Community News

 

 

July 2015

 

 

The Sisters celebrate a rainy but festive Independence Day

July 4, 2015

 

 

The rainy weather outside did not dampen spirits inside as the Sisters followed a special Independence Day Mass with a festive brunch prepared by Sister Kathleen, assisted by Sister Michelle and several other Sister helpers. 

 

Patriotic decor and special prayers for our country augmented the culinary feast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Kathleen poses with some of her delicious creations. 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

June 2015

 

 

Four Sisters celebrate 60th Jubilee

June 13, 2015

 

On Friday, June 12, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sister Treva Heinberg, Sister Regina Barrett, Sister Margaret Frederick, and Sister Jane Bishop celebrated the 60th anniversary of their monastic profession during a Jubilee Mass in Sacred Heart Chapel.  The Mass also marked the conclusion of the Monastic Community's annual retreat.  Below are pictures from the Jubilee celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sisters sing the Gloria at the beginning of Mass.   In the two front pews are the four Jubilarians with thier Jubilee candles, from left to right, Sisters Margaret Frederick, Regina Barrett, Treva Heinberg, and Jane Bishop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At right, Sister Treva reads the first reading.

 

 

 

Below, the Jubilarians read their renewal of vows as Sister Tonette Sperando, Prioress, presides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Jane, as did each Jubilarian, signs upon the altar the document renewing her monastic profession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters Margaret and Regina present the gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, the happy Jubilarians. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Sister Tonette Sperando, O.S.B., installed as tenth Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery

June 8, 2015

 

During a festive Eucharistic Celebration on Saturday, June 6, 2015, Sister Tonette Sperando was installed as the tenth Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama.  Sister Tonette succeeds Sister Janet Marie Flemming whose term of office concluded on June 6. 

 

Sisters, Oblates, clergy and religious, family and friends, were present for the joyous occasion. The liturgy and the luncheon that followed were marked by gladness and joy as the community looks eagerly toward living their sacred tradition in a future filled with hope and vitality.

 

Below are pictures from the day along with brief descriptions of the joyous event. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to the Installation Mass, Bishop Robert Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham paid a visit to show his support and offer a blessing.  Here he prays with outgoing Prioress Sister Janet Marie (left) and incoming Prioress Sister Tonette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bishop Baker presented Sister Tonette with several gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family and friends await the beginning of Mass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance procession, led by cross bearer Mr. Michael Sperando, brother of Sister Tonette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters process into chapel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The opening hymn is sung.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A full chapel  heightened the celebratory atmosphere. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The community was honored to have Bishop Emeritus David Foley present for the Eucharistic Celebration. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family members and concelebrating clergy filled the front pews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbot Cletus Meagher served as Principal Celebrant.  Rev. Kevin Bazzel (right), pastor of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham, Sister Tonette's home parish, served as concelebrant and homilist. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Bernadette Sachs read the first reading from Isaiah 42.  In the foreground is a small table holding Sister Tonette's baptismal candle.  Its presence was important to her as a sign that her monastic committment is an extension of and flows from her baptismal commitment. Sharing the table is a statue of St. Scholastica, Patroness of Benedictine women throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Procession with the Book of the Gospels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the Liturgy of the Word, Sister Janet Marie called forth Sister Tonette from amongst the Monastic Community and bid the Community rise for the Rite of Installation.  The Rite was marked by a call and dialogue, first between the outgoing and incoming Prioresses, and then between Sister Tonette and the Community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As signs of the transfer of authority, Sister Janet Marie presented to Sister Tonette a Bible, a copy of the Rule of St. Benedict, and a copy of Call to Life, the Constitution of the Federation of St. Scholastica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Tonette receives the Rule of St. Benedict from Sister Janet Marie as the Monastic Community looks on.  Along with Sacred Scripture and the Constitution of the Federation of St. Scholastica, the Holy Rule will be Sister Tonette's guide as she leads the Community in following the monastic way of life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sisters lift their hands in prayer and blessing over their new Prioress as they recite:

