Vol. 39, No. 3
ST. SCHOLASTICA MONASTERY, Fort Smith, AR
Thanks to the talents of Sister Louise Sharum, St. Scholastica Monastery has a two-volume history--Write the Vi-
sion Down, covering the first hundred years of monastery history, and Until the Morning Star Rises, covering the next 25.
As a companion to these two books, Joyful Gifts features the poems and prose of 27 sisters, the musical composi-
tions of seven more, original artwork, and nostalgic photos gleaned from yearbooks, academy newsletters, old Horizons,
and photo archives covering a roughly seventy-year period from 1940 to the present.
While Sister Louise’s books present a factual history, Joyful Gifts, in beautiful, reflective verse perfect for bedtime
reading, reveals the hearts and souls of the holy women who taught so many of us, nursed us back to health, and were our
spiritual mentors in parishes, on retreats, and through their friendship.
- Sister Simon Edelhuber, a gifted nurse and water colorist, brought a whimsical, joyful vision to her nature poetry.
- Sister Cabrini Schmitz, alumna, teacher, journalist, and prioress, in sensitive reflections and centennial speeches,
chronicles the many emotions and challenges of a sister’s daily walk with God.
- Sister Consuella Bauer, principal, superintendent of schools, and diocesan director of religious education, brought
imagination, sensitivity, and craftsmanship to her prolific writing.
Whether she is writing about spirituality, nature, community, friendship, or family, each sister’s contribution--from
the music of Sister Stephen Smreker, who passed away in 1944, to the poetry of Sister Cecelia Brickell, who made her per-
petual profession in July--is as unique as the jigsaw puzzle pieces the sisters fit together in the community room, forming a
perfect--and compelling--picture of twentieth century monastic life.
The “Joyful Gifts” committee--Maryanne Meyerriecks, Communications Director; Sisters Christine Eckart and Cabri-
ni Schmitz; and alumnae Dorothy Sullivan and Debbie Bentley--spent many hours reading and selecting poetry, poring
through old photographs, and shedding an occasional tear or two to assemble a book that will be treasured and read,
laughed, cried, and prayed with for years to come. Through the miracle of “print on demand” publishing, the monastery is
able to offer “Joyful Gifts” for only $18.75 a copy at our Gift Shop, at other local Catholic bookstores, through Amazon.com,
by contacting the sisters at www.stscho.org or by calling (479)783-4147.
A Message From the Prioress
As I begin sharing my thoughts with you in this issue of Horizons, I recall and ponder
Psalm 148 in praise of God’s creation. We have been blessed in many ways this spring,
summer, and autumn.
Spring was filled with repairs to our monastery building. So, for the plaster,
dust, cement, sawing, hammering, and noise of all kinds, we praise you, God, that all is
Last winter we, as a Chapter, voted to hire the Realm Group from Minnesota
to help continue the work we had begun with Sister Barbara Dannhausen to look to our
future. Sister Judith Jewison, O.P. and her partner, Mrs. Robin Eggert have been with us, directing us to
look beyond our fears into the future. They have held monthly on-site meetings with us since April. No
sister is left out of the Circle of Sharing, contributing her piece of wisdom. We have come through some
painful but growing times with them. So, for the growing pains, tears, and honest sharing, bringing us all to
a joyful spirit of hope, we praise you, God.
Summer brought hot weather to our area with little rain. It also brought the usual and traditional
time for vacations, renewing family ties, and other sundry things that summer brings. Among those was a
perpetual profession, jubilee celebration of eight of our sisters, the entrance of a postulant, and the cel-
ebration of Sr. DeChantal’s 104th birthday. We praise you, God, for all these wonderful happenings.
In a few weeks we will come to the end of the Church Year of 2010. The last Sunday in November
begins the beautiful season of Advent. We LISTEN to the CALL of the Prophet Isaiah inviting us to walk
in the ‘light of the Lord’ and to be AWARE of the signs of the coming of the One who will fulfill the promise
made long ago. This beautiful season is intermingled with feasts of Mary, who gave her humble “yes” to
the mystery of the Incarnation. May the Season of Advent bring us all to a joyful Christmas Season.
“Hope is the power behind love.” -St. John Climacus
Welcome, Postulant Sandra!
Sandra Nelson of Campbell, California, who entered St.
Scholastica Monastery as a postulant on September 14, felt drawn
closer with each succeeding discernment visit to the monastery.
“There was and continues to be a beautifully mysterious presence of
reassuring peace and comfort that touched upon all my senses,” she
said. “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 significant ways as I experienced life with the sisters.’
“The structure of prayer, community time, ministry and per-
sonal time for learning, meditation/reflection and recreation is bal-
anced 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.”
