Becoming a Sister

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As Benedictine women, our lives are anchored by the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. In communal life we encounter Christ daily through our Sisters and others around us, while in prayer and ministry we help create a more just and compassionate world through living out the Gospel.

We encourage each other to develop individual charisms or gifts, and we share these charisms in our ministries. Don’t be afraid that you have nothing to offer: God will bring out your hidden talents as you discover new ways of expressing God’s love for you.

Explore this website to learn more about our Community and read further on this page for the journey you would take in becoming a Benedictine Sister.

If you believe God is calling you to monastic life and are between the ages of 20 and 50 and in good health, complete a contact form HERE or contact our Vocation Director directly (see below). We will be happy to hear from you.

If you aren’t yet 20, contact our Vocation Director and stay in touch. We can help you discern where the Spirit is leading you as you deepen your relationship with God.

Because of recent changes in immigration law, we are only able to discern with potential new members who are already citizens or permanent legal residents of the USA.

For more information contact:

Sister Lisa Maurer, OSB
St. Scholastica Monastery
1001 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
SrLisa@duluthosb.org
(218) 723-7011

“Let us get up, then, at long last, for the Scriptures rouse us when they say: ‘It is high time for us to arise from sleep.’ Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge:

‘If you hear God’s voice today, do not harden your hearts.'”

Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue

The cloister walk connects the Chapel and Monastery. It is a place of beauty, peace, and silence that provides a contemplative transition from prayer to ministry. A second cloister walk connects the Chapel to the College of St. Scholastica.
The cloister walk connects the Chapel and Monastery. It is a place of beauty, peace, and silence that provides a contemplative transition from prayer to ministry. A second cloister walk connects the Chapel to the College of St. Scholastica.
Discernment: Where do you begin?
We began our journey as you are, by seeking to discern God’s will. We responded to a call that came in different ways and at different times, ages, and locations. Some heard the call from a young age, while others heard the first whisper of God’s voice in college or while beginning a career. Many of our new Sisters were already established in careers when they realized something was missing in their otherwise successful lives.

Our discernment led us to monastic life and to St. Scholastica Monastery, to following the ideals of the Gospel and the Rule of St. Benedict. God directed us to live in this Community under the guidance of a prioress.

How have you heard the call from God?

If our way of life resonates with you, call or email us to arrange a visit. Above all, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your discernment, remembering that the first thing needed for anyone wishing to enter a monastic community is to truly seek God.

We specifically discern with women who are between 20 and 50 years of age. Discerning women will be single, have some college and/or work experiences and must be free of major debts, and have been a practicing Catholic for at least two years. A period of three to five years following the death of a spouse or divorce must precede request for application. An annulment is required, in the case of a divorce, before application can proceed. One must have sufficient physical and psychologic health to live in community and be involved in service to others. A physical exam and medical history are required, as well as psychological testing by a community-approved psychologist.

When you and the Vocation Director believe it is time for the next step, we will invite you to request affiliation with our Community.

The Affiliate Stage: Taking the First Step

The Affiliate stage will help you discern your suitability for religious life and your vocation to Benedictine monastic life. During this second stage of discernment, you would visit us in Duluth to experience the monastic rhythm of our life. How often you visit and how long you stay will depend on part on where you live.

During this stage, you would maintain your own living arrangements and job or school, but you are encouraged to be in contact with the Sisters and visit us as often as possible. You will have our encouragement and prayerful support as you listen to God’s voice speaking to your heart. You will pray with us, get to know us over shared meals, and we in turn will be blessed in getting to know you.

When you and the Affiliate Director discern that you are ready for the next step, you would ask to become a Postulant.

Becoming a Postulant: Experiencing Monastic Life
“Postulant” comes from Latin postulare, meaning to ask. As postulant you ask yourself and God if this is where you are called, and we ask ourselves if you have the right temperament to become a monastic. In this initial period you can try the life on and see how it fits.

At a simple Rite of Entry in Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel before Evening Prayer, you will receive the Liturgy of the Hours prayer books, a medal of St. Benedict, and an apron, all of which symbolize your commitment to try the Benedictine life of prayer, community, and work.

This period lasts for six months to two years. You will live at the Monastery but retain your personal money and possessions, while you take part in our prayer life, work at assigned tasks, and get to know the Community. You will study Scripture, liturgy, Benedictine spirituality, and the history of monasticism. The Postulant Director will be your spiritual guide and mentor as together you determine your readiness for the novitiate.

