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Autumn 2012

Connecting Point Off the Clock: Memories of a Summer Retreat Every summer, we host a retreat for ourselves. That is, we go off the clock, slip into restful silence, and spend an entire week in prayerful reflection. Mornings begin with Lauds, as always, but are followed by talks given by our retreat director. This year we were fortunate to have Retired Des Moines Bishop Joe Charron – a warm and wonderful speaker - serve as our director. Here are some snippets from his talks.

How will we reverence Jesus? The Catholic belief in the real presence of Jesus in the sacramental bread and wine is important. But it doesn’t negate the other real presence of Jesus, as when two or more gather in his name. Jesus is really present in the person sitting across the room from us now. How will we reverence him in her? Whose Feet Are You Unwilling to Wash? Love is action offered to everyone, regardless of how they treat us. We see this in the washing of the feet in John’s Gospel, when Jesus washed the feet of the apostles. He included Judas, the apostle who betrayed him; Peter, the apostle who denied him; and Thomas, the apostle who doubted him. Dramatic examples of love in action include Mother Teresa, who loved and cared for those no one else was willing to touch or help, Archbishop Oscar Romero, who died at the hands of corrupt government thugs while celebrating Eucharist and social activist Dorothy Day who said, Why are their feet dirty to begin with? and worked to Sisters of St. Benedict

change the system that didn’t help the downtrodden. Bishop Joe asked us all, “Whose feet are you unwilling to wash?” Called to Forgiveness The story of Adam and Eve shows what happens when we try to hide, rather than confess, our sins. Most important, the hiding results in separation from God and one another. As Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent, they put a layer of separation between themselves and God. More layers of separation are added with the donning of clothing. Finally, the sin is perpetuated into the next generation, with the story of Cain and Abel. Forgiveness helps bring about reconciliation. Reconciliation brings

St. Mary Monastery

us back into honest communication with one another. We must forgive one another. Seeing - and Bearing - Grace Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is not a simplistic optimism. Hope is, to quote Walter Burkhart, SJ, desire with expectation. Bishop Joe That is, we are called Charron to see not just the negative in the world, but also the presence of grace. We are called to be bearers of hope. We are called to see – and share – that the light at the end of the tunnel is God waiting for us.

The fruit of that hope is joy. And God dwells in the midst of joy.

Continued next page

Rock Island, Illinois

Letter from the Prioress

Sr. Sandra Brunenn

Tears of Joy, Sorrow are Gift What an intense summer! My golden jubilee celebration followed by installation as Prioress and then by farewell at St. Maria Goretti parish in Coal Valley where I have been Pastoral Associate since 1997. And that was just the beginning! Since then we have experienced renewal through retreat and attendance at conferences, leisure via a relaxed schedule and vacations, as well as new health challenges and the loss of our Sister Germaine.

Sisters Sheila McGrath, front left, and Sandra Brunenn, front right, attended the LCWR Conference in St. Louis, Mo. In support of a campaign sponsored by the Catholic Sisters of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, they donned t-shirts that said, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Signed in red by Jesus, the word “stranger” is crossed out and replaced by the word “immigrant.”

Through all of this I have been aware in myself of the frequency of ‘watery eyes’! Gratitude, delight, surprise and wonder as well as sorrow frequently bring tears to my eyes. I have come to recognize my tears as a gift—a sign of the vibrant Spirit of God active in my life. I have learned that reflecting on these moments often uncovers deep wells of gratitude. As you read this issue of Connecting Point I encourage you to consider how you cultivate attention to the present moment. Truly this is where we experience the mystery of God’s presence. I pray that you be blessed from time to time with watery eyes, and I look forward to journeying with you.

Off the Clock

cont’d. from page 1

Questions for Reflection Bishop Joe asked us to ask ourselves the following questions:

“We are called to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is God waiting for us.”

Am I one who contributes to a sense of hope? Or, am I one who shoots down ideas because “we’ve tried them before, and they don’t work”? Do I gossip about others? Am I unforgiving? (To say I’m sorry or I forgive you are very hopeful words.) Do I give hope with the simple words, Thank you? Do I behave with graciousness? Do I give hope with deep hospitality? God is generous with us. Am I generous with others?