Postulant Sandra is currently studying Benedictine spiritual-
ity, the Rule of Benedict, and Scripture with Sister Dolores Vincent
and other instructors while sharing in the daily work and prayer life of
Vol. 39, No. 3
HORIZONS is published three times a year by the: Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery P.O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913. Phone: 479-783-4147.
E-mail:[email protected] Website: www.stscho.org FAX: 479-782-4352. Anyone is welcome to be on the mailing list at no charge.
Maryanne Meyerriecks.........Managing Editor
Sister Elise Forst, OSB.........Editorial Advisor
L to R: Postulant Sandra Nelson is welcomed to the commu-
nity on September 14 by Sisters Maria, prioress; Kimberly,
vocation director; and Dolores Vincent, formation director.
Join us in welcoming Sandra as she begins her monastic
From the Development Office By Sister Elise Forst, OSB
As I sit in my office these fall days, I am observing the gradual transformation of the red
maple tree outside my window. Last week only a few red leaves graced some of the outer
branches. The changes from day to day have been hard to detect, but after a week a great
transformation is obvious. Now various shades of red and orange are all around the tree and
creeping ever deeper into the inner branches.
A wonderful image for the way transformation works in each of our lives and in the life
of our community. From day to day change isn’t dramatic, but when we compare the present to some point
in the past, we are amazed at the difference. As we work each month with Sister Judith Jewison and Robin
Eggert from Realm Group, we here at St. Scholastica have a strong sense of being involved in a transforma-
tional process. They are guiding us in looking with loving eyes on all the changes we have experienced and
foreseeing with hopeful hearts some possible changes that will enable us to move into the future with greater
zeal and vitality. At this point we are like the maple tree – daily changes are occurring, but they are so slight
that we don’t recognize them. We trust that the Spirit at work among us will lead us to a future as glorious as
the maple tree is becoming. Our main call right now is to make the next best step.
As our steps into the future become clearer to us, we will be sharing more with you, our faithful friends. You
have been and continue to be our loyal companions on this journey. We are grateful for all the ways you assist us
– your prayers, your volunteer service, your advice, your financial support, your love and encouragement.
You have recently received our fall appeal letter asking for your continued help. We thank those of you
who have already generously responded. This issue of Horizons gives you an additional way to help us. We
are presenting a wish list for your consideration. See the shortened version below. A longer version is on our
web site, www.stscho.org under Ways to Help. Thank you for considering helping us with any of these items.
The coming season of Advent calls us to transformative waiting for the presence of Christ to be re-
newed in each of our lives. We pray that your spirits will be renewed these coming days and ask your contin-
ued prayer for us as we grow into the transformation awaiting us.
Please remember us when revising or making your will. Our legal name is
St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Come to our Bake Sale
at St. Scholastica Retreat Center, 2nd Floor
Saturday, December 11 8:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 12 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
All our recipes contain
a cupful of blessing
leavened with prayer
and wrapped in
New this year:
Beautiful Fair Trade Gift Items at the
Oblate Table. Oblate Table proceeds will
benefit St. Mary Orphanage,
IN LOVING MEMORY
Sister Cordelia Lange, OSB
Sister Cordelia Lange, OSB of St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, entered into eternal life on
August 10, 2010 at the age of 94. She was born on May 4, 1916 in Nazareth, Texas to John and Louise
Lange. She entered St. Scholastica Convent in 1931 and made her monastic profession on June 24, 1932.
She received her state elementary school teaching certificate in 1942. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree
in Education from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas, in 1957 and her Master’s Degree in Theology from
St. John University, Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1963.
She taught from 1934 through 1997 except for a one year period, 1941-42, when she worked at
St. Joseph Orphanage. She taught in St. Joseph School, Paris; St. Benedict, Subiaco; St. Joseph, Center
Ridge; St. Mary, Barling; St. Joseph, North Little Rock; St. Augustine, Dardanelle; St. Mary, Altus; and St.
Scholastica Academy, Fort Smith. She spent the last thirty years of her teaching career in St. Joseph School, Amarillo, Texas.
In her nine years as a high school teacher at St. Scholastica Academy, she assisted the formation director in training aspirants
and novices. She retired to St. Scholastica Monastery in 1998. An accomplished seamstress, Sister Cordelia made vestments
and assisted in the monastery gift shop after her retirement.
Sister Cordelia is survived by her sister, Sister Corinne Lange, OSB, the members of her monastic community, and many
nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and four sisters.