When you and your Director discern that you are ready to take the next step, you will apply to enter the Novitiate.

Becoming a Novice
As a novice, you will be addressed as “Sister” and either keep your own baptismal name or choose the name of one of your special saints. The novitiate is twelve consecutive months as prescribed by Canon Law; during this time you will remain on monastic grounds except for necessary trips.

 

The Novitiate is a time of intense spiritual formation for commitment to the Benedictine way of life through prayer, study, and participation in Community life and service. The program of study during the novitiate includes study of scripture, history, the theology of monastic profession, the Rule of Benedict, and Church documents related to religious life. This initiation period allows both the Sister and the Community time to discern whether or not the novice is developing the qualities and skills for monastic life.

Throughout your novitiate you will have the loving support of all of us. We will mark the seasons of God’s time with you, as you and your Novice Director discern your readiness to enter into deeper commitment through First Monastic Profession.

Waterfall on Chester Creek near the Monastery
Waterfall on Chester Creek near the Monastery
Putting down roots
Putting down roots
Making your First Monastic Profession: a Sister for Three Years
Your next response to God’s call comes in the ceremony of First Monastic Profession. For three years you promise stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life, and obedience.

These promises, explained more fully in the next section, intensify your baptismal commitment to the universal Church as you enter into a covenant with the Community. First Monastic Profession immerses you more fully in the Benedictine way of life. Use this time to deepen your relationship with God, live the Rule of St. Benedict with your whole heart, and integrate yourself more completely into our Community.

You and the Prioress will determine your ministries based on your education, experience, and talents, as well as the needs of the Community. We are teachers and college professors, nurses, catechists, hospital and college Board members, writers, musicians, biologists, spiritual directors, photographers, secretaries, artists, and chaplains. We advocate for fair laws for the voiceless and forgotten. We bring Communion to residents in nursing homes, serve meals to the hungry, direct retreats, act as consultants in chapel design and liturgy. As a Community we sponsor a college and two health care systems. We plant beans, tomatoes, and squash, pull rhubarb for pies, can and preserve, and cultivate flowers and the pollinators who feed on them.

We are whoever God calls us to be and we respond with open hearts and willing hands to whatever God sets before us.

During this grace-filled time you will continue to be formed in the monastic way of life. You will develop a balanced life of prayer, work, and leisure. You will continue to discern God’s will for you for at least three years, and when you and the Formation Director decide it is time, you will take the final step and request to make your Perpetual Monastic Profession.

Making your Perpetual Monastic Profession: a Sister for Life
Should God call you to Perpetual Monastic Profession, you, too, will promise for life what we have all promised.

Stability is the promise to fully embrace life with your Sisters, to root yourself in this Community for the rest of your life — not drawing back or looking elsewhere when life grows hard, but casting your lot with the Community wherever that may take you, knowing that, if this is where God wants you, then this is where you belong.

Fidelity to the Monastic Way of Life is the promise to seek God daily with all your thought and strength. It is a commitment to live the monastic way of life handed down to us through the Rule of St. Benedict and the tradition of the Order and this Community. It means trusting that, if you live it with your heart open to the Holy Spirit, God will transform you into the person you were born to become. Personal poverty and celibate chastity are included in this promise.

Obedience is the promise to listen to the voice of the Spirit in Scripture, in the Rule of St. Benedict, in the Prioress of the Community, in one another, in the Spirit within yourself, and in the unfolding of history. It means to surrender your self-will to the Holy Spirit and lay down any personal agendas you may have brought with you in order to embrace the collective good. This does not mean blind obedience to authority, but a mutual obedience among the Sisters that allows us all to hear the voice of God speaking in each other’s hearts.

This is the threefold promise you will make at your Perpetual Monastic Profession.

We are Benedictine monastics of great faith, quiet courage, and gentle strength who have stepped into the 1500-year continuum of the Benedictine tradition with great respect for the past, reverence for the present, and eagerness to respond to the future.

Is God calling you here to become part of Benedictine history, to belong to our present, to help form our future?
First Monastic Profession of Sister Kathleen
First Monastic Profession of Sister Kathleen
Sister Elizabeth at her Perpetual Monastic Profession
Sister Elizabeth at her Perpetual Monastic Profession
“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