We are hopeful when we are prayerful. We are hopeful when we are trusting. Am I prayerful and trusting? Do I inspire prayerfulness and trust? While hard times can push us to hope, hope does not grow in loneliness! Do I help mitigate against loneliness? The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Hope and joy are ours to enjoy ... to celebrate ... to share! 2

Responding to a Nagging Sense of Something More From the beginning of recorded time, living as a religious Sister has been countercultural. We give up our possessions … our bank accounts … our cars. We take on a new set of priorities. We take on a new set of responsibilities. In other words, it’s no longer about “me.” It’s about “we.”

my younger sister, Jill and I – always attended Catholic school. The church was a constant in my life. My formation was centered in the church, and my values were centered in family. That fit with the Benedictine value of stability, of being rooted with a particular group of people in a particular place.

What might make someone take such a radical, countercultural step? It’s sure not the salary. (There is none.) It’s not the easy lifestyle. (We begin our days before dawn in chapel for Lauds.) It’s not the nightlife. (Unless that’s what you call a rousing game of cards on Community Night!) No, the reason has something to do with a nagging sense that won’t go away. A nagging sense of “something more.” We term it “call.” Although the sense of God’s call is something we Sisters have experienced – and continue to experience – it develops and becomes apparent in different ways for each of us. Which is why we share Sister vocation stories. This issue’s story features our new prioress, Sister Sandra Brunenn (shown here during her installation with outgoing prioress Sister Phyllis McMurray). If it resonates for you, please contact us. We look forward to helping in any way we can! . Q. As a young girl, your family moved around a lot. That might have made you restless, or discouraged any desire to settle down. And yet you have been a Benedictine Sister for 52 years. A. My father’s job took us to Joliet, Peoria, Mattoon, Springfield (all in Ill.), Indianapolis and Quincy (Ill.) before I graduated from high school. I suppose moving that much might have been detrimental. But I came from a very stable family environment. And we –

study hall for Compline. It was a great introduction to the Liturgy of the Hours. Q. What happened next? A. We moved to Quincy, where I attended Notre Dame High School. Daily Mass became part of the rhythm of my life, and I got involved in the Sodality of Mary. I felt my love of prayer and service continuing to grow. At the end of my senior year, I had to make a decision regarding college. I registered to attend Quincy College, but my heart kept tugging at me to check out religious life. I decided to explore the Benedictine community 50 miles down the road in Nauvoo. Q. What, besides prayer and stability, attracted you to the Benedictines?

I found – still find – that value very attractive. Q. Did you ever have Benedictine Sisters as teachers? A. Not in grade school. In fact, I have a vivid memory from 5th grade in Mattoon, when my teacher – a Dominican Sister – said, “Now Sandra, if you ever become a Sister, please don’t forget the order that taught you first.” Q. You had Benedictine Sisters in high school? A. Yes, I did. In my junior year, my family moved to Indianapolis. My father started work in July, but the family couldn’t join him till fall. Mother and Dad wanted us to start school right away, so they sent us to Our Lady of Grace Academy in Beech Grove, just outside Indianapolis. We boarded there for one year. The seed of my Benedictine vocation took root there. I joined the Sisters every evening after

A. The Benedictine love of silence and nature fit with my own attraction to it. My parents loved fishing, and I spent lots of time on my grandparents’ farm. I remember many walks in the woods, sitting under trees, sitting in a boat, fishing. Silence and nature gave me a deep sense of peace. It was somehow connected to my experience of God. The beauty of life, the bigness of life, and the mystery of God. I love praying in community. I love the support of this group of women. I love the rich, full inner life that I’ve been able to nurture here. I love my life of ministry as well. I’ve always felt I was in the right place for me. Q. Do you have any advice for inquirers? A. Pay attention to your heart, and that nagging sense that there must be something more. Seek someone you trust to share your thoughts and feelings with. Finally, be ready for an adventure. This is a very vibrant, meaningful life! 3

