Federation Chapter 2009: Monastic Witness: Gift, Challenge, Hope"
The 2009 Federation Chapter will be held at Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph Minnesota, July 21-27, 2009. The theme of the 23rd Chapter of the Federation of St. Benedict is "Monastic Witness: Gift, Challenge, Hope". Sister Shawn Carruth, a member of Mount St. Benedict Monastery, Crookston, Minnesota, will be the keynote speaker. She holds a BA degree in French from the College of St. Catherine, an MA in Theology from St. John's University, and a PhD in New Testament from the Claremont Graduate University. She is currently Professor of Religion at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. In addition to teaching, Sister Shawn has served as President of the American Benedictine Academy and was a staff member in the Benedictine Prioresses' Renewal Program in Rome from 1998-2007. She has given a number of presentations on biblical and monastic topics and many retreats for monastic communities of men and women. She has published essays and articles on monastic, biblical, and feminist topics that have appeared in volumes of essays as well as The Bible Today, Tjurnga, and The American Benedictine Review.
Sister Shawn reflects as follows on her sharing with the Federation Chapter: "We are heirs of a very long Christian monastic tradition. Embodied in those who responded to its call, it has been treasured by those who lived by its inspiration; it has also given witness to the Church and to civilization in many places and times. In each of those times and places monastic men and women met many and sundry challenges and so do we in our place and time. We honor the gift we have received from the monastic men and women who have gone before by our truthful discernment of our own challenges and by our faithfulness to the gift we have been given. Thereby, as we have taken hope in the constancy of others, we desire to be signs of hope in our day.
To discern the character and shape of our own witness, we will take time in these sessions to reflect especially on some of our women forebears as we encounter them in Scripture and the earliest shaping of monastic life for women. We will ask how they were and how we can and will be witnesses to the eschatological vision of Christianity in a contemplative way of life that is our gift for the Church. We will ask about how the patterns and practices of monastic life to which they gave shape and meaning have meaning for us and our contemporaries as we face the challenges of civilization in our time. With consideration of the formative aspects of the civilization of our own time and place, we will ask how the sensate aspects of the monastery itself are formative for the distinctive character of our monastic witness. And, in an era in which our very humanity seems at risk, we will ask what wisdom we have received from the tradition for the discernment of humanity and the hope of human flourishing".
The 2009 Chapter will elect a new president and two council members for a six-year term, 2009-2015. Federation Council members, Sister Maureen O'Larey, St. Placid Priory, Lacey, Washington and Sister Agatha Muggli, Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, North Dakota as well as Chapter Delegate, Sister Linda Soler, St. Paul's Monastery, St. Paul, Minnesota are coordinating the election process. Sister Maria Tasto, Monastery Immaculate Conception, Ferdinand, Indiana will be the facilitator for the election process. Sister Michaela Hedican, the present president, is completing her six-year term and is ineligible for another term since she was elected prioress by her community. Sister Mary Benedict Pratt, Prioress, Saint Martin Monastery, Nassau, Bahamas is completing her second six-year term as a council member and is ineligible for another term. Sister Nancy Bauer, Prioress, Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota is completing her first six-year term as a council member and is eligible for re-election.
Sister Jeanne Marie Vanderlinde and Sister Jeanne Marie Lust serve as the on site coordinators for the Federation Chapter. Sister Barbara Kort will serve as the recording secretary for the Chapter. All of theses sisters are from Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota.