Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Illinois
July 2008
Benedictine Sisters monastery grounds at St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Ill Steps
Discerning your path in life
Benedictine Prayer
Benedictine Sisters at prayer Benedictines Pray Together

For those in monastic religious life, prayer practices take on both communal and private significance. Daily, Benedictine Sisters pray together during Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist. Lectio Divina (Holy Reading) can be prayed with others and privately. Other private prayers include everything from Centering Prayer to the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary.

The prayer practices of a community give you a clue about which type of community - monastic or apostolic - you are called to. In this story, Catholic Sisters from seven Upper Mississippi River Valley communities provide refelections on prayer practices that are important to their congregations.

Benedictine Sisters, Rock Island, Ill. (monastic community)

"The Liturgy of the Hours holds the central and dominant place in our lives as Benedictines," Sr. Catherine Cleary, OSB, says. "Our reason for being here is to seek God together. We sing and chant the Psalms, we sit in silent reflection on the Word. We do this together every morning, before Eucharist, and before heading out to our ministries. We come back together at noon, when possible, and in the evening, before dinner."

The Liturgy of the Hours have been modified over the millennia since St. Benedict's time - some monastic communities may pray as many as eight times a day, rising well before dawn to begin - but most follow a less rigorous schedule today. The Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Ill., pray Lauds, Noonday Prayer and Vespers. "Jesus himself prayed the Psalms, which form the heart of the Liturgy of the Hours," Sr. Susan Hutchens, OSB, says. "Jesus prays them within us as we pray them to Him." 

Learn about the prayer practices of area apostolic communities.
Benedictine Sisters monastery in Rock Island, Ill.
Sister stories...

Social worker opens God's doors

John* was 17 years old when his world was turned upside down. A soccer star who had been looking forward to playing professionally, John sustained a career-ending injury in a moment of searing bad fortune. Then, as he struggled to regain his balance, he was seized with mind-bending delusions and a rage that threatened not only himself but everyone around him. The diagnosis: schizophrenia.

     "The mental health field has changed a lot since I first became a social worker," says Sr. Norma Reiplinger, OSB. "The medical model used to focus on the limitations of one's disorder. The thinking was, 'You have schizophrenia? Too bad. Your life, as you knew it, is over.'

     "Between new medicines and a new recovery model, the prognosis  for many disorders has been greatly improved," Sr. Norma continues. "We believe that the power of the individual is key: you can guide your own life. But it won't happen overnight."

     John's family lived with his disorder for ten years before seeking help. By the time Sr. Norma got to know him, he was living in the basement and uncommunicative. "John was symptomatically active and psychotic," she says. "We moved him to the residential wing of our facility where he totally shut down. He wore a hooded sweatshirt even though it was summer. He sat two feet from the TV and slept a lot... Read the rest of John's story!
Benedictine Sisters welcome new member 
Benedictines are different.
Benedictine Sisters crave quiet ... and laughter.
Benedictine Sisters crave solitude ... and companionship.
Benedictine Sisters drop everything three times a day to pray together.
Our ministries - from retreat work to social work, and education to art - never take us far from home.
For more information, contact Sister Bobbi Bussan (below) to learn more!

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Benedictine vocation director Sr. Bobbi Bussan, OSBTo give you a chance to learn about Benedictine Sisters and our way of life, we welcome you for a visit. Call (309) 283-2300 or e-mail Sr. Bobbi to set up a good  time. Or join us for a Benedictine Experience Weekend on one of the following weekends: Oct. 17-19, Dec. 5-7, Feb. 27-Mar 1, April 3-5. No matter when you come, there is no cost to you. We look forward to a morning, evening, weekend or week with you! And visit our Web site at