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Continuing the Health and Wellness Legacy of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Paul's Monastery

The monastic tradition has been instrumental in the development of healthcare systems throughout the world. From globally known Mayo Clinic to locally essential Avera Healthcare Systems that services the rural communities of South Dakota and Minnesota, these clinics, practitioners, and administrators rely on the monastic values of their traditions to guide their patient care.

Even closer to home, our Sisters of St. Paul’s Monastery also have a deep legacy in healthcare. Sister Virginia Matter, OSB and Sister Karen Sames, OSB, both practiced as registered nurses throughout their vocational years. Sister Virginia also pioneered the integration of contemplative practices, such as Centering Prayer and Biospiritual Focusing, into the wellness community offerings provided by the Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery.

As the vowed religious sisters continue their transitions out of the work force, the Benedictine Oblates, the lay individuals formally associated with a monastic community, are exploring ways to carry the sisters’ legacies forward. Benedictine Wellness Services is one such endeavor.

A new approach to preventative health and wellness rooted in a 1500-year-old tradition

Final Contract Signing_Benedictine CARE

The Collaboration

Pictured: (left) Teri Rose, OblSB and (right) Sister Catherine Nehotte, OSB at the Benedictine CARE contract signing

A note from Sister Catherine Nehotte, OSB, Prioress St. Paul’s Monastery

In January of 2022, the Sisters of St Paul’s Monastery were approached with a unique proposal to expand the programming offered by the Benedictine Center. The proposal involves a collaboration between the Monastery and an existing health and lifestyle program developed and directed by one of our Oblates, Teri Rose. We, as a Community, believed that the collaboration and creation of the Benedictine CARE Wellness program aligned with our mission.

Benedictine CARE will:

  • Introduce the Benedictine Tradition to more individuals
  • Teach individuals how to ground their self-care and wellness goals in the transformative strength of Benedictine Values
  • Provide a starting place for empowering and guiding participants in the process of transforming their vocations to Benedictine Spirituality into formalized community ministries…

Continuing Reading Full Announcement from Sister Catherine

The Benedictine Values

Pictured: St. Benedict Statue at St. Paul’s Monastery, photo by Carol Jorgensen

The Integration of Stability, Stewardship, and Community

Benedictine Wellness Services poses the question: what if we taught the patients, the actual individuals accountable for making lifestyle changes once they leave the clinics, the Benedictine values directly to guide their own self-care? In Benedictine CARE, members study how the Benedictine monastic values of Stability, Stewardship, and Community all enhance our ability to sustain desired long-term changes.

Members will be within a group of individuals making similar changes and will share conversations around:

  • How does Stability increase our ability to stand in the seemingly uncomfortable void change creates?
  • How does the responsibility of Stewardship also apply to our physical bodies and minds?
  • And how does coming together in Community to practice this help facilitate long-term change?

Watch Teri explain this more in this video

Sister Virginia Matter OSB_Teri Rose OblSB_Sister Mary Lou Dummer OSB_St Paul's Monastery

The Legacy

Pictured: (left) Sister Virginia Matter, OSB (Teri’s Sister Sponsor during formation), (center) Teri Rose, OblSB, (right) Sister Mary Lou Dummer, OSB (Oblate Director during Teri’s formation)

Being a Benedictine Oblate 

There is no question that all religious institutions are going through a transition. Vowed religious, those individuals that profess a vow to stability, obedience, and poverty, are no exception. Their communities continue to age at a pace faster than new initiates.

Within the Benedictine Tradition, the question “what does being Benedictine now mean?” is earnestly being considered. Oblates, lay men and women who complete guided Benedictine spiritual formation, are an important voice in this conversation. Oblates are beginning to be entrusted to directly represent initiatives and ministries endorsed through collaboration with monastic communities.

Oblates, who have directly experienced the relevance of this 1500-year-old tradition in their own lives, are being guided and encouraged by the sisters to carry their legacies- their love and faith of their Benedictine Tradition- forward.  Benedictine Wellness Services is one suggestion from Oblate, Teri Rose, on how to potentially do this.

Read More of Teri’s History in Developing Benedictine Wellness Services

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