Center Time, Jesus Time, Play Time: In the Classroom with Sister Stefanie Annie and Rachel are trying to suppress giggles as they race walk down the hallway, toward their guest. They compose themselves at the last minute. This is a serious matter, after all. As representatives of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy’s preschool class, they wish to convey a little dignity. The girls plant themselves in front of their visitor and look up at her intently. The visitor breaks the silence. “Are you here to take me to Sister Stefanie’s class?” They giggle and nod, turn and lead the way, picking up speed again. They’re in a hurry: Annie is leader today and must begin leading. She nabs her pointer as she enters the classroom and rushes up to the Smart Board. Welcome to Sister Stefanie MacDonald’s four-year-old preschool class. A bit of happy chaos mixes with a liberal dose of joyful noise here to create a party-like atmosphere, even when the children are paying attention and, ahem, learning. Right now it’s Calendar Time at the Smart Board, a window-sized computer-powered whiteboard hung on the wall in front of colored carpet squares. The children sit criss-cross applesauce on their assigned squares while Sr. Stefanie projects the days of the week on the board. Annie swings her pointer with gusto, smack!, on each day of the week as it is sung to the tune of The Addams Family. The rest of the morning is filled with other kinds of Center Time (math and more literacy), reading books, free play and what Sr. Stefanie calls “Jesus Time.” Back on the colored squares, Sr. Stefanie tells her kids to shout as loud as they can while her arms are up, and stop the second she drops them. Mayhem. And then silence. Her voice is soft. “Let’s think about Jesus. No talking. Shhh. Say something to Jesus in your heart.” Jesus Time begins with a preschool version of Centering Prayer, and lasts about a minute. But Sr. Stefanie believes the children need silence as much as grownups. “Okay, let’s talk about what happened on Easter Sunday,” she says. Several children raise their hands. “Right,” she says. “Jesus came back to life. Can you think of anything else that goes into a dark place and seems dead before being reborn?” Nobody gets this one. “A butterfly!” Sr. Stefanie announces. “Should we make butterflies today?” Again the joyful noise as children rush to their tables, where coffee filters and markers await their creative impulses. Antennae will be twisted into place with pipe cleaners and the final beautiful creations affixed to the bulletin board. “I never liked the idea that learning isn’t supposed to be fun,” Sr. Stefanie says, over lunch. She usually has 30 minutes to eat, but an accident on the playground – one of the kids walked under another child hanging from the monkey bars just as her feet were 4

swinging down – took up time today. She’s got 20 minutes to eat, be interviewed, and check parent emails. “I tell parents that learning is supposed to be fun. That children learn through play. That my job is to direct their play, so they learn what we want them to learn.” What that includes – besides getting them ready for kindergarten academically – is helping them develop love for God, and love and respect for each other. “I have a certain joy and pride when I see students helping and comforting each other, like they did today after the accident,” Sr. Stefanie says. “I want them to learn to serve others like Jesus did.” Sr. Stefanie says one of the ways she promotes service is by grouping children of different abilities for each task. “That way, they have to help one another to accomplish the task,” she says. “It’s a huge lesson from the Gospels. We are to be Jesus Christ to one another.” Lunch is ending; Sr. Stefanie needs to get back. Despite her hectic schedule, she seems calm, and laughs easily. “Before I entered the Benedictine community, I used to cram my prayer in wherever I could,” she says. “I’d pray the rosary on the steering wheel of my car. I’d do personal prayer at 2:00 in the morning. “Now I start my day quietly, in the early morning with God at Lauds. I end it in the evening with God at Vespers. My prayer life is more intentional now, more centering and grounding for me. When I enter my classroom in the morning, I bring more silence and spirituality with me. I credit that sense of balance to Benedictine life.” And with that, Sr. Stefanie excuses herself to return to the children for the rest of her simultaneously noisy and quiet afternoon. 5

Speaking Eloquently ... in Silence There’s always music in the garden amongst the trees But your heart must be quiet to hear it. – Robert Wicks: Living a Gentle, Passionate Life

The fresh, dazzling beauty of a brilliant autumn morning can pierce us with joy. Birds, crickets, even tall grasses seem to sing in praise, while the sun crowns the scene below. We bow our heads in gratitude, and promise God to never miss such splendor again. Of course, we will. Again and again. It’s in our nature to allow distraction, worry and irritation to hijack our minds and hearts. It’s in our nature to forget our good intentions. It’s in our nature to miss the now as we focus on yesterday and tomorrow. If we’re not careful, we can miss the joy of life in the process. So, how do we cultivate our presence to the moment even as we acknowledge our problems and navigate solutions? How do we remember God, deeply, in everything we do? The contemplative tradition suggests that silence holds the key, and that Centering Prayer provides a helpful path. Moreover, as Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB notes, “Centering Prayer prepares us for mindfulness, for attentiveness to God’s presence all day.”

