Monday, August 17, 2015

130th Jubilee of the Congregation and the Year of Consecrated Life: Norfolk Priory

In 2015, we look back upon 130 years of our history, with more than 1300 women living as Missionary Benedictine Sisters. Over the coming months of the Year of Consecrated Life we will bring to you the histories of our Priories and Sisters across the World.


On July 31, 1923 a sapling was planted by four Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing, Germany.  They had been invited to Nebraska by Archbishop Jeremiah Harty of Omaha to minister to German immigrants.  That fall the Sisters began teaching in St. John Berchman’s School, Raeville, Nebraska.
 The small community quickly began to sink its roots and grow.  Within one year, a second mission, Sacred Heart Hospital in Lynch, Nebraska was established.  In 1926, Raeville gained status as a priory, with Sr. Diemud Gerber, OSB, as the first Prioress.
 Five years later, the priory center was transferred to Norfolk and named Immaculata Convent.
Despite depression and drought, which plagued rural Nebraska in the 1930’s, the Sisters made great sacrifices to continue to  expand their ministries.  They offered religious education in many parishes and staffed Catholic schools in Raeville, Madison, Wayne, Winnebago, Columbus, and Assumption Academy in Norfolk.
  In Winnebago, the boarding school (now a day school) provided a second home for many Native American children.  Today the Sisters continue to work with the Native American peoples to provide pastoral care and to promote the identity and culture of Native Americans.

Bold building projects were begun to provide more Catholic health care in the rural Midwest.  Land was purchased and hospitals built in Lynch, Nebraska (1924), Norfolk, Nebraska (1935), Graceville, Minnesota, (1945) and Wayne, Nebraska (1974). 
Providence Medical Center- Wayne, NE
 Because of the needs of the Church and the changing talents of the community, the Spirit continues to call for adaptations in our ministries.  Between 2008 and 2010 the Sisters divested themselves from ownership of the hospitals. The sisters are now engaged in Hispanic ministry, domestic service, ecumenism, environmental concerns, justice and peace issues, parish ministry, and religious education.  Through the oblate community the sisters support the laity who desire to live out our Missionary Benedictine values in our secularized world.  The oblates support the sisters through their prayer and association with the community.
Immaculata Convent, now known as Immaculata Monastery & Spirituality Center, has become a center for Northeast Nebraska, the sisters provide retreats and spiritual direction, and host many groups such as:  Christians Encounter Christ, Engaged and Marriage Encounters, training for candidates to the permanent Diaconate, enrichment courses, and various other groups. 
In 2011 a new ministry was begun when the development office was created.  The three fold focus of this ministry is to develop relationships with people located throughout the world by use of social media, the Priory website and by direct contact.  Secondly, through social media and by personal presence of the Sisters at national events and youth gatherings we promote vocations to the Missionary Benedictine way of life.
Thirdly, we hope to raise funds for our Sisters in mission countries by active fund raising and by grant applications.  These are all direct ways of implementing the directive of new evangelization.  By daily devotionals, prayer requests and news of the missions we help people see the needs of the Church in the world and invite them to participate in the work of our Sisters in whatever way they choose.




Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet Our Sisters: Sr. Paula Leick, OSB

(Meet Our Sisters will be a Blog Series to get to know our Sisters from the Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Norfolk, NE. Each month we will feature a new Sister and her journey to become a Missionary Benedictine Sister.)

Place of Birth: Nebraska, USA
First Profession: August 16 1945
Final Profession: April 22 1949
Feast Day: January 25 (Conversion of St. Paul)
I became a nun because I wanted to give my life to God by serving – hopefully as a nurse. However, I was ready to accept other assignments instead, over the years, my assignments as a Sister have included serving the Hospital Business office, medical record technician, hospital laboratory, hospital administrator, sewing room and housekeeping supervisor in the monastery at Norfolk.
Being asked to be an administrator was a big challenge for me. I did not have any prior skills or training and I had to learn by doing the work. This was quite challenging but I managed it. I knew how to be a nurse, but I did not know anything about business office and working in the business office was a challenge at first. However practice made it perfect and I ended up enjoying the assignments.
I spent 40 of my religious life years in Graceville, MN working in the Holy Trinity hospital. As an administrator, I had the task of building the hospital. Even though this was a challenge, it was also my most rewarding experience as both a Sister and an administrator. The fact that I had to find funds for the building and the idea that the continuity of the ministry depended on the successful construction of the hospital were motivations enough for me to do whatever was in my power to get grants and other financial assistance. It was such a rewarding experience when the Holy Trinity hospital was finally completed and the Sisters could continue to serve people of Graceville, MN.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Abby in the Abbey: Forgiveness

Hello everyone!  Abby here with some news from my Monastery.  Summer time is soooo busy here because the Sisters come and go to meetings, leave for vacations and to visit their families.  It keeps me busy trying to keep track of everyone, but there is always someone around to take real good care of me.  My dog “brother” Gus was here for almost a whole month visiting but for some reason he doesn’t like me very well.  Sr. K says it is because he is an old man and I am a young teenager!

Anyway, I guess not everyone likes everyone the same, in the dog world nor in the human world.  I have been thinking about that.  Us dogs try to tolerate all kinds of strangeness in our fellow canines. Sometimes Sr. K brings dogs here who are looking for a new home so they can meet their new people and they have been hurt a lot so they need lots of love and help. There are people who have the same problem. They get hurt by other people and have a hard time with forgiveness.  I can understand that because I didn’t have the best beginning either but now my life is great! (I still have some bad behaviors that are caused by what happened in my first home).  I just hope that the people who are hurt by others or who have a hard time forgiving can move on and live in the moment like us dogs. 

Everyone out there, please be safe and have a wonderful time with your families, friends and pets.  Let’s try to let forgiveness be our by- word!

Until next time…