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Prayer partnership bridges generations

Prayer partnership bridges generations - (27-03-2018)

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PHOTO: Sister Virginia Anne Argenziano, OSB, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Mo., spends time in daily prayer for a local high school student she has been paired with as part of a prayer exchange.

It’s a partnership built on prayer and one that bridges generations.

For more than 20 years, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Missouri, have teamed with students from area high schools in order to share prayer with one another. Students are paired with a Benedictine Sister who serves as his or her prayer partner. This year, students from Jefferson, Northeast Nodaway, South Nodaway and Stanberry are participating, according to St. Columba Parish Youth Director Jeanette Schieber.

“When we begin each year and tell which Sister is partnered with which student, I am always so blessed to witness the joy on the freshmen faces,” Schieber said.

Chase Farnan, a junior at Jefferson High School in Conception Junction, Missouri, said the partnership is a very special one for him.

“Knowing that all of the Sisters are praying for our youth group is amazing but having one pray for me specifically each day is incredibly special,” he said. “I think of my prayer partner often and send up prayers for her as well as her fellow Sisters."

Sister Virginia Anne Argenziano, OSB, who serves as the Benedictine community’s subprioress, added something new this year: individual prayer cards for each student that the Sisters keep with them daily.

“Every Sister has her own way of expressing the partnership,” Sister Virginia Anne said. “Sisters have corresponded with the student by sending cards on significant occasions or inviting one over for a visit. Others have the card posted over their mirror to remember them at the start of each new day. I myself keep the card in my Morning Prayer Book to daily remember my student.”

Madelynn Mattson, a freshman at Northeast Nodaway in Ravenwood, Missouri, said the prayer exchange provides daily affirmation that she isn’t alone.

“Someone is praying for me each day, and I pray for my Sister too,” she said. “I feel like someone is looking out for me.”

Mikalya Mattson, a senior at Jefferson High School agreed.

“I have the prayer card that they sent us on my nightstand. Whenever I see this, it reminds me that I always have someone praying for me. This brings me a feeling of comfort and strength, especially if I'm going through a rough time. I strive to say prayers for them through my week as well. I'm truly blessed to have the Sisters so close to home.”

With the Benedictine Sisters being a semi-cloistered, contemplative community, their daily interactions with the public are rarer than those of religious members of apostolic communities who teach in schools or work in hospitals. So the prayer exchange is especially meaningful to the Sisters because it offers a way for them to emotionally bond with their young neighbors every day.

“The prayer partnership helps us to focus on the needs of our young people of the immediate area - their safety, guidance, encouragement and studies and also raise their awareness of the Sisters just across the fields - that we are here and that we really care about them,” Sister Virginia Anne added.