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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

Honoring Our Foundress

Greetings,

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”

 

The Oratory ~ A Place of Prayer

Greetings,

The communal prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours is the hub around which a Benedictine community turns. Of the 73 chapters in Saint Benedict’s Rule, over a dozen focus on the structure of prayer, outlining the times for prayer, as well as the format and Psalms that should be used. Several more of the chapters continue to add recommendations that illustrate the nature of our prayer, calling us to an openness and reverence as we approach both the Liturgy of the Hours and private prayer. Benedict denotes when the bells should be rung, who should lead prayer, even suggesting how the community should be arranged in the oratory. What Benedict doesn’t mention is how the oratory itself should be designed. The closest he comes to such a comment is at the beginning of his chapter “On the Oratory of the Monastery”, his Rule states, “Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer; and let nothing else be done there or kept there” (Rule of Benedict 52: 1).

If you have visited any variety of Benedictine monasteries or abbeys, you will likely feel a commonality in their oratories and chapels. The spaces will all be different in design and material, but within them, you will feel a similar simplicity, warmth, and focus on the community that prays within it. Benedict may not describe how he wants an oratory to be built, but he sets the tone or environment of the space through the communal nature of his Rule, focus on simplicity, and reminder that “[he should] regard all the utensils of the monastery and its whole property as if they were the sacred vessels of the altar. Let him not think that he may neglect anything” (chapter 31).

Our Peace Chapel where we celebrate our daily Liturgy of the Hours is simply arranged around the altar in a half-circle where the sisters can easily see each other during our prayer and bring that focus to Christ in the Eucharist.  However, one wall is set aside for décor that reflects the Church seasons. During the brief Ordinary interlude between Christmas and Lent, the face of Christ gazed out at our community.

“The image is a close-up of the face of Christ from a 13th century mosaic in the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 360AD, the Hagia Sophia, originally a cathedral, is generally considered one of the best examples of Byzantine art and architecture in the world. Over the centuries, various works of art were added to the Cathedral. The original 13th century mosaic is a common depiction in Eastern Christian iconography of Christ flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist” (Sr. Marielle).

 

Unable to print or create an entire icon of the mosaic art, Sister Marielle collaborated with one of our workmen to create a display. While Sister planned out where to find large poster art of details from the icon, the workman designed a simple display of masonite backing and plexiglass. He also created a clever clip system to hold it all together on a sturdy tripod. Now that we have a reverent way to display the art, our artist and liturgy sisters are on the search for more prints of sacred art, details from major icons, and plans for the future, including an image of the Blessed Mother for major Marian feasts as well as those key months of May and October.

Curious about our ‘accent’ wall calling us to deeper prayer?
Join us in the Peace Chapel for Liturgy of the Hours or daily Mass…we’ll save a chair for you.

Blessings to you,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

A Diamond, Shining Bright ~ Sr. Mary Carole

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the stories of our Jubiliarian Sister, celebrating a significant anniversary in religious life of 60 YEARS of service to Christ, Church, and Community…

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.

Sister Mary Carole’s call to religious life began in her childhood. She shared, “I always knew God was calling me, but at first, I tried to ignore that persistent voice. Despite receiving several scholarships elsewhere, a full scholarship appeared as part of God’s plan for me and drew me to Yankton and Sacred Heart Monastery.”

Sr. Mary Carole grew up in York, NE with her parents and brother John; her mother later became ill and died when she was only ten. Sister reflected that she, “sees now that this was also preparing me for my later ministry as a family therapist.”

During her mother’s illness, she boarded with the Benedictine Sisters at St. Joseph’s School in York. After completing elementary and high school at St. Joseph’s, she entered Sacred Heart Monastery in 1956. She made her First Profession in 1958 and Perpetual Profession in 1961.

Sr. Mary Carole began her education with a BA and then MA in mathematics, and her ministries in included teaching at elementary, secondary, and even college levels. Sister then returned to school for her PhD in psychology and began her ministry as a therapist and counselor. “I am a life-long learner and took advantage of every educational opportunity that was available. I am very fond of traveling and have had numerous opportunities to see the world.”  Participating in three Diocesan pilgrimages and traveling to Ghana with her missionary cousin, Fr. Bill, are noted as favorite travels and memories.

Sr. Mary Carole was the director of Catholic Family Services for three years for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. She was a psychologist with Avera Medical Group Behavioral Health in Yankton, for the last five years. She shared, “I am now beginning to look into the future for expanded possibilities as I look forward to another life change.”

“My 60 years as a Benedictine means 60 years of opportunity to make a difference. The personal, professional, and spiritual support provided by my religious community during these 60 years has enabled me too influence the intellectual and spiritual growth of young people and adults in the classroom; promote healing in the lives of abused children and adults; minister to the divorced, widowed, and separated; reach out to those incarcerated in our prisons; and provide opportunities to bring healing to veterans impacted by the horrors of war.”

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,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

National Catholic Sisters Week, Perpetual Profession ~ Sister Peggy

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the stories of our Sisters celebrating key moments in their formation to serve Christ, Church, and Community…

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.

Sister Peggy proclaimed her Perpetual Monastic Profession as a member of our Monastic Community on July 28th in the presence of her family, friends, and our Monastic Community. Sister chose a quote from Romans as the theme for her celebration of vows: “I am called to His purpose” from Romans 8:28. Aware of God’s love throughout her life, Sr. Peggy reflected, “Many years after multiple seeds were planted, my heart was open to God’s call and I am able to answer with a joyful “YES”.”

Sister Peggy was raised in Pierce, NE, and was baptized at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mount Marty College and was employed at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk for several before entering the Monastery in 2012.

Sr. Peggy said that she was drawn to the Benedictine charism “because of the community of love and support found every day.”This sense of community has carried into her ministry as a Nurse at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. Sister continued, “Being called to Sacred Heart Monastery has been a true journey of self-awareness, love, and support. Making Perpetual Profession is the continuation of this journey, growing closer to God and being one with community. I wasn’t until I deepened my search for God that I found my inner peace, love, and joy. I pray that God may bless you.”

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,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

National Catholic Sisters Week, First Profession ~ Sister Terry

Greetings,

Each day of National Catholic Sisters Week, we will be sharing the stories of our Sisters celebrating key moments in their formation to serve Christ, Church, and Community…

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.

Sr. Terry is from Philadelphia, PA, and is the third of eight children in her family. While serving as an Assistant Professor of Theology at Mount Marty College, Terry began studying the life of our Benedictine community next door to the college, this led to her decision to join the Monastery.

During Saturday Vespers on August 4th, Sister Terry made her First Profession in the presence of Sister Maribeth, Prioress, and her Benedictine Sisters. She promised to live our Monastic Life of obedience, stability, and conversion of life according to the Rule of St. Benedict. Her family joined the Sisters in our joyful celebration of her First Profession.

Sister Terry reflected, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve God, this community, and in the world as a Benedictine Sister.”

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,

Return to “One Heart and One Soul”

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Monastic Horarium

Our weekday schedule at the Monastery.
6:00 AM ~ Early Breakfast
7:00 AM ~ Lauds in Peace Chapel
7:30 AM ~ Breakfast
11:15 AM ~ Mass in Peace Chapel
* 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!

Yankton Benedictine Sisters blog

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