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Holy Angels Echoes Olivetan Benedictine Sisters Jonesboro, Arkansas 72403-0130 Volume 28 No. 2

Honor By Fort Worth Diocese

L to R: Sr. Mary John Seyler, Sr. Georgia Felderhoff, Sr. Jeanette Bayer, Sr. Lillian Marie Reiter, Sr. Pauline Morath & Sr. Romana Rohmer.

On January 22, 2011, the Fort Worth Diocese honored the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters for their 115 years of service to Sacred Heart School (1895 – 2011). It has been the diocesan custom to honor one teacher from each school for this honor, but this year, the faculty of Sacred Heart School voted, that this honor should go to, not one, but to all the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters, who taught at Sacred Heart School throughout these many years of dedicated service. Although Sacred Heart Parish was founded in 1890, it was not until 1895, that the school was established. When the first Benedictine priest in Texas history, from Subiaco, Arkansas, Rev. Bonaventure Binzegger, OSB, was assigned as pastor to the parish, he was instrumental in establishing the school. He was successful in obtaining Olivetan Benedictines Sisters from Jonesboro, Arkansas, as teachers for the school.

Throughout these 115 years, many Benedictine Sisters from the Jonesboro Community have served in Sacred Heart Parish. Six Sisters were able to attend the awards banquet and represent the Community. In addition to Sr. Jeanette Bayer and Sr. Lillian Marie Reiter, (presently assigned there), Sr. Pauline Morath, Sr. Georgia Felderhoff, Sr. Mary John Seyler and Sr. Romana Rohmer represented the community at the awards banquet and accepted the award plaque. The Jonesboro Benedictines express sincere appreciation to all the parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish. Over the years, 43 young women from your parish joined our Community. Although our membership is less, we strive to continue our service, as long as God permits. All the Sisters living at the motherhouse pray daily for you and for more vocations. We ask you to join us in praying, that more young ladies from your parish will answer God’s call to serve as a religious Sister.


New Novice

On February 9, during First Vespers of the Feast of St. Scholastica, Holy Angels celebrated a joyful occasion. Michelle Keller, of Owensboro, Kentucky, received the habit and was invested as a Novice. This ceremony officially begins Novice Michelle’s entry into the Novitiate – the 18 month period dedicated specifically her formation in religious life and the preparation for vows. During the simple ceremony, Sr. Mary Anne Nuce, Prioress, presented Novice Michelle with a copy of the Rule of St. Benedict. She then called forth Sr. Lisa O’Connell, Formation Directress, and Sr. Georgia Felderhoff, Assistant Formation Directress, who will be the primary guides for Novice Michelle as she begins the path of religious life. Sr. Mary Anne then exhorted the community, as is the custom, saying, “Although Sr. Lisa and Sr. Georgia are entrusted with the primary formation, every Sister is responsible to assist along the way by her prayers and good example.” Please remember to keep Novice Michelle and all those in religious formation in your prayers!

Novice Michelle Keller

Q UA S Q U I C E N T E N N I A L In conjunction with our upcoming Quasquicentennial in 2012, (125th anniversary of our Sisters coming from Switzerland to Arkansas), we will have a feature article in the ECHOES, entitled, “Remembering

the Past.” All the Sisters were invited to submit a little article about something they remember from the past. If they recall an incident that they feel would be of interest to our readers,

they will submit it for publication. One such article will appear in each of the following ECHOES, as long as interest prevails. Watch for it!

Message From The Prioress Sister Mary Anne Nuce, OSB, Prioress

For some time, I have been thinking about writing my final message for our newsletter, HOLY ANGELS ECHOES. When I was elected in 2005, I remember that I had written that my life had changed and that I was humbled to think that God and my community had chosen me to serve as prioress. God put me in this position to help me grow closer to him. Only with God’s help, could I persevere in carrying out the responsibility of this awesome position. St. Benedict writes, in a chapter in his Rule, on the qualities of the Abbot. “To be worthy of the task of governing a monastery, the abbot must always remember what his title signifies and act as a superior should.” I have enjoyed working with the Sisters and being involved with the Community’s

