Jubilee celebrations – Feast of St. Benedict

Montecassino: Benedict Prays as He Dies, with Placid and Maurus
St. Benedict was supported in prayer as he was dying by Maurus and Placid (Montecassino)

Our monastic community celebrated the Golden Jubilee of five sisters who, on 11 July 1960, promised fidelity to the monastic way of life.  The fidelity of a sixth, Sister Frieda Horak who died two years ago, was also celebrated in prayer, and in the reading of the poem she wrote fifty years ago, about the meaning of each of her vows.

“Community” is always included in any list of Benedictine values.  The story of St. Benedict’s death provides an image: he wanted to die while giving praise to God, but he could only do so with the support of the two younger monks who were among the first to follow his way of life.  Both his prayer and his “happy death” required the cooperation of others. From the front, one sees the rapture on St. Benedict’s face – but from the side, the effort of Maurus and Placid to support him is evident.  Community is not just a lofty ideal but, as Benedict himself wrote, the willingness to bear the burden of other’s afflictions of mind, body and spirit.

Today’s Jubilarians have lived their monastic commitment in very different ways. Some have been on mission away from Duluth for years; others have rarely left Duluth. Their ministries are varied and have changed over the years.  The reality of a vocation, however, is that it is not finalized on the day one makes a monastic profession. It is made one day at a time, getting up each morning and saying “Yes!” to God’s surprising invitation to commit one’s life and heart to an ever-changing community.  The Golden Jubilee does not celebrate the mere passage of time.  We gathered in the Chapel to recognize the 91,310 mornings on which these sisters said “yes” to God and to our community.

Thank you, Sister Gloria, Sister Donna, Sister Mary, Sister Pauline, and Sister Josine.  May you each be richly blessed.

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