Who We Are

Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery

Community photo of all the current Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery

[Click on the image above to download a PDF that shows the names of the Sisters in our Community.]

We are a community of 81 Benedictine Sisters in Yankton, South Dakota, who work, pray, play and celebrate together

  • Who live in monastic community according to the Rule of St. Benedict with its 1500 years of lived tradition
  • Are women who profess obedience, stability and conversion of life
  • Led by a prioress, who is the spiritual leader of our community, and one whom we believe is a voice and presence of Christ in our lives
  • We are women of the Dakota prairies who trace our roots to the Swiss community of Maria Rickenbach, nestled on the side of a picturesque Alp
  • We are women, who since 1880, have ministered to God, God’s people and each other beginning in Maryville, Missouri and then in the Dakotas and beyond
  • Strive for a balanced life of prayer, work, and recreative leisure in our lives
  • Share our hopes and dreams, our resources and talents, our challenges and sorrows as TOGETHER WE SEEK GOD

Pray Play Work CelebrateFour images each portraying the benedictine sisters in Pray, Work, Play, and Celebrate


 God is the source of all gifts in our lives and we express our gratitude in prayer. As a whole community we gather three times a day to give thanks and praise to God. We also seek to know Jesus on a personal level and do this by praying with the scriptures, with creation or by just sitting in God’s presence.


 Our overall work is to spread the kingdom of God in the world. The sisters’ prayer and community life together provides the energy we need to do this ministry. Each sister’s gifts and talents are matched with the ministry needs so that she may grow in her personhood and those to whom she ministers may see the action of God in their lives.


 It is part of our tradition to work hard and to play hard. Play is a great way to nourish our relationships with others, to re-energize, to get in touch with creation, and to nourish the child in us. Laughter is great medicine.


 We need to take time out of our ordinary schedules to celebrate the important events of our lives. How do we do this? By celebrating birthdays, feast days, professions, jubilees with much anticipation and excitement. Funerals are also important as we gather to celebrate the sister’s life among us and her birth into eternal life. If we were to list some of the high points of community life, celebrations would be near the top of the list.