activities. Many young people think convent life is boring with very little going on. Those who enter are surprised, as Benedictines live together as a family; we pray together, share meals, we recreate together and share the chores. We are all here to grow in our relationship with Christ and to serve God’s people. In a short time, our Community will elect a new leader. During our last Spiritual weekend, Fr. David Bellinghousen, OSB, a monk from Subiaco, gave us a talk on Discernment of Spirits. I will end my last letter with a quote from Father’s talk. “All people who search for God want divine guidance in their lives. Christian believers have been taught to expect with St. Paul, ‘to be guided by the Spirit (Gal. 5:14). This expectation both of a believer and the Church, tends to put great emphasis upon religious experience and upon an abiding interaction with God.’“


The Family Caregiver Support program of East Arkansas Area on Aging held its first annual “Hearts of Hope Grief Walk” on the grounds of Holy Angels Convent. Rose Trosper, family care specialist of East Arkansas on Aging, said, “The grief journey is universal and deeply personal, yet individually unique.” Trosper contacted Rose Mary Latanich of Blessed Sacrament Parish, who coordinated the arrangements with Sr. Mary Anne Nuce, Prioress. Over sixty-five people from all over northeast Arkansas attended this event. Trosper said that she was hopeful the nature walk would inspire participants and fill their hearts with

peace. The program opened with a welcome and opening remarks. This was followed by a PowerPoint presentation by Tuan Nguyen, showing pictures of honored persons. This was followed by a prayer and a song before the Grief Walk. After the walk around the oval and front drive, the group assembled again by the Grotto. A song preceded recognition of the sponsoring Team and reading the Names of Remembered Persons. A closing song was sung before the release of balloons, which concluded the program.

MARDI GRAS TALENT SHOW Before the beginning of the Lenten Season, the Community held its third annual Talent Show on Monday, March 7. Sr. Romana was again the emcee and introduced the different entries that ran from a hunter leading a song about a bear (Sr. Hen-

rietta) to a skit about a donkey (Sr. Mary John, Sr. Therese and Sr. Elizabeth). These entries were interspersed with poems, readings and piano selections. The evening provided a lot of fun and laughs, as well as good community spirit.


St. Scholastica’s Weather Tactics

Every year on Feb. 12, Benedictines recall the story of St. Scholastica and the weather. Saint Scholastica’s twin brother, Benedict would go every year to spend a day with his sister, in prayer, singing and visiting. During their last visit, Scholastica begged Benedict to stay longer. However, rules were stricter then, so Benedict said, “Sister, you know we cannot be away from the monastery after dark.” So Scholastica put her head down and prayed. A fierce thunderstorm, with lighting and rain burst out. Benedict said, “Sister, what have you done?” Scholastica answered, “I asked you to stay, you would not, so I asked God. Go now, if you can!” They spent the night in prayer, singing and visiting. Our Feb. 10 story is: Over sixty years ago, a young, eighteen year old came to Holy Angels Convent to become a Benedictine. But the first months were bitterly painful for her, as Bertha Arami was so homesick. Finally, the Formation Directress counseled Bertha to return home. On Feb. 10, Bertha boarded a bus, headed for her Texas home, but a fierce rain, causing flooding began. When they reached Newport, the bus driver told the passengers it was too dangerous to continue. They could wait in the bus station, or go back with the bus to Jonesboro. Recalling the story of St. Scholastic, Bertha returned to Holy Angels that night. The next morning, the Sisters were happy to see her in her usual place in Chapel. Bertha became Sister Cabrini, who has served over sixty years, as a faithful Benedictine. Sr. Mary John Seyler

Development Workshop

Sr. Maria Christi Cavanaugh & Sr. Mary Beth Hackley leaving for Development Workshop (See Activities)

HOLY ANGELS CONVENT Echoes published quarterly by the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters Sister Henrietta Hockle – Editor Sister Glorea Knaggs – Associate Editor Sister Monica Swirczynski – Proof Reader Sister Marilyn Doss & Sister Miriam Burns – Photos Sister Thèrése Johnson & Sister Virginia Baltz – Circulation

Master Print Group • Jonesboro, AR – Printing


Sr. Lisa O’Connell & Sr. Mary Clare Bezner at Formators’ Conference.

