Twinning Monastic Communities

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Twinning Monastic Communities

Our Twinning Program, the sister-monastery relationships that we have with Benedictine Sisters in Chile and Tanzania, fills us with hope. These international connections broaden our concept of the meaning of hospitality to include celebrating new ways of being Benedictine. They help us see beyond our own borders and our own experience, proving that our fifteen-hundred year tradition continues to give life to cultures different from our own.  
Monasterio Santa Maria de Rautén, Chile

St. Scholastica Monastery already had a history with the people of Chile, from the 1960s when Sisters worked in education, health care, and pastoral ministries in Antofagasta. (Read about it here in the history article To Chile and Back.)

In 1996 we began a collaborative relationship with Monasterio Santa Maria, a small community of contemplative Benedictine women in Rautén, Chile. Two Sisters from Duluth visited them, bringing a chainsaw and wood-working tools for their craft shop, and learned about their way of life. Sisters from very different backgrounds became friends, and both communities treasure the rich relationship that has grown between us.

When their prioress, Sister Susana, paid us a return visit, she said, “It was hard to believe another culture in another hemisphere would be interested in us because we are so new and have only twelve members. We were astounded and surprised, and then when you visited us the potential friendship became real. Our Sisters correspond with Sisters at St. Scholastica, and this communication is very good for us. When one of us receives a letter, we say, “I received a letter from my sister,” and “I need to write to my Sister.”

The Sisters of Monasterio Santa Maria de Rautén, Chile
The Sisters of Monasterio Santa Maria de Rautén, Chile
Sisters from Duluth ministered in Antofagasta, Chile in the 1960s and 70s. We are now a twinning monastery with a community in Rautén.
Sisters from Duluth ministered in Antofagasta, Chile in the 1960s and 70s. We are now a twinning monastery with a community in Rautén.
On a visit to Monasterio Santa Maria de Rautén, Sister Theresa Spinler and the Chilean Sisters share photograph albums.
On a visit to Monasterio Santa Maria de Rautén, Sister Theresa Spinler and the Chilean Sisters share photograph albums.
St. Agnes Convent in Chipole, Tanzania

At the same time we also began a collaborative relationship with St. Agnes Convent in Chipole, Tanzania and with St. Gertrude Convent in Imiliwaha, Tanzania. Since then, Sisters have visited back and forth, deepening the friendship, and Tanzanian Sisters come to visit in turn. Some stay with us while earning college degrees at The College of St. Scholastica. Their visits enrich our lives by giving us a glimpse of another way of living the Rule of St. Benedict.

After Sister Gaudensia Mwanyika graduated from college, she returned home to Tanzania and built a school for children north of Dar es Salaam.
After Sister Gaudensia Mwanyika graduated from college, she returned home to Tanzania and built a school for children north of Dar es Salaam.
Tanzanian Sisters making blocks to build a security wall around their new school.
Tanzanian Sisters making blocks to build a security wall around their new school.
Our Twinning Monasteries in Tanzania
Our Twinning Monasteries in Tanzania
On August 15, 2019, Sisters at St. Gertrude's Convent in Imiliwaha celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding.
On August 15, 2019, Sisters at St. Gertrude's Convent in Imiliwaha celebrated the 50th Anniversary of their founding.
“Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life...all of our life.”
–Henri Nouwen