Sr. Catherine Cleary

“Centering Prayer is a receptive form of meditation,” Cherry Haiston says in The Practice of Welcoming Prayer. “Our intention in Centering Prayer is to consent to God’s presence and action within.”

Through the silence needed for and fostered by this prayer, sacred silence grows in our hearts. 6

Welcoming Unwanted Thoughts as We Enter Silence This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all. – Rumi Any who have tried to meditate or practice contemplative prayer such as Centering Prayer have had to wrestle with wandering thoughts. Old grievances, sorrows, regrets and petty issues often appear as we close our eyes. Welcome them. “The Welcome Prayer is a technique for one’s prayer at any time of the day,” Sr. Catherine says. “It’s an aid to help one stay in the presence of God, to stay centered during the day, to be alert to God’s presence. Rather than dismiss afflictive emotions, we should say to them, ‘Well, come in,’ or ‘Welcome in. I thought I’d taken care of you but here you are again. I can’t pay attention to you right now, though, so I’m letting go of you.’ When we do that, we are free to continue into a contemplative stance, to go on into the presence of God.” Using the Welcome Prayer helps rid us of unnecessary baggage, Sr. Catherine says, making room for sacred silence all day. “If we pay attention to afflictive emotions, we can let them go. If we don’t pay attention, if we tuck them away and ignore them, they will gnaw at our hearts and stomachs. They will continue to drag us down, and invade our thoughts always.” So the first step to creating sacred silence within is to sit down, focus on our intent to consent to God’s presence, close our eyes, and if unwelcome thoughts come, welcome them, but don’t dwell on them.

Beginning Centering Prayer To experience Centering Prayer, choose a quiet place and time of day. Sit comfortably, back straight, feet flat on the floor. Begin by saying a short prayer first, to prepare yourself for this sacred time. The prayer by Father Thomas Keating, below, will help prepare you to receive – and let go of – the afflictive thoughts that will come. Welcome, welcome, welcome. I welcome everything that comes to me today because I know it’s for my healing. I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, situations, and conditions. I let go of my desire for power and control. I let go of my desire for affection, esteem, approval and pleasure. I let go of my desire for survival and security. I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person or myself. I open to the love and presence of God and God’s action within. Amen. – Father Thomas Keating Now, close your eyes and take up a simple sacred word to signal your intention to withdraw from the everyday world and go into the deepest part of yourself. When thoughts surface, let them go. Gently take up your word again and return to interior silence. Begin with 20 minutes at a time. Allow God to take charge of this time. You are letting go, no longer in charge. “Centering Prayer is an act of will; it is not effort but consent,” Sr. Catherine says. “The will consents to God’s presence, to grace. It consents to let God do the work.” Growing “Little Places of Silence” … little places of silence allow us to take a step back, to begin a ‘minisabbatical,’ so that we can sit, rest, think, reassess and … listen. - Robert Wicks: Living a Gentle, Passionate Life The silence that grows within us as we practice Centering Prayer - or any mindfulness meditation that consents to God’s presence - invites us into what Wicks calls “minisabbaticals.” These minisabbaticals are always available to us, nourishing what might

be called the condition of now. That is, a knowing and awareness of God, here, now. “I can be in a room full of people and in silence,” Sister Jackie Walsh, OSB says. “That happens sometimes in Chapel before prayers. People will be coming in and out, but I have gone into that deeper place, into total union with God. I am reminded of Psalm 62, Only in God is my soul at rest. No matter what’s going on around me, I am deep within.” Sr. Jackie says seeking quiet time has long been her habit.