Sr. Lisa O’Connell and Sr. Mary Clare Bezner attended the Formators’ Workshop held for Directresses of Formation and Vocations in St. Louis. Over 90 persons were in attendance, representing 39 different communities. The theme this year was the Human and Spiritual Foundations of Formation. Religious life is a call to leave everything and follow Christ. Guidelines were given to help those in formation.

Prayers and Sympathy We extend our sincere sympathy and prayers to:  Sr. Virginia Baltz on the death of Aunt Katherine Baltz, who died on April 8.


Day of Recollection

The Oblate Spiritual Day for Spring was held on March 19, with eighteen Oblates and Guests in attendance. The purpose of the Day, was to strengthen one’s faith in the Eucharist. Instead of having a speaker this year, Sr. Mary John Seyler, Oblates Directress, showed a video, entitled, “Faith Tests Science.” The video was the product of scientific investigation of the Eucharistic phenomena, of both current and past ages. The video was divided into three segments, with group discussion following each of the segments. The video was so powerful, that several of the Oblates asked to purchase a copy. The group had an opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, personal quiet time, and a visit to the gift shop. During the Mid-day Prayer, Caren Hilary of Jonesboro and Sandi Baker of Ash Flat were enrolled in the Oblate program. The group enjoyed lunch with the Sisters, after which they made the Stations of the Cross, using, “Mary’s Way of the Cross.” Different Oblates read the prayers and Sr. Glorea Knaggs assisted by leading the songs.



After almost 24 years, Syble Phillips retires as one of the cooks at the convent. Syble was always pleasant and had a cheery word when you saw her. Whenever I would come by the kitchen, I would ask her, “How is it going?” She always answered, “It’s a going!” On March 31, her last day of work, she prepared one of her favorite “Sunday” meals for the Sisters - chicken and dumplings, with green beans. For dessert, she had apple cobbler with ice cream topping. Thank you, Syble, for all the many meals you prepared for the Sisters. May God bless you during your retirement years.

L to R: Lorie Skinner, Denise Riley (Denise is taking Syble Philips’ place), Syble Philips & Bonita Jones..

Activities Meetings JAN. 25 – Jennifer Wharton and Emily Smith from St. Bernards Center for Weight Loss and Diabetes Management, gave a presentation to the Sisters at the Convent on “Balanced Nutrition.” This informative program gave helpful hints on choosing healthy foods when going through the serving line. FEB. 16 – A number of Sisters attended the play, “The Secret Garden,” at the Forum. Sisters received complimentary tickets to attend this enjoyable performance. FEB. 24 – The Scripture Study Class began with Sr. Romana Rohmer, leading the discussions. During this spring session, the group studied “Touching the Mysteries: Scripture and the Rosary.” According to comments, “This is one of the best classes we’ve had.” APRIL 10 – Six girls from the ASU Delta Zeta Sorority participated in a “Day of Service” on the Convent grounds. Rachelle Kelly, Sierra Burris, Megan Meredith, Devin Harper, Kellie Johnson, and Allison Hill raked leaves around the azaleas and grotto shrubbery.

Dr. Ellis Julien, Ph.D. & ASU Bell Ringers

The ASU Bell Ringers, presented a Lenten Concert at Holy Angels on March 27, 2011. The Ringers, under the direction of Dr. Ellis Julien, Emeritus of Music, conducted the concert. The group enjoyed the evening meal with the Sisters prior to the concert. The ASU ensemble is open to members of the entire student body and ASU faculty and staff in the Jonesboro community. Since 1993, the ASU Ringers have made annual tours

throughout the Southwest and Midsouth. In addition to the annual Christmas concerts, the Ringers have performed numerous programs in surrounding states. The program presented at Holy Angels, included familiar hymns, such as: “Nearer My God, to Thee,” “To God be the Glory,” “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name,” and “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.” The public was invited to attend so a large audience was present.