"Sister Tonette, as we are instructed by the Rule of St. Benedict, we promise to love you sincerely, support you in your responsibilities, and obey you as we discern together what the Spirit is saying to our community.  May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you and enable you to lay down your life in service with Christ Jesus in his Paschal Mystery."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following her Installation, Sister Tonette called forth her Monastic Leadership Team who will serve with her: Sister Treva Heinberg, Sub-Prioress; Sister Sherrie Brainard, Treasurer; and Sister Priscilla Cohen, Secretary.   Sister Tonette and the Monastic Community lifted their hands in blessing, reciting words of prayerful support for these Sisters as they assume their leadership roles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Tonette presented a Benedictine cross and medal to each member of the Monastic Leadership Team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rite of Installation concluded with each Sister approaching Sister Tonette to extend the Sign of Peace.  The Oblates, too, came forward to offer a gesture of support. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rite of Installation was followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The gifts were presented by C.D. and Gina Lackey, sister and brother-in-law of Sister Tonette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the liturgy, Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, President of the Federation of St. Scholastica, offered a reflection. (Link here to read her reflection.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Tonette also offered remarks at the conclusion of Mass. (Link here to read her remarks.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Mass: the traditional celebratory greeting by the Monastic Community in the 2nd Ottilia hallway as the Sisters welcome their new Prioress. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters and guests capped the joyous event with a festive buffet in the Retreat Center and Sisters' dining rooms. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Tonette Sperando, O.S.B., the tenth Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama.

 


 

 

may 2015

Sister Janet Marie thanked for her 10 years of service as  Prioress and given a special blessing for her new ministry

May 31, 2015

 

The monastic community gathered in the monastery dining room for a special cookout supper honoring Sister Janet Marie Flemming for her ten years of service as prioress. Gifts of gratitude were given to Sister Janet Marie along with a basket of cards written by each Sister of the community. The evening concluded with  blessing ceremony for Sister Janet as she enters her new ministry at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Birmingham, AL.Sister Janet Marie receives gifts of gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community offers blessing


 

APRIL 2015

 

Community elects new Prioress

April 25, 2015

 

The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama joyfully announce the election of Sister Tonette Sperando, O.S.B. as their new Prioress.  Her six-year term of office will begin on Saturday, June 6, 2015. 

 

Sister Tonette was elected following a period of discernment by the monastic community during which they sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to whom God was calling to lead the community at this particular time.  The discernment process was facilitated by Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup, O.S.B., Prioress of St. Walburg Monastery in Covington, KY.  Presiding over the election was Sister Susan Quaintence, O.S.B., First Councilor of the Federation of St. Scholastica, the Federation of Benedictine Sisters to which the Sacred Heart community belongs.


Please rejoice with us over the election of Sister Tonette as our new Prioress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the election...

 

From left to right: Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup, O.S.B., Election Facilitator; Sister Susan Quaintance, O.S.B., Election Presider; Sister Tonette Sperando, O.S.B., Prioress-Elect; and Sister Lynn Marie McKenzie, O.S.B., President of the Federation of St. Scholastica.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Tonette with current Prioress Sister Janet Marie Flemming, O.S.B., whose term of office will come to a close on June 6, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Election Committee coordinated the details of preparation for the discernment and election.

 

(left to right): Sister Priscilla Cohen, O.S.B.; Sister Bernadette Sachs, O.S.B. (Chair); and Sister Karen Ann Lortscher, O.S.B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posing with Susan Quaintance, O.S.B., the Election Presider, are Sister Priscilla Cohen, O.S.B., Secretary of the Election (second from right), and the Election Tellers, Sister Sherrie Brainard, O.S.B. (left), and Sister Therese Haydel, O.S.B. (right).