Sr. Jackie Walsh

“Before I entered the community, I would have constant meetings and always be on the run,” she says. “Sometimes I would just sit in my car at lunch in silence for a while. You have to be able to have that connection. It doesn’t have to be in a chapel or church, but you need somewhere to be quiet and connect.” The Role of Solitude Although solitude encourages silence, it is neither required for nor a guarantee of silence. Indeed, being in solitude can be no more helpful than being in a crowd to cultivate inner knowing and awareness. Continued back cover 7

Monastery Notes A Busy Season of Ministry We sometimes hear people say, What do Sisters do all day? Just pray? We chuckle at that one, but in fact it’s partly right. We do pray always, and prayer is our main ministry! But we also serve in many active ways. Here’s a brief round-up of some other autumn ministries that keep us busy. Retreats at Benet House We are halfway through a wonderful season of retreats and programs. Browse this list and consider joining us. You are also welcome to make a private retreat while staying in a single room or in our hermitage. Contact Sister Jackie Walsh at (309)283-2118 or for more information. Here are some upcoming programs. Day of Thanksgiving: Give Thanks and Remember This will be a time of sharing and reflecting on the Biblical mandate to give thanks. We will also reflect on those everyday “Look for the Silver Lining” times that sometimes pass us by. Presenter: Sr. Charlotte Sonneville, OSB. Thurs. Nov. 15, 9 am-12 pm; Fee: $20, plus an option for lunch $8 Facing the Holidays After a Loss How does one face the holidays after the loss of a loved one? We will listen, view, reflect, share and pray trusting in the wisdom of Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul: Every face of the soul is sacred. Presenter: Sr. Helen Carey, OSB, PhD. Sat. Dec. 1, 9 am-12 pm; Fee: $20, plus an option for lunch $8 Advent Day of Reflection: Mary, Woman of Promise and Courage This will be a time for reflection on Mary, who “housed” the promise of life in Jesus and whose courage in the face of many unanswered questions inspires hope. Presenter: Sr. Rachel Bergschneider, OSB. Sat. Dec. 8, 9 am-2 pm; Fee: $40 (incl. lunch) Online Outreach Several Sisters contribute to our online ministries. Sister Stefanie MacDonald writes a blog about her ministry in a Catholic preschool classroom and about her life back here at the monastery. Here’s a recent sample: Saturdays at Home in the Monastery Here I am at home doing some of the usual weekend routines that I have always done – cleaning, doing laundry and preparing a little school work. As a Benedictine Sister, I also am doing some work that was not part of my usual Saturday morning routine – at least not before I turned 36! That is, I went to Lauds at 9:00 a.m. (blessedly later than the 6:30 a.m. Lauds of the school week!), and after lunch I came to the liturgy office to work on a Liturgy of the Hours Book for the Office of the Dead. It is a big project and I have been working on it for almost a year. I got up to take a break and walked downstairs to our dining room to fetch a drink and a snack. As I was doing this I began to flash back on my life before entering the monastery. It funny how it just pops into my head sometimes … and interesting to ponder the journey God has led me on! Read the rest by clicking on Sister Stefanie’s ABC’s at Facebook Psalm Reflections Sisters Ruth Ksycki, Susan Hutchens and Helen Carey are our current Facebook contributors. Here’s a recent sample: May wheat abound in the land; flourish even on the mountain heights. (Psalm 72) Wheat is the substance from which bread is made. Bread is the ‘staff of life.’ Without the nourishment of food we die. But we also need the nourishment of love and comfort and acceptance ... food for our spirit! As we anticipate the Fall harvest of many grains, let us be mindful of the nourishment that WE are for one another. May this nourishment too abound and flourish wherever we are. Read our daily reflections at 8

Sister Germaine Cupp, 1929-2012

Sister Germaine Cupp OSB., died Monday, September 3, 2012 at the Monastery. Born on May 8, 1929 in Burlington, Iowa, Sr. Germaine attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and St. Mary’s High School, Moline; graduated from St. Ambrose College, Davenport, with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, and graduated from Clarke College, Dubuque with a Master’s degree in Administration. Sr. Germaine entered the Benedictine community on August 15, 1948. Her life in ministry evolved through several stages, serving as a teacher, principal, pastoral associate and parish minister. Most recently she was active with the St. Joseph the Worker House as well as the St. Joe’s evening meal program.