APRIL 13 – In addition to Sr. Christopher Flowers & Sr. Cecilia Nguyen, who are based in West Memphis, Sisters: Mary Anne Nuce, Henrietta Hockle, Pauline Morath, Eileen Schneider and Miriam Burns, Laura Cathcart & Lisa O’Connell attended the 75th Anniversary of St. Michael’s School in West Memphis. APRIL 26-29 – Sr. Mary Beth Hackley and Sr. Maria Christi Cavanaugh attended the National Catholic Development Conference at the Carmelite Spiritual Center in Darien, IL on April 26-29. The conference focused on providing information for religious communities.

L E AV E A L E G A C Y Six Ways to Leave a Legacy to Holy Angels Convent: • Remember Holy Angels Convent in your Will. • Name Holy Angels Convent as a beneficiary of your IRA or Pension Plan.


“Return Service Requested”




• Purchase a Life Insurance Policy and name Holy Angels Convent as beneficiary. • Remember deceased loved ones with memorial gifts to Holy Angels Convent. • Remember Holy Angels Convent with planned gifts. • Establish a Charitable Remainder Trust with Holy Angels Convent as the charity. Contact your attorney for correct procedure.

Vocation Activities

Junior High Visitors from Muenster, TX.

1st Row - L to R: Mikinzie Hess, Madison Hesse, Elizabeth Weinzapfel & Annette Bayer (chaperone). Back: Sr. Mary Clare Bezner, Tina Weinzapfel (chaperone) Sr. Mary Beth Hackley, Sr. Maria Christi Cavanaugh & Novice Michelle Keller.

January 31 – February 4 During Catholic Schools week, Sr. Mary Clare Bezner, Vocation Directress, was invited to speak at several schools about religious life, including: St. Mary’s (Paragould), Blessed Sacrament (Jonesboro), St. Edward’s and Our Lady of the Holy Souls (Little Rock).

for Formators and Vocation Directors, hosted by the CMSWR, in St. Louis Missouri.

February 18 – 20 Sr. Mary Clare Bezner and Sr. Maria Christi Cavanaugh participated in a Vocations Retreat for Catholic teens of Rogers, Arkansas.

During the months of February and March, several young women who are interested in religious life visited Holy Angels Convent. Please pray for these women, for those in religious formation, and for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life!

March 15 – 18 Sr. Lisa O’Connell and Sr. Mary Clare Bezner attended a Conference

April 1- 4 A group of eighth grade girls from Sacred Heart School in Muenster, Texas visited Holy Angels convent.

Illuminated Workshop Holy Angels Convent will present an “Illuminated Prayer Workshop” in the Slavic Tradition on Aug. 26 & 27. Instructor: Tatiana Nikolova, Ph.D. from Houston, TX. Limited to 12 persons. Cost for workshop is $150, which includes materials and lunch. This is an ecumenical project, so all denominations are welcome. For complete information and to register online for the workshop, contact Sr. Deborah Coffey at or or by phone at (870) 935-5810.

Upcoming Events June 9 - Health Screening June 11- Community Corporation Meeting June13 - Hospital Corporation Meeting Elect Tellers for Election June 14- Retreat begins - Evening (Rev. Peter Hammett, OSB) June 19 - Retreat ends – Evening

LITURGICAL CHANGES On March 5, Sr. Mary John Seyler, Sr. Celestine Pond and Sr. Virginia Baltz attended a Liturgical Workshop at St. Mary Church in St. Vincent, AR, on the changes in the Roman Missal that will become effective at the beginning of Advent 2011. George Hoelzeman, presenter, explained the new translations of the Roman Missal that will become effective this fall. The changes will make the translation more accurate and more closely in

accord with the Latin translation. As follow-up, at Saturday choir practice, Sr. Celestine Pond will lead the community in preparing for these changes. During ensuing months, the Community will be studying and practicing the changes that will go into effect at the beginning of Advent.

June 20 - Election of New Prioress June 26 - KC Barbeque July 15 - St. Benedict’s Feastday July 15-17 - Oblate Retreat Aug.15 - Final Vows Celebration Aug.26-27 - Illuminated Workshop

2011 Spring