Inter-Federation Gathering of 55 and Under Gains 92 Participants
Back row: Stefanie Macdonald, St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, IL; Nicole Kunze, Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND. Front row: Kathleen Atkinson, Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND; Mary Ruth Santana, Monasterio Santa Escolastica, Humacao, Puerto Rico; Susan Hutchens, President, Federation of Saint Benedict; Melissa Cote, Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, ND
An inter-Federational gathering of professed Sisters, ages "55 and Under" took place from January 27-30, 2011 at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery, Atchison, KS. There were 92 participants from Benedictine monasteries throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The three Federation Presidents, from the Federations of St. Benedict, St. Scholastica and St. Gertude, as well as the Prioress General from the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration were also in attendance. The days were filled with presentations and responses, beautiful liturgies, wonderful hospitality and food, and much time for sharing among all present. For many it was a time to visit with past friends from NADI and BSWR gatherings, as well as time to make new acquaintances.
The speakers included Sister Ephrem Hollerman, Saint Benedict Monastery, St. Joseph Minnesota, whose presentation was entitled, "Women in Labor: Benedictine Foundresses in North America", and Sister Karen Joseph, Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, IN, whose topic was "Never Lose Hope in God's Mercy, RB 4:74". Both presentations were well-received and appreciated, and prompted much table-talk among the group. The Presidents and Prioress General responded to Sister Ephrem's talk as it bears upon today's current Benedictine reality in this country and in the world.
Four peer speakers, one from each Federation, were asked to present a reflection on Romans 8:25. Sister Nicole Kunze, Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck ND, from the Federation of Saint Benedict shared a beautiful reflection on a tree, taking for her focus the vision of Mother Benedicta Riepp. She compared all that a tree needs: water, soil, roots and sun, to all that we as Benedictines need to continue in fidelity to our vowed commitment: common prayer, community life, promise of stability, and seeking God's presence in everything.
Although only five sisters from the Federation of Saint Benedict were able to be present, they all expressed their gratitude for this opportunity to attend and were very positive in their overall evaluation of it. We hope it will remain an inter-Federational gathering in the future.