Our Leadership Team

Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff OSB, Prioress, 605-668-6001
S. Maribeth has lived in SD most of her life and is originally from Miller, SD. She graduated from Mount Marty College in 1988, and received her Master’s in Pastoral Ministry at St. Mary University in Winona, MN. Recently celebrating her Silver Jubilee (25 years) as a Sister she spent the last several years as Campus Ministry Director at Mount Marty College. Elected in 2017 as Prioress of this community, she now serves as its spiritual and corporate leader.

“The prioress should always let mercy triumph over judgment in the hope of receiving like treatment from the Lord.” Rule of Benedict, Chapter 64

Sister Sharon Ann Haas OSB, Subprioress, 605-668-6002
Sr. Sharon Ann grew up in Epiphany, SD. She attended St. Joseph’s School of Practical Nursing in Mitchell, SD, received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mount Marty College and a master of nursing from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO. She entered Sacred Heart Monastery in 1965 and has worked in the ministry of healthcare including, infirmarian and clinic nurse, staff nurse, assistant professor of nursing. She also serves as formation director at Sacred Heart Monastery.

“The sub-prioress, for her part, is to carry out respectfully what her prioress assigns to her, and do nothing contrary to the prioress’s wishes or arrangements” (RB 65.16).

Yankton Benedictines Sr. Mary Kay AberdeenSister Mary Kay Panowicz OSB, Procurator, 605-668-6003
S. Mary Kay Panowicz, a native of St. Paul, NE, joined the Yankton Benedictines in 1966. She earned a BA degree in Art from Mount Marty College, a MSS from the University of South Dakota and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana. She has ministered in public relations, art education and studio work, health governance and in liturgical space consultation. She has served as procurator since 2011.

“The cellarer (procurator) will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected. If goods are not available to meet a request, the cellarer will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift. (Sir 18:17). Rule of Benedict, Chapter 31

Community Through Living Groups

For Benedictines, “community” isn’t just our organizational structure. It’s something we live every day, guided by the ancient wisdom of the Rule of St. Benedict. Every day we show our love for Christ by our efforts to:

  • love one another
  • build trustful and loving relationships with God, with one another, with planet earth, and with our deepest selves;
  • practice collaboration and cooperation;
  • learn the daily arts of forgiveness and peacemaking.

Each sister also belongs to a living group of 4–12 people with whom she shares time and living area. There are 10 living room/kitchenette spaces throughout the monastery, with names like Subiaco (Benedict’s first monastery), Jericho, or Emmaus. Sisters gather for noonday prayer in their living room and also hear how everyone’s day is going. After supper the Sisters visit, watch TV or play games with their group.

Each Living Group is Listed Below

Click on the toggle for each living groups: photo, favorite verses and activities they share together!


  Back row: (Left to Right) Ss. Lynn Osika, Corinne Lemmer, Carmella Luke, Barbara Kowalkowski, Candyce Chrystal, Debra Kolecka and Penny Bingham Front row: (Left to Right) Ss. Cynthia Binder, Kathleen Crowley, Aidan Bourke, Kevin Irwin, and Grace Feldhacker Subiaco Living group photo


Jericho Living Group PhotoTop row: (Left to Right) Ss. Bernadette McGowen, Jill Young, Marlene Stetz, Terry Lafferty, Erin Colgan, and Maribeth Wentzlaff Front row: (Left to Right) Ss. Madonna Schmitt, Jane Frances Garcia, and Louise Marie Goettertz  


Emmaus Living Group Back row: (Left to Right) Novice, Theresa McGinn, Ss. Sharon Ann Haas, Kathryn Burt, and Patricia Heirigs. Front row sitting (Left to Right: Ss. Doris Oberembt, Rosalie, and Marietta Kervliet. Favorite group verse: “Were not our hearts burning within us when he spoken to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us.” Luke 24:32 Most enjoyed group activity: Playing Cards Least favorite: Labeling stuff in the refrigerator


Anawim Living GroupTop row: (Left to Right) Ss. Julie Peak, Sarah Schultz Bottom row: Ss. Eileen Neville, Delores Rush and Janice Mayer  


Carmel Living Group PhotoBack row: (left to right) Ss. Mary John Scheuren, Valerie Cheney, Jacquelyn Ernster, and Bonita Gacnik. Front row: (left to right) Ss. Marie Helene Werdel (recently passed), Matthew Wehri, Thecla Holzbauer, and Rosaleen Dickes.



Dayspring Living froup photoLeft to Right: Ss. Anna Dangel, Marcine Quintus, Joelle Bauer, Arthur Schramm, Virginia Pieper, Marita Kolbeck, Michaeleen Muhovich, Esther Holzbauer, Norma Norton, and Rosemarie Maly. Not pictured: Sister Joyce Streff Favorite group verse: “Be still and know that I am God” Ps. 46:10 “You will show me the path of life” Ps. 16:11

We Love the Bible.

Most enjoyed group activity:  When we have a hospitality dinner together, inviting one of the sisters to join us, thus getting to know the sisters, especially those who have recently returned home. Our group likes to prepare ordinary and special meals (Feastdays, Birthdays) on Fridays and other days, especially using our own community garden produce. We also enjoy giving the other groups gifts at Christmas such as home-grown canned fruits and vegetables.  


Jordan Living Group Back row (Left to right): Ss. Francine Streff, Carol Jean VanDenHemel, Clarice Korger, Mary Kay Panowicz, Mary Jo Polak. Front row (Left to right): Ss. Marielle Frigge, Mary Carole Curran, and Rosemary Weber. Not pictured: S. Paulette Larsen Favorite group quote:Our favorite quote is from the Advent hymn, “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh.”  Our living area is on the side of the monastery nearest to the Missouri River, so we like the river imagery and it reminds us of our baptismal call to “put on Christ.” Favorite thing to do: We enjoy sharing faith and friendship over food! We take turns cooking and eating together every Saturday night. Hardest thing to do: Scheduling! Because of the varied ministry schedules, it is hard to find a free night when we can all gather to celebrate birthdays, feastdays, etc.

Back row: (Left to Right) Ss. Kathryn Easley, Joyce Feterl, Barbara McTague, Denette Leifeld, Peggy Venteicher, Jodelle Zimmerman, Mildred Busch, and Kathleen Courtney.

Front row seated: (Left to right) Ss. Wilma Lyle, Margo Tschetter, Patricia Ann Toscano, Margretta Doyle & Dorothy Olinger.

Favorite group verse: We Love the Bible.

Most enjoyed group activity:  When we have a hospitality dinner together, inviting one of the sisters to join us, thus getting to know the sisters, especially those who have recently returned home.

Least favorite activity among the group. Another favorite activity for some members is playing cards, while it is the thing some of us would dread having to play. We enjoy our view of the river and all the beautiful sunsets, especially during Advent – thus the name of our group on 4th floor – Riverview.


Shalom Group Photo Cropped Front row: (Left to Right) Ss. Aurea Medina (recently passed), Virginia Kopp (recently passed) & Elise Haverkamp. Back row: (Left to Right) Ss. Carol Baumert, Jeanne Ranek, Donatha Gunda, Jeanne Weber, and Phyllis Hunhoff Most enjoyed group activity. We enjoy games—Dominoes, 3-13, Quiddler and 5,000 (a dice game).  

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