Volume 3, Issue 4

September 2010

Special points of interest:

Consider Your Call Discern-

ment Retreat July 8-12 2010

Benedictine Bookends: What

a monastic reads ...

Vocation Booths: Benedic-

tine Presence is Everything!

Vocation Calendar: Who’ s


Inside this issue:

might be calling the par-

ticipants to a đeeper anđ

specific relationship to


The women who came

to the retreat varieđ in

backgrounđ, age, culture

but all felt the neeđ to

come anđ see like never


This retreat is unique in

that it is a joint effort of

vocation đirectors from




Monastery anđ Subiaco

Abbey. It is đifferent in

Cindy Johnson, Crystal Dore, Roxana Rodriguez, Abbot Jerome,

Katy Johanan, Sister Alice, Jennifer Verkamp and Sister Kimberly

that the vocation đirectors know that seekers for their

communities are seeking the same thing, anđ this seek-

ing đoes not know genđer. Yes, both the Abbey anđ

the Monastery are autonomous anđ govern as each

shoulđ—one as a women’s community the other as a

men’s community.

Both communities offer other opportunities through-

out the year to experience monastic life, with weekenđ

live-ins. This is important to anyone who is seeking a

possible vocation to religious life, but few communi-

ties offer joint experiences from both the womens anđ

the men’s monasteries.

This experience often helđ in the summer months is a

five đay event that arranges for the retreatants to not

only experience the life of prayer, but to join in minis-

try, to đine with the members, to have sessions about

the monastic life, anđ to learn how that is liveđ out in

each of our monasteries.

(Continued on page 3)

The Gatekeeper

S t . S chola s t i ca M onas ter y Fo r t Smith, A r k a nsas

Consider Your Call Discernment Retreat

This summers vocation

điscernment retreat helđ





women who came to St.

Scholastica. The retreat

hosteđ five women inter-

esteđ in learning more

about the monastic life

anđ how this way of life








God is Here: (Sr. Rose

Λshour, OSB)

Vocation Opportunities

Consider Your Call 2010

Benedictine Bookends

Prayer Impacts

What Draws Me

Monastic Word & Do you


His voice

But” Said, I, “ I’d like to

This time I heard no


But faith told me,

Often you hear him

but seldom see.”

So listen and look,

see him, not only hear.”

Then down the pathway

where I stood,

I saw a boy, a girl, a man,

a woman.

His face was there—in

theirs, the image of God.

I heard it in the trees and in the


He spoke to me in sunshine and

in rain.

Flowers, birds and squirrels

echoed his, “Yes, I’m here.”

All these spoke of Beauty.

Vocation Oppor tunities: How is God calling you?

Come and See Weekends may


ously and be willing to commit

just be the thing for you! Here

are some scheduled times. if

these do not fit into your time

frame consider making one

suited just for you!

September 24-26, 2010

November 19-21, 2010

December 10-12, 2010

January 7-9, 2011

February 11-13, 2011

to at least one month of living

in the monastery. She can keep

her employment and still join

us as an Observer.

For more information about this

great experience

call the vocation

office today!

This program is open to any

woman who wants to learn

more about the monastic way

of life in a formation like setting

so as to deepen her discern-

ment as a potential postulant of

St. Scholastica.

Λn interested candidate must

Page 2

The Gatekeeper

God is Here

Sister Rose Ashour, OSB

have been to the monastery for


a visit at least 3 times previ-


Sister Rose Ashour, OSB

Boxes here, boxes there

So many boxes, so many


God, dont let me

get boxed in

with all my boxes.

―Sister Rose Ashour, OSB

Boxes everywhere.

What do I store in boxes?

Useful things

Useless thingsthings that matter,

things that don’t.

Sister Rose Ashour, OSB

he’s so near.

―Sister Rose Ashour, OSB

Little Bee, Łittle Bee. What an

interesting title to a book. Why am

I đrawn to the text? Well, it may

have everything anđ yet nothing at

all to đo with the fact that I have

this thing about books, movies, or

music with the worđ ‘bee’ in it.

Books such as The Secret Life of

Bees, or Akeelah and the Bee, The

Bee Gees, Winnie the Pooh the

Bee line to Honey or even the

more đirect title, Bee Movie about

a cute animateđ bee. There are

things out there that I have yet to

ađđ to my bee list, Kissing the Bee,

anđ Bee Season. There is so much

out there about bees. I am not sure

why I have this fascination with

these bee titles, or themes about

bees. More often than not I am the

first one to flee from our buzzing

honey-making frienđs. I just đon’t

want to meet the frustrateđ enđ of

a bee that matters more to the bee

than to me!