Sister Jane Fladung, OSB
Sister Mary Jane Fladung, OSB, formerly known as Sister Mary James, 87, of St. Scholastica Mon-
astery entered into eternal life Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010, in Olathe, Kansas. She entered St. Scholastica
Convent as a postulant, August 28, 1938 and made her first profession on June 24, 1941. She received
a Bachelor’s Degree in French from Mount St. Scholastica College, Atchison, Kansas and taught at St.
Mary School, Barling; St. Joseph School, Paris; St. John School, Brinkley; St. John School, Fort Smith;
St. Joseph School, Ada, Oklahoma; St. Joseph School, Billings, Missouri; St. Gabriel School, Kansas City,
Missouri and St. Pius X School, Moberly, Missouri. In 1969, Sister Jane was among the founding members
from St. Scholastica who started a new monastic community, Our Lady of Peace Monastery, in Columbia,
Missouri, where she served as sub-prioress. In 1976 she became a Vista volunteer and co-founder of Koi-
nonia House, a place for women in crisis situations. In her later years, Sister Jane taught others how to live
in the present moment, teaching by example. She was a present to others reminding them of the presence of Christ with them
always. In 2010, Our Lady of Peace Monastery was dissolved, and Sister Jane transferred to St. Scholastica.
Sister Jane is survived by two sisters, Margie Korte and Rosemary Hogan, both of Ottawa, Kansas; two brothers,
Gene Fladung of Louisburg, Kansas; and John Fladung of Olathe; many nieces and nephews and her religious community.
She was preceded in death by her parents, two sisters and one brother.
Oblate Karen Munsil
Karen Anne Munsil, 59, of Mena, Arkansas died Wednesday, July 21, 2010 in Hot Springs. She was born October 9,
1950 in New York City. She was a service dispatcher for the telephone company. Karen began the Oblate program in Septem-
ber, 2009 and enrolled in May, 2010. She is survived by her son, Brien Munsil of Houston, Texas; two sisters, Ellen Estevens
of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Norma Nordenstrom of Houston, and a grandson.
Oblate Regina M. Chase
Regina Weiss Taylor Chase, 88, of Fort Smith passed away on July 1, 2010. She was a member of Immaculate Con-
ception Church and made her oblation on September 18, 1988. She moved to Fort Smith in 1947 with her husband, Ken O.
Taylor, who preceded her in death in 1966. She chose to remain in Arkansas and raise her four children there, remarrying Bob
Chase, Engineering Department Head at St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, in 1973. Regina Chase was best known publicly
for her nursing career. She graduated from the nursing program at Grasslands Hospital in New York, and became instrumental
in developing the surgical recovery room at Columbia Medical Center. Locally she worked as an R.N. in Fort Smith until becom-
ing the Director of the LPN School based at St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, a position she held more than twenty years.
Living to the age of 88, she enjoyed over 25 years of retirement with her beloved family, her volunteer work, her prize-winning
crafts and her garden room.
She is survived by four children: Fort Smith residents, Doug Taylor and CharMaine Beleele; California resident Ken
Taylor; and Joe Taylor of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been a joyous grandmother to thirteen grandchildren including Fort Smith
resident Jennifer Taylor Ervin who has presented her with three great grandchildren.
St. Scholastica Monastery places no geographical boundaries on prospective oblates. Marie Gordon and Jean
Daly, volunteer visitors from Leamington Spa, England, decided to become Oblates after spending several months in the
monastery. They have kept in touch with the sisters, and Jean even accompanied Sister Hilary Decker on her summer
teaching assignment to three monasteries in Kenya and Uganda.
Sister Magdalen Stanton, Oblate Director, tries to visit groups who are far from the monastery at least once a year.
There are now two large Oblate groups active in Missouri--Springfield Oblates, directed by Sister Stephanie Schroeder, and
Columbia Oblates, directed by Sister Barbara Bock. Both Missouri groups have active lay leaders who organize meetings,
prayer gatherings, and ministry work. Last month Sisters Barbara, Stephanie, and Regina traveled to visit their respective
oblate groups to pray and share with them.
Columbia, Missouri: Sister Barbara Bock attended the October 9 gathering of the Oblates who were associated
with Our Lady of Peace in Columbia, Missouri. The meeting began with a meditative prayer service and closed with evening
praise. The theme was Justice. Maureen Doyle, a former staff member of St. Francis Catholic Worker House in Columbia,
spoke about the Catholic Worker movements and the work of St. Francis in giving shelter to homeless men. She shared
that the poor have taught her about compassion and generosity.
