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Benedictine Sisters


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FAQWhat does semi-cloistered mean?
It means that although we observe a certain amount of enclosure for the sake of our contemplative life, we're not strictly cloistered. While we work within the monastery, we may leave for education, workshops, recreational outings, shopping and needed appointments. Each sister is also allowed an annual two-week home visit/vacation.

How much silence is there?
We observe a period of silence beginning at night, which lasts until after Lauds or Eucharist the next morning (depending on the monastery’s schedule). During the day, we maintain a quiet, prayerful atmosphere but speak when necessary at work, as well as enjoying conversation during meals and recreation.

Why don't you vow poverty, chastity and obedience?
Our Benedictine vows come from the Rule of Saint Benedict, which was written centuries before poverty, chastity and obedience became the standard vows.

Saint Benedict's vows (or promises, as he called them) are stability, conversatio and obedience. Stability is a commitment of lifelong fidelity to God and to our Congregation. Conversatio is a commitment to embrace all of monastic life as a path to holiness and conversion. This includes poverty or simplicity of life and chastity. Obedience is a vow of listening, responsive love to the voice of God as it comes to us through prayer, the Rule of Saint Benedict, Scripture, our prioress and our sisters.

How much do you pray?
We come together four times each day to chant the Psalms and listen to Scripture, as well as having daily Eucharist. We spend about 2 1/2 hours each day in personal prayer. This includes lectio divina (prayer with Scripture) adoration, contemplative prayer and individual devotions.

What are your ministries?
Our ministry is prayer! We receive many e-mails, letters and phone-calls requesting prayer. We are also aware of the many in our world who suffer greatly and have no way to request our prayer or who are without faith. We offer not only our times of prayer, but everything we do for their needs. We welcome those who wish to share in our prayer or take time for their own prayer and renewal.

If you don't have jobs outside the monastery, what kind of work do you do? How do you support yourselves?
The main way we support ourselves is by making altar breads (communion hosts). We also make handcrafted soaps, lotions, salves, candles and more for Monastery Creations and publish a magazine called Spirit & Life. Besides these works, sisters answer e-mails and letters, welcome guests, plan our liturgy, take care of our monastery and grounds and gardens, cook, clean, write, fix things, take care of our elder sisters and more. The important thing is not so much what we do but striving to do all with the remembrance of being in God’s presence.

What do you do for fun?
Some things we like to do for entertainment include enjoy nature, take walks, bike, play ping-pong, basketball or other sports, fish, ride in our paddleboat, make pottery soap or other crafts, play board games or cards, work jigsaw puzzles, garden, practice musical instruments and watch an occasional movie or ballgame on television. 

Do you wear a habit?
We do not wear a traditional habit, but we do wear black and/or white skirts/blouses or dresses. Simplicity and practicality are important to us. Before Profession, women in formation wear colored skirts/blouses/dresses. We receive our black and white clothing when we make First Monastic Profession. At this time, we also receive the Congregational emblem (a Benedictine cross with the symbols of the Eucharist.) The veil is optional. Sisters receive a ring at Final Monastic Profession. 

Do you ever get to see your family?
Yes. We get two weeks every year to leave and visit family or friends. However, all holidays and Feast Days are spent here with the community. Our families can also visit us at the monastery at various times.