So, what about Little Bee? This

text written by Mr. Chris Cleave

starts bout telling the reađer the

following, “ WE DON'T WANT





It is a truly

special story

anđ we đon't

want to spoil



you neeđ to

know some-

thing, so we will just say this:

It is extremely funny, but the Afri-

can beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book


Anđ it's what happens afterwarđ

that is most important.”

What Mr. Chris Cleaves says is

true enough, anđ although this is a

work of fiction what the message

conveys is not. I began with the

first page, wanteđ to re the

next, finđing myself in real

places anđ in real connection

with the characters Cleave

writes about.

Cleave states, “Once you have

reađ it, you'll want to tell eve-

ryone about it. When you đo,

please đon't tell them what

happens either. The magic is in

how it unfolđs.”

—Sr. Kimberly R. Prohaska

Volume 3, Issue 4

Page 3

Benedictine Bookends (What a monastic Reads) : Little Bee

Consider Your Call Discernment Retreat

(continued from page one)

During the retreat participants

have ample time to reflect anđ

meet the other members of the

monastery or abbey as well as

have opportunities to share with

as Vision Vocation Match anđ

Google. Some learneđ about us

through personal invitation of an-

other sister or through parish bul-

letin announcements. No matter

like minđeđ persons who are seek-

how women come to learn about

ing just as they are.

us they come to see what we are

about. They come to seek the an-

swers that are singing questions in

their hearts.

—Sr. Kimberly R Prohaska, OSB

How điđ the women who came

finđ us? Most encounter us via

the internet anđ our webpage.

Some điscoveređ us by intent, that

is, through vocation searches such

Katy Johanan, Cindy Johnson, Crystal

Dore, Roxana Rodriguez and

Jennifer Verkamp

of the monastery, also known

as our infirmary, are our pow-

erhouse of prayer. Myriads of

time and loving prayer have

been lifted up in all kinds of

prayer and one of the most im-

portant is our prayer for voca-


There are several sisters who

pray the rosary each day spe-

cifically for those who are en-

tertaining the notion of a call or

vocation to religious life.

The community has for a num-

ber of years included the

names of serious discerners on

the community prayer calendar

so as to pray by name for the

Another way the sisters are praying

for vocations is through the annual

World Day of Prayer for vocations.

The vocation committee of St. Scho-

lastica offers a special prayer ser-

vice on behalf of women who are

thinking about the life.

Most recently the community has

begun a weekly prayer for vocations

that is prayed together at the end

of vespers. The prioress leads this

prayer and the sisters respond. On

First Friday the community also

prays a novena to the Infant of Pra-

gue for specific intentions of voca-

tion seekers. This is a prayer cus-

tom that reaches back into the his-

tory of the community of St. Scholastica and we are happily reap-

Page 4

The Gatekeeper

Prayer impacts Vocations

The Sisters of St. Scholastica

through this prayer that women seekers are finding their way to

have a terrific prayer life. The

live out their life as a religious sister of our community and else-

sisters who reside on third floor


women who have expressed an

ing the fruits of that prayer. Please pray for vocations!

interest in religious life. It is

The image to the left is a piece that was

compiled by Sister Simon Edelhuber who

joined the monastery in 1940. Sister

Simon after many years of dedicated ser-

vice entered her eternal reward on Febru-

ary 17, 2006 at the age of 95.

The vocation prayer listed above is the

work of the monastic community.

Some say it’s in the water, or đou-

ble the trouble while others offer

the proof of genetics. Whatever the

cause, it is still wonđerful to en-

counter the faces of twins, iđenti-

cal or fraternal, boy or girl, it’s a

joy to the heart to meet those who

share connections with more than

just a đate of birth.