Springfield, Missouri: Sisters Stephanie and Regina Schroeder, who started the group of Oblates in Springfield
in the early 1980’s, attended an Oblate meeting there last month. The first Springfield Oblate group made oblation in 1984
and are affiliated with the monastery here in Fort Smith. Five of that group are still living, with some able to be quite active
in their parishes. There were 34 Oblates when Sisters Stephanie and Regina left their Springfield parish to return to the
monastery, and the sisters continue their close relationship with the group. Sister Stephanie visits Springfield whenever
possible, to meet and pray with the group, give presentations on the Rule, and preside over enrollments and final Oblations
for those who cannot travel to Fort Smith. Marie McCann is the local Oblate contact.
Presently there are 29 members including two enrollees and two inquirers. The members are from the five parishes
in Springfield. They come together for meetings at the Paulette Center which is part of the Diocese’s Catholic Center.
The Springfield Oblates have always been and still are very active in their parishes. Many took their turn working in
the “Kitchen” serving three meals a day to the poor every day for years and now several meet every Tuesday and Thursday
to bag doughnuts from the stores and bring them to the food pantry to be distributed to the poor. Many come together at
St. Joseph Church each morning of the week to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Two groups meet at Marie McCann’s house
each week throughout the year for Scripture Study and prayer.
Fort Smith, Arkansas: In addition to their monthly Oblate meetings, the oblates who attend monthly meetings
at the monastery have started taking occasional group day trips. Their first trip was to Hesychia House of Prayer in New
Blaine, where they enjoyed visiting with core community members Sisters Louise Sharum, Andrea Loran, and Ethel Marie
Sonnier, touring the property, seeing the hermitages, and meeting the 30
head of cattle Sister Louise affectionarely dubs “our lawnmowers.” The
Oblates are going to sponsor a Fair Trade Gift Item table at the monas-
tery bake sale December 11 and 12, donating the proceeds from their
sale to St. Mary Orphanage, Mbale, Uganda, a desperately poor institu-
tion that Sister Hilary visited in August.
Individually, the monastery has been blessed by its many oblate
volunteers. In the picture to the right, Oblate Haymeé Giuliani brings her
Trinity Junior High School Religion class to the monastery cemetery on
All Souls Day to pray for all those who have died. Haymeé also teaches
Spanish to a number of sisters every Monday afternoon in her Trinity
Although St. Scholastica Monastery Oblates are sometimes separated by distance, they still form a community of
prayer with the sisters. Let us remember to pray for one another this Advent and Christmas season.
O Loving God, I ask your blessing this day on all the Oblates of Saint Benedict and those with whom we are affiliated.
Help us to become people of prayer and peace.
Though scattered far and wide, help us to be together in the spirit of your love. Give us hearts wide enough to embrace each
other as well as those whose lives we touch. Enable us to listen and to learn from each other and those around us each day.
May we be models in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities of wise stewardship, dignified human labor, sacred
leisure, and reverence for all living things.
Above all, O God, may our presence among others be a constant witness of justice, compassion, and hope to all. Amen.
(Alliance for International Monasticism prayer; adapted by Sue Walkoviak,oblate of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN)
Photos by Charmaine Beleele
St. Scholastica Academy’s youngest alumnae--the Class of ‘68--are now 60 years’ young, but,
like the sisters who taught them 42 or more years ago, they have the energy, vitality, and spirit of wom-
en who are much younger.
During their triennial reunion, they partied, prayed, and visited the weekend away--beginning
with a wine and cheese party Friday night, continuing with lunch, a business meeting, and a banquet on
Saturday, and concluding with Mass concelebrated by Msgr. John O’Donnell and Father David McKillin
and a farewell brunch on Sunday.
The sisters enjoyed reminiscing and socializing with those who traveled from all over the U.S. to
attend the reunion as well as local alumnae whom they are able to see more frequently.
Sister Maria DeAngeli attended the Lead-
ership Conference of Women Religious annual
meeting in Dallas, Texas August 9-14.
Sisters Kimberly Prohaska and Rachel
Dietz attended the 60th anniversary of Assumption
Abbey, a Cisterian community in Ava, Missouri.
Sister Elizabeth Rossi attended the Subpri-
oress/House Coordinator Meeting at Sacred Heart
Monastery, Cullman, Alabama from September 17-
Meyerriecks attended the National Communications
Network for Women Religious Conference in Denver,
Colorado September 21-24 and the Catholic Press
Association Workshop in Little Rock October 20-21.
Sister Kimberly Prohaska ran a Vocation
Booth at Youth 2000, Marche, on October 10; spoke
at a Catholic Campus Ministry Adult Vocation Call
on October 14, and led monastery tours for Trinity
Junior High School students on November 5.
On November 12-14, Sister Kimberly, Di-
rector of Catholic Campus Ministry at University of
Arkansas Fort Smith