Quick Answers to Common Questions
from the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery
Listen with the ear of the heart. Rule of Benedict
What would you ask if you could ask anything at all of
a Benedictine Sister? We hope you'll call
and ask it! But in
the meantime, here are some answers to questions that many
|What are the Benedictine values? Briefly, they center on the love of God reflected in all that we do: our prayer, our welcome of others as Christ, our stewardship of God's gifts, and our commitment to our monastic community. These values impel us to serve others, in such ministries as education, social work and pastoral care.|
|Do you wear habits?
We do not wear habits in this community — although some of our older Sisters still wear a veil — because habits no longer represent the dress of the common people. When Sisters initially wore habits centuries ago, they did so to symbolize their support for the similarly dressed common people. We continue to dress in the common clothing of our time, preferring not to set ourselves apart by what we wear. Rather, we strive to be known by our work and Benedictine values.
|What do you do all day?
Prayer is primary in our lives; indeed, our lives are hinged on it. We come together daily in the chapel to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and to join in celebrating the Eucharist. We also pray privately and in small groups. During the week, we serve in our ministries, which include teaching, pastoral care, parish work, service to the poor and social work, to name a few. As in a family, we enjoy meals and social time together. We take walks and read. We play board games and watch movies.
|Can family and friends visit?
Of course! We don't give up our family and friends. We continue to visit them, and welcome them into our home. As in marriage, though, our focus and responsibilities shift to our new family.
Could you practice law as a Benedictine Sister?
As Benedictine Sisters, we try to pursue ministries that allow us to live together, and to come together for prayers and meals. In addition, we try to choose ministries that utilize our gifts and talents. As in any family, we would want to discuss your choice of occupation, to be sure it is best both for you and for your new community.
|Are there any obstacles to becoming a Benedictine Sister?
There are issues that would need to be resolved before your application could be considered. If you were married and divorced, for instance, you would need to obtain an annulment. You would need to have been a practicing Catholic for at least two years. You would need to have been widowed for at least three years, and your children — if any — would have to be grown. Any status other than single will require deeper discernment, both on your part and on the part of the community. Additionally, your health, debt level and other issues would be considered. For a more thorough discussion, see How to become a Sister.
|You don’t need to be a virgin to become a Benedictine Sister?
No! We care much more about your present and future life than we do about how you lived prior to your vocation journey. However, if you recently have been in an intimate relationship, we will require additional time for discernment before proceeding with your application, to help you discern where God is truly calling you.
|What’s celibacy like?
None of us made the decision to remain celibate lightly. Being celibate means that we don’t focus on one other person, the way a spouse does in a marriage. Benedictine Sisters are free to be in relationship with many people, free to develop intimate friendships in the way of Jesus. Celibacy allows us more time and energy to pursue Jesus’ ministries.
|What if you have health problems? You must have sufficient physical and psychological 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.|