December 21, 2015

Sr. Mary Therese's First Profession

Sr. Mary Therese pronouncing her vows.
  Sr. Mary Therese made her first profession of vows on December 20th.  On December 20th the O antiphon for Vespers is Key of David.  Sr. Mary Therese is a native of Iowa, one of three Iowa natives in the community.  She leaves the novitiate and begins her juniorate where she enters more fully into community life and has a time of concentrated studies.

Receiving the black scapular and leather belt.
Receiving a hug from M. Rebecca.
With her Junior Director Sr. Gail

At her celebration dinner.

November 30, 2015

Candy Production

Sr. Kathy bagging caramels
Sr. Grace boxing caramels
As we are about to head into December we are beginning our last push to produce enough candy to fill orders.  The next big push is to ship these orders out.  We will have plenty of candy for last minute orders.  We are grateful to our customers as our candy business is what supports us financially.  We follow the Rule of St. Benedict which requires us to support ourselves by the work of our hands.

Sr. Anna feeding caramels into the coating machine

Sr. Gail putting coated caramels into boxes

November 23, 2015


When you live in eastern Iowa, not too far from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, you can be sure to run into Hawkeye football fans.  Our Sr. Carol, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa is a big fan and she even sports a Hawkeye outfit of sorts.  Although she cannot watch the games, we don't have a TV, she keeps up through an employee who is also a big Hawkeye fan.  They are very enthusiastic this year as the team is on a winning streak. 10 wins, 0 losses.  They have one more game to play against Nebraska this weekend and if they win they are in the finals.

August 21, 2015

Sr. Christine's Silver Jubilee

Sr. Christine celebrated 25 years of monastic profession on August 20th, the feast of St. Bernard.  Many of her family and friends, all from Canada were here for the celebration.  Mass was celebrated with Dom Mark of New Melleray presiding.  This was followed by a celebratory meal in our refectory.  It was a gorgeous day, sunny and in the low 70's.  It was the nicest feast of St. Bernard that anyone can remember.
Opening presents

Renewing her vows

Chris' brother and sister-in-law

Chris' brother and sister-in-law

Canadian friends and family

August 12, 2015

Tautra Mariakloster

In 1999 OLM sent sisters to central Norway to start a foundation on the island of Tautra where ruins of a 14th century Cistercian monastery remain.  Recently one of the sisters visited Tautra Mariakloster. 
Monastery Church
Front of monastery
boat houses


Church Ceiling made of glass


Bird sanctuary


July 13, 2015

Ending of our Golden Jubilee Year

This past week we celebrated the ending of our Jubilee year.  We began the year with a celebration with members of our order and foundresses on July 11, 2014. 
On July 11, 2015 we celebrated with former members and friends of our community.  About 100 persons were present.  Archbishop Jackels   presided at Eucharist and the sisters along with our former members sang the recessional hymn.  This was followed by a celebratory meal in our refectory.  The event was wonderful and we are grateful to all our friends and benefactors for all their love and support.

On July 10 we visited with our former members who came for the celebration.  We shared stories and memories and had a great time catching up.

June 8, 2015

Classes with our former Archbishop

 We had the privilege to welcome our former Archbishop, Jerome Hanus.  Her retired as archbishop two years ago and returned home.  Home is Conception Abbey in Missouri, a Benedictine abbey where he now teaches and gardens.  He returned to Dubuque to give us classes on the vows according to the Rule of St. Benedict.  He also talked about Pope Francis and the Pope's teaching.

Archbishop Hanus helped us celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi.  This feast is very special in the Cistercian Order.  We fill the sanctuary with flowers and after Mass have a procession to the circle outside for the blessing for the 4 corners of the earth.  Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament follows for the rest of the day.

We have lots of robins nesting on our property.  The nest in the picture is located outside our Chapter Room above an outdoor light fixture.

May 9, 2015

Ongoing Formation

This past week we have had the pleasure to have Dr. Brian Patrick McGuire from Denmark give us classes about the history of prayer in the Middle Ages.
Roskilde Universitet.  He was also a professor at the University of Copenhagen.  For his last lecture he talked about monastic life in Scandinavia.  We have a special interest on this topic because of our foundation in Norway.  It was all very interesting
He is Professor emeritus, D.Phil.

May 5, 2015

Annual Retreat

We had our annual retreat last week.  Dom Francis Michael, abbot of  our monastery in Georgia, Holy Spirit Abbey,was our retreat director.  He mainly preached about the Trinity, opening up dimensions of relationships in the Trinity and with us, God's beloved creatures.

We were also blessed by the beautiful weather.  We don't often have an early spring but this year we do.  The weather was perfect with temperatures in the 60's and sunny every day. It was a joy just to revel in God's creation.

January 19, 2015

Delayed Celebration

Yesterday, the community went over to New Melleray Abbey for our Annual Christmas party.  We usually have the get together during Christmas week but we needed to postpone the party because the flu was going around New Melleray that week.
We arrived in time for Sunday adoration which was followed by Vespers.  The OLM community sang the responsorial psalm at Vespers.  We usually sing a Christmas carol, so this was a good substitute.
After Vespers we proceeded to the guest dining room for a wonderful dinner prepared by our good friends, Madonna and Paul McAndrews.  They have generously hosted this dinner for many, many years.  It is so good to get together to pray and  visit with our brothers and catch up with what is going on in their lives.