sisters, and a host of wonderful people. It is God’s faithfulness which calls me forth daily and I am grateful.”
Please pray for us as we begin our Monastic Chapter this week! We ask your patience as we will be in meetings and not available beginning Monday, July 26th through Thursday, July 29th.
We also ask for your prayers as all of our sisters, from prioress to newly professed, travel home to discuss the “important business [that] has to be done in the monastery” (RB chapter 3). The Rule of Benedict describes the importance of gathering the all the sisters for council, this is reflected in our Monastic Chapter. As we discern the needs of our monastic community, we strive to see Christ present in each other.
From the Rule of Benedict:
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 week, we visit with our sisters: catching up on news, sharing joys and sorrows, taking walks and playing favorite games. We will also take time to celebrate. One evening is set aside to honor Sisters Madonna and Eileen, our Diamond Jubilarians of 75 and 70 years as professed sisters. They will renew their profession of vows during a Celebration of the Eucharist, then we will continue the evening with a joyful meal together.
This Chapter is also the beginning of well, a new chapter. We are beginning a deep review of our monastic life: our history and mission, our care for creation and coworkers, our life of community and prayer. This extended review and discussion of these bedrocks of our tradition will help us deepen our Benedictine life as we move forward into the future. Choosing hope and new life as a community, living Benedict’s good zeal “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. Thus, never departing from His school, but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching” (RB Prologue). We are joyful as we take this time to grow in our life together and our continued ministry to you and all God’s people as we “hasten to the heavenly homeland” (RB 73).
…So there is a good zeal which separates from vices and leads to God and to life everlasting. This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice with the most fervent love. Thus they should anticipate one another in honor…prefer nothing whatever to Christ. And may He bring us all together to life everlasting! (Rule of Benedict 72)
Blessings to you,
Return to “One Heart and One Soul”
Pray for us during our time of retreat; we shall keep you in our prayers.
This week many of our sisters are gathering at the monastery for retreat. This opportunity calls us to pause and set aside time from our usual schedules, ministries, and service in different works of the Church to be present in prayer before God and with community. This summer Catherine Upchurch, author and lecturer with Little Rock Scripture Study, will be our retreat director. Her conferences will focus on “Bible Lessons to Feed Our Hearts”. This tradition of retreat is based in the founding documents of the Federation of Saint Gertrude:
Listen I (General Norms of our Federation) recognizes that “Benedictine formation is a lifelong process of daily conversion within a dynamic, monastic faith community. The entire community is responsible, under the direction of the prioress, for the ongoing formation of all sisters. The monastery fulfills this responsibility when it provides the environment for the sisters to share their life together in faith and to continue their own daily effort toward growth in Christ” (G111).
Listen II (Specific Norms of our Federation) reminds the prioress that “the Monastery Norms specifies the ways a monastery provides for the continuing spiritual development of its sisters, such as community renewal, annual retreats, days of recollection and other opportunities” (S129).
Our Listen III or Monastery Norms (specific to our monastic guidance) takes all this into account and very simply states a list of items to support this continuing formation including “annual retreats” (M111.g). Simple…However, this yearly week of retreat is so important within our monastic life that it is even written into our contracts so we that may set at least a week aside for personal and private prayer, reflection, community, and Reconciliation.
Retreat allows for a deepening of relationship with God in the silence of our day (including meals). This silence will only be broken only by Catherine’s conferences and our celebrations of community prayer and Eucharist. However, the silence isn’t still, it is nurtured through our personal prayer and is active in our sisters’ personal reflection on the conferences. All this additional time in prayer reminds us to follow Saint Benedict’s injunction on the oratory:
“Let the oratory be what is is called, a place of prayer; and let nothing else be done there or kept there. When the Work of God is ended, let all go out in perfect silence, and let reverence for God be observed, so that any sister who may wish to pray privately will not be hindered by another’s misconduct. And that other times also, if anyone should want to pray by herself, let her go in simply and pray, not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart. She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore, shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory when the Work of God is ended, lest another be hindered, as we have said” (Rule of Benedict 52).
Retreat Week Prayer & Eucharist (June 27 ~ July 3):
Inspired to consider a retreat
to strengthen your relationship with Christ?
Blessings to you,
Return to “One Heart and One Soul”
We commemorate each of our sisters’ death anniversaries with special prayer intentions for that sister. Today, we remember and honor our foundress, Mother Gertrude Leupi. Her courage lead her to follow Bishop Martin Marty’s invitation to service. Leaving the Swiss Alps of Maria Rickenbach convent for the windswept plains of the Dakota Territory. She was the first prioress of Sacred Heart Convent and led our early sisters from 1880-1891.
As foundress of our community, Mother Gertrude Leupi, had a great love for solitude and prayer. She came to America in 1880 at the age of 55 with 21 years’ experience as Prioress. “An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery should always remember what she is called, and live up to the name of Superior. For she is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery, being called by a name of His, which is taken from the words of the Apostle: “You have received a Spirit of adoption …, by virtue of which we cry, ‘Abba — Father’”! Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command anything which is against the Lord’s precepts; on the contrary, her commands and her teaching should be a leaven of divine justice kneaded into the minds of her disciples” (Rule of Benedict 2).
Mother Gertrude was also foundress of two other communities. In all her years of being Benedictine, she always shared true concern for the spiritual and physical needs of her sisters. On March 26, 1904 at the age of 80, the Lord called her home, rewarding her for all her efforts to spread His message of spirituality.
Eternal rest grant unto to her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
The inscription upon her grave in Marianheim, Switzerland reads:
Mother Gertrude Leupi was born on March 1, 1825. She professed her Benedictine vows on March 21, 1848 and lived 25 years at the convent of Maria Rickenbach in the Swiss Alps. She then served in North America for 12 years as a foundress and superior of new Benedictine convents. She then returned to Switzerland, founded the Marienburg convent and later died March 27 (26), 1904.
Blessings to you,
Return to “One Heart and One Soul”