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Benedictine Sisters


The Benedictine Sisters are governed by an elected Prioress General and a three-member General Council.

Sister Dawn Annette MillsPrioress General - Sister Dawn Annette Mills, OSB

Sister Dawn Annette is a native of Hobart, Indiana, and entered the Benedictine Sisters in 1975. She completed a master’s program at the Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College in Oakland, California, and has also taken courses at St. Louis University and at the University of Notre Dame. She has also served as director of development, director of the correspondence department, as a pastoral minister and managed the altar bread department. She served as prioress of the Tucson community for six years and as its oblate director for almost 10 years. An accomplished writer, she is a member of the editorial staff for “Spirit&Life” magazine and author of the book, “The Gospel According to Dawn.” 



Sister Joan RidleyGeneral Councilor - Sister Joan Ridley, OSB

Sister Joan was born in Philadelphia and entered a missionary Dominican community when she was 18 years old. She earned degrees in social work and law, using them to serve the poor in ministry. In 1996 she embraced the call to contemplative monastic life and made a formal transfer three years later to the Benedictine Sisters. Most recently, she was the subprioress of the sisters’ community in Tucson and was instrumental in the monastery’s conversion to solar energy use. Sister Joan is a valued speaker on the topic of Eucharistic Adoration and receives invitations to do so from around the country. In 2010 she released “In the Presence: The Spirituality of Eucharistic Adoration,” which offers devotional and theological perspectives and suggestions for modern Catholics to connect with adoration in a contemporary way. 



Sister Valerie StarkGeneral Councilor - Sister Valerie Stark, OSB

Sister Valerie is originally from the Kansas City area and has served as the congregation’s treasurer general since 2001. She received a bachelor of arts degree in literature and creative writing from the University of Arizona. She also studied English at Emporia State University in Kansas. Prior to her entrance in 1990, she worked as an accounting clerk, a bookkeeper and a teacher.





General Councilor - Sister Ruth Elaine Starman, OSB

Sister Ruth Elaine is an Elgin, Nebraska, native and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and computer science from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. She entered the Benedictine Sisters in 1993 and has served as the congregation’s vocation director since 2005. She plays the organ, piano, guitar and harp and plays for community liturgies. She served a term as Secretary General on the General Council from 2008 - 2014.  She was re-elected to the general council in June 2014 and now serves as Assistant Prioress General.






      Clyde Prioress - Sister Rita Clair Dohn, OSB