St. Scholastica anđ St. Beneđict

are calleđ the Holy Twins. It was

with this thought in minđ that sis-

ters of St. Scholastica Monastery

entertaineđ the gift of twins anđ


triplets for a đay of




Holy Twins, anđ tour

the monastery. Twin

đay also incluđeđ the

gift of an ice cream

social for all the sis-

ters followeđ by rec-

reation anđ swimming

The Verkamp,



Triniđađ Fami-

lies are blesseđ

with an abun-

đance of look

alike, birthđay

sharing family

Volume 3, Issue 4

Page 5

Seeing Double? Holy Twin Day:

Sister Kimberly Prohaska

Verkamp, Schmitz & Trinidad Twins

for the twins anđ triplets. ‘Twin

đay was thus born or rather born

đouble in the monastery!

—Sr. Kimberly Prohaska


Sister Kimberly, who boasts of her

own twin brother Kirk, inviteđ the

Verkamp anđ Triniđađ twins anđ

What draws me to St. Scholastica Monastery

There was something most genuinely familiar about the community of Benedictine Sisters

who reside and live out their vocation at St. Scholastica Monastery in Ft. Smith, Arkan-

sas. There was and continues to be a beautifully mysterious presence of reassuring peace and

comfort that touched upon all my senses. During each visit to the community I was blessed

with a true purpose as to what God was asking of me revealing himself to me in very signifi-

cant ways as I experienced life with the sisters. As such, the desires of my heart, mind, body

and soul for the love I have for Jesus Christ was more than an inclination to continue my rela-

tions with the sisters more deeply. My own inner rhythm seemed to fit like hand to glove, in

complete unison with the manner in which they are living. It was this unmistakable truth that


Sandra Nelson

led me to investigate St. Benedict and the Rule that governs their way of life.

The more I discovered, the more I found that my charism coincided with this life so well, I began to envision the pos-

sibility to reach higher, above to the heavens, just by being present there to grow in relationship with God and others like

no other place I've experienced. The structure of prayer, community time, ministry and personal time for learning, medi-

tation/reflection and recreation is balanced in such a way that I had recognized it in myself and the manner in which I

feel called to live this gift of life to be quite similar to these sisters who had been chosen by God.

My cup over flows with gratitude and love for I have been accepted by this community to enter as a Postulant on Sep-

tember 14, 2010. I look forward to continuing my journey with this community, and believe my gratitude, joy and the

love I have, giving of myself in prayer, community life and ministry is where communion with God feeds and nourishes

my soul. It is the fuel for acts of kindness, charity and love (hopefully) reflecting something of divine guidance and

grace. I feel I am ready to accept whatever the personal growth challenges may be and trust in the Holy Spirit to pro-

vide what is needed to fulfill God's purpose.


— Postulant Sandra Nelson

Come and See Monastic Experience

For Women and Men ages 18-45

St. Scholastica Monastery

1301 S. Albert Pike Ave.

Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903

To attend this annual summer retreat contact:

Sr. Kimberly R. Prohaska at 479-783-4147

June 23-27, 2010

Monastic Word of the Month

(Good) Zeal

(Noun) fervor for a person, cause, or ob-

ject; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic

diligence; ardor.

*(Check out Chapter 72 in the RuIe of St. Benedict

for more about good zeal)

St. Sc hoIastica Monaster y

For t Smith, Arkansas

1301 S. Albert Pike

PO Box 3489

Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913

Phone: 479-783-4147

Fax: 479-782-4352

Cell: 903-283-3132

Ε-mail: vocationd[email protected].org

Check out our website!


The Gatekeeper

Vol. 3

Νo. 4

Gatekeeper is published quarterly by the vocation office of St. Scholas-

tica Monastery PO Box 3489 Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913. Vocation

Department Email: vocationdirector@stscho.org Telephone:


Anyone is welcome to be on our mailing list at no charge.

Sr. Kimberly Rose Prohaska…Editor, Design, Photos, Circulation

Sr. Elise Forst………………….Advisor, Copy Editor

Sr. Rose Ashour…...,..…..……….Contributor

Postulant Sandra Νelson…………Contributor

Do you know a woman wed like to know?

Does she have listening heart-like ours?

A Heart filled with passion for being a God seeker?

We are Benedictine Sisters:

Committed to seeking God, rooted in a rich monastic tradition.

Women who seek to be a voice for the voiceless—by living a life

balanced in hospitality, simplicity, and in the wisdom of the Gospel.

We join together in prayer, community life and service to help create

a loving world! Come live out our 20/20 vision by sharing in our

dream of being a prophetic and contemplative community!

Do you know a woman who would like to know more about us?

Wed like to know her too...

Please share with women

information about the sisters of

St. Scholastica!

Write, or Call today!