 

 

 

 

Phase III Blessing and Open House deemed a success

April 19, 2015

 

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, the monastic community gathered with Bishop Robert Baker, bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham, family, friends, Oblates, employees, and benefactors to bless the buildings and areas that were completed during Phase III of the renovation. These areas included: "Subiaco," the private retreatant area that had not been included in the previous blessing at the end of Phases I and II; Mary and St. Joseph Guest Houses; and the Arts and Crafts Studio located in the back section of the old chicken barn.  The blessing ceremony was followed by an Open House for the public and refreshments in the Retreat Center Dining Room.

Sisters Elisabeth and Michelle welcome fellow religous to the blessing ceremony

 

 

Sister Sara Aiden, Julia Heard, and Sister Minona Anne (l to r)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters welcome other religious of the diocese, Oblates, friends, and family to the blessing ceremony, which took place in the Retreat Center Dining Area.

 

Guests arriving for the blessing ceremony

Sisters and guests gather in Retreat Center Dining Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bishop Baker greets assembled guests

 

Sister Tonette happily greets guests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bishop Baker addresses the assembly

 

 

Sister Janet Marie begins the blessing ceremony with a welcome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Bishop Baker addresses the assembly

At right: Sister Janet Marie, Prioress, welcomes guests to the celebration

Below: Sister Madeline reads text from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

 

Sister Madeline reads Scripture text

 

Sisters and guests gathered together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bishop Baker blesses private retreatant bedroom with holy water

Bishop Baker heads to Mary Guest House for sprinkling of holy water in each room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At left: Bishop Baker blesses private retreatant bedroom

Above: Bishop baker and guests proceed to Mary Guest House with holy water to bless all guest areas

Below: Interior of Mary Guest House

 

 

 

 

More photos of the blessing and Open House may be seen on the Monastic Moments webpage.


March 2015

 

Equine therapy program hosted on monastery property featured in local newspaper article

March 31, 2015

 

The enthusiasm of the director of H.O.P.E., a therapeputic horseback riding program that is being housed on a portion of monstery property, overflows in an article published in a local newspaper (link here).   The article profiles the project and their recent move to a section of monastery property located just down Convent Rd. from the main monastery building. The Sisters share the director's enthusiasm and are so blessed to be able to serve as host for this important endeavor which has drawn support from civic and religious groups throughout the Cullman area.

 

Our own community news story (scroll below to February 24 entry) contains additional photos of the site, the horses, and the new barn.


 

February 2015

 

Beautiful snow blankets North Alabama

February 27, 2015

 

View of snow on Ottilia handicap ramp railing and treesThe entire North Alabama region was blanketed with snow last Wednesday afternoon and evening. Around eight to nine inches of snow fell in the Cullman area, making the monastery grounds look like a winter wonderland. Several of the Sisters ventured out as the snow was coming down while others waited until Thursday morning. Monastery photographers eagerly captured various images of the whitened landscape. A small contingent of Sisters gathered in the backyard to start the building snow figures--a sculpted snow angel and a more traditional snowman, "Fred the Alabama Snowfan." After lunch a third snow figure was added to the scene. For lunch and supper the Sisters enjoyed "snow cream" for dessert--fresh snow flavored with vanilla and sugar. More photos in Monastic Moments.Sister Karen Ann exploring the snow as it continues to fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East facade of Ottilia Hall

 View from back of Ottilia Hall (above)

 

 

    Sister Karen Ann explores the snowscape (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

East facade of Ottilia Hall (left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from Retreat Center Dining Room porch

 Area behind Annunciata Hall and the Guest Houses (below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West facade of Ottilia Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crepe myrtle at Sunken Garden (above)

 

                               West facade of Ottilia Hall (right)

 

 

Sister Michelle and Fred the Alabama Snow Fan

Sisters Michelle, Karen Ann, Tonette, Marie, and Adrian (below- l to r)

                     Sister Michelle with "Fred the Alabama Snowfan" (right)


 

H.O.P.E. horses move into their new home

February 24, 2015

 

The five horses that are part of Cullman's new therapy riding program have moved from their temporary home in the county to their newly completed barn on the property of the Benedictine Sisters at 1301 Convent Rd NE. Staff and volunteers gradually introduced the horses to their new facilities, including the riding ring, grooming area, and stalls.  Once the horses have acclimated to their new environment, the next session will begin.  For more information about HOPE, program participation, and support, visit their website at: www.hopehorses.org.