Like Jesus, Sr. Germaine had ‘table ministry’ as a major focus. She was a wonderful cook! Her meals were always tasty and hearty. She took delight in gathering with people around a meal, whether at an RCIA gathering, with friends from St. Joe’s, at a working committee or sharing with family and friends after Sunday Mass. For the past several years here at the monastery Sr. Germaine, with the assistance of her family, provided lovely simple centerpieces for the tables in our dining room.  Of course, there was also the game table.  Sr. Germaine loved a good game of dominoes or Pinochle!  And above all, the table of the altar was central in her life. We experienced Sr. Germaine as a gracious, generous, big-hearted gentle person who loved us and loved life. We will miss her deeply.

A Visit to Lipa, Philippines St. Mary Monastery “twinned” with St. Benedict’s Monastery, Philippines, in 1994 through AIM*. Established in the 1970’s, it rests within a lush and beautiful nine acres of land, yet bustles with daily chores ranging from organic farming to keeping bees. Sister Catherine Viray has visited us, and several of our Sisters have visited them. Recently Oblate Susan Griffin visited them, too. Here’s an account of her experience. When Benedictine Oblate Susan Griffin agreed to visit the Philippines with her son – he wanted to visit a friend who lived there and had enough airline miles to pay for his mom’s flight – she had an idea. The Benedictine Sisters have a “twin” monastery there, she thought. Why not visit it? A few months and thousands of miles later, Susan met a group of charming and gracious Filipino Benedictine women. While they weren’t always easy to understand verbally, they were easy to emotionally connect with. “They Sister Catherine Viray, OSB, visited from the Philippines in June, were so hospitable,” she says, reflecting on the trip she made last winter. 2010. Here, she enjoys spending time with Sister Cabrini Rael, OSB. “They were so joyful. Just like our Sisters.” St. Benedict’s Monastery is located south of Manila, an hour and a half first by bus and next by “jeepney” (a passenger-type jeep common in the Philippines). Travel time is only estimated, however. Vehicles don’t leave until they’re full. Sisters Catherine and Karolina greeted Susan and her son at the door. “They came out to us right away,” Susan says. “They gave us a tour of their stone chapel. Sr. Catherine told us how they made the ceiling from wood crates they found on the beach. The marble floor – it used to be brick and mud – came from a donation.” Their tour continued throughout the grounds, where brilliant flowers were humming with bees. Sister Humbeline (“it sounded like Humidity!”) met them on the path to extend an invitation to lunch. “The food was delicious,” Susan says. “We had chicken, a very nice bread and a drink from a fruit kind of like a lime.” Sister Ruth Ksycki visited the Lipa Sisters 12 years ago, and found the same gracious and joyful atmosphere, despite the obvious poverty. She wrote of her visit in the AIM newsletter: (The Sisters) are committed to being wise stewards and preserving the environment. Organic gardening and natural medicines are part of this commitment. They have also begun to raise bees for honey and are constructing pens to raise chickens and pigs organically. These projects will help the sisters provide food for themselves and revenue for their monastery. In the process they hope to show others that organic methods are cost-effective along with being friendly to the environment. “It’s so wonderful that God called these women to this place,” Susan says. “You can really feel the movement of the Spirit. I feel St. Benedict’s was put there to be a sign of hope.” *The Alliance of International Monasticism or AIM USA provides spiritual, educational, formation and building assistance to monasteries in developing countries to enable them to be centers of life for others. Monasteries in Africa, Asia and Latin America enrich their brothers and sisters in the United States with global vision, fresh insights into monastic life, cultural diversity and gospel witness of service to the poor. – 9

SMA News 1952 Rose Benedict Hayes reports that her class reunion (pictured next page) was enjoyed by all. “My

favorite part was all of us having a quiet time in honor of our classmates who had died - and then singing The Bells of St. Mary with Rosaria providing the harmony. It was beautiful!  And very moving.”


Paula Doyle Lenz says plans are underway for a reunion in Omaha over a long weekend in late May or June, 2013. Contact Paula at or Mary Margaret O’Connor at

1972 Jeanne Yackley Maule Loving helloes to all my SMA Sisters!! My son Kayhon living in the valley in LA-doin fine!! Have been working in residential homes-taking care of patients coming out of hospital-getting them back on the street healthy! So beautiful reading all the SMA gals stories!! However very sad and hurt hearing about my roommate Shelley Schneider passing away-We had the greatest times!!-She was so much fun!!! Jobet contact me!-and anyone else! jeanniegenious@ Can’t say enough about what a joy everyone at SMA has always been for me---in my heart Jeanne

The Class of 1962 enjoyed a wonderful reunion Sept. 14-16, 2012. Row 1: Rosemary Carol Ellinger, Patti Layton Sederwall, Nancy Kelly Platt, Rose Ann Tanner Shansky, Veronica Hecks Minnaert, Patricia Pearson Forsythe. Row 2:  Sr. Rachel (Loretta) Bergschneider, Sandy Vandersnick Sturtewagen, Peg Hemp Callahan, Maggie Cunningham Davitt, Joan Langdon Adam, Carolyn Griffin Vick, Mary Jane Miller Murphy, Maribeth McFadden Krisher. Row 3:  Mary Meegan Brinkerhoff, Mary Anne Schreck Liggett, Helen Ksycki Johnson, Judy Wyffles Ahearn, Sr. Judith Ann Croegaert, Vicki Van Opdorp Hultman, Elizabeth Goeke, Kathy Craig. Not present for the photo: Janet Albert Cheek, Carol Morris Fisher 10

Reunion Announcements Class of 1968 Reunion August 23-25, 2013

Class of 1975 Reunion April 5-7, 2013

Class of 1953 Reunion September 14-15, 2013

Held June 30-July 1, 2012, the alums attending this 1952 class reunion had a wonderful time. Seated l-r Ruth DeDecker Cambron,  Donna Robinson Johnson, Jeannie Boxwell; Standing  l-r  Rosaria Salerno, Rose Benedict Hayes, JoAnn Barnes Palmer, Yvonne Gill Bogner, Rosemary Brown Buchanan, Jeanine Smith Nolan

Class of 1973 Reunion October 11-13, 2013

In Memoriam ... Doris Baches Jordan‘51 Frank Paterno, husband of Theresa Salerno ‘47, died March 2, 2012 Husband of Nona Harp Bauer ‘53 died June 30, 2012 Mary Potthoff ‘71 died June 29, 2012 Donna Hefner Finch ‘45 died Sept. 7, 2012 Ebba Jean Freeburg Palladini ‘61 died Oct. 2011 Mother of Carm Magsamen Walsh ‘64 and Bernadette Magsamen Zehr ‘62 died July 2012 Martha Baxter Walker ‘62 died July 26, 2012 Mary Ann Tilka, mother of Kathy Tilka ‘61, died Arthur De Patie, father of Michelle De Patie Kirwan ‘68, died June 22, 2012 Kathy Skeffington Smith ‘59 died May 26, 2012 Sandra Wegeng, mother of Juliana Wegeng Kozik ‘82, died May 24, 2012 Ron, husband of Patricia Winters De Reu ‘55, died Sept. 12, 2012

Connecting Point Autumn 2012 Published three times a year by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL 61201 Phone: 309-283-2100 Fax: 309-283-2200 Editor Susan Flansburg


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Speaking Eloquently

cont’d. from page 7

“You can be alone outside but noisy inside,” Sister Sheila McGrath, OSB says. “If your mind is noisy and in turmoil, you won’t be at peace even if you’re outwardly alone and quiet.” Join us on our Facebook page: “Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery”!

Noting that not everyone is called to Centering Prayer, Sr. Sheila suggests other ways to access that inner silence. “Yoga, walking in nature, looking out a window without thinking are all good ways to help turn off inner turmoil of mind and heart,” Sister Sheila she says. “Whatever we do, it’s important to get off the merry go McGrath round and have some reflection time. It helps us to grow. It’s so easy to say we don’t have time, but it’s really important to make time to feed our souls and inner life.” In other words … “Soaking in silence fills you with peace and wisdom,” Sister Cabrini Rael, OSB says, thoughtfully. After a moment of quiet reflection, she looks up and grins. Sister Cabrini Rael

“In other words, hush up and listen.”

Connecting Point  

A collection of inspiring articles on Benedictine spirituality from Autumn, 2012

Connecting Point  

A collection of inspiring articles on Benedictine spirituality from Autumn, 2012