Loula is the first to enter the ring

Loula and Montana arrive for their first visit to the riding ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loula (at right) and Montana are the first horses led into the riding ring

 

Montana sniffs around the equipment

 

 

 

 

 

Montana, the newest horse that is still being evaluated, eagerly check out all of the equipment. (left)

 

 

 

 

 

Loula checks out her reflection in the glass window

 

 

 

 

Loula is not so sure about seeing her reflection in the window. (right). Sam is the next to arrive (below), followed by Can Can and WiserSam, Can Can and Wiser arrive at the riding ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam (left below) and Can Can (right below) are the first to check out the fresh sand with a playful roll.

Sam rolls in the sand

 

Can Can rolls in the sand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam checks out the new digs

Loula looks through the window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam (above) and Loula (right) check out the inside of the barn.

 

Other spaces of the new barn include a tack room, an indoor viewing and waiting area, an outdoor viewing area, an office, a grooming area, and several stalls. Outdoor activities are being set up as well.

 

tack room

 

 

indoor viewing and waiting area

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor activities being constructed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sister Mary Leo Arnold, O.S.B., passes into eternal life

February 6, 2015

 

 

The monastic community, along with thousands of former students, mourn the passing of Sister Mary Leo Arnold, O.S.B., who died early in the morning of Thursday, February 5. The Sisters, led by Sr. Janet Marie Flemming, Prioress, gathered at Sr. Mary Leo's bedside to pray for the repose of her soul. 

 

A gifted and memorable teacher, Sister touched the lives of countless students during her decades in education. A link to her obituary can be found here.  The Mass of Christian Burial will be held in Sacred Heart Monastery Chapel at 3:00 PM on Monday, February 9.  

 

Many former students have inquired about memorial contributions.  These can be made to the Benedictine Sisters Capital Campaign. A link to a contribution form may be found here

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

DECEMBER 2014

 

 

Winter Benedictine Update is published

December 20, 2014

 

The Winter 2014 issue of Benedictine Update has been published and was placed in the mail yesterday.  If you are among those who receive our various letters and newsletters, you should be receiving your Update soon.   A pdf copy can be viewed online by clicking here or on the cover image at right.

 

Among the stories...news of Sister Cecilia's Jubilee celebration, Sister Lynn Marie's travels as President of the Federation of St. Scholastica, visits from international Sisters, the final months of the Capital Campaign, a construction update, a report on the Oblate weekend, and more...

 

If you would like to receive our correspondence by mail, please contact us at (256) 615-6071 or development [at] shmon.org and let us know your name and contact information.  We would love to hear from you! 

 


 

 

Preparing the way...

December 19, 2014

 

In liturgy, prayer, and spiritual reading, the community is deep into Advent.  And yet preparations for Christmas abound - from decorating the monastery to rehearsing Christmas music to receiving visits from holiday guests.  Here are a few pictures from the monastery this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This past Sunday, the Sisters gathered to decorate the Christmas tree in the community dining room in preparation for our Employee Christmas Party on Tuesday and other visitors later in the week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to decorating, we enjoyed visiting with one another over a simple Sunday supper of sandwiches and chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sisters have greatly enjoyed the presence of Sister Juve, a Guadalupana Sister who is staying with us for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Mary Adrian prepares a crib set in the dining room.  Numerous other crib sets are spread throughout the monastery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The community gathers with monastery employees for a festive holiday meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The schola (monastic choir) begins rehearsing for Christmas liturgies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are invited to join us for our Christmas liturgies.  The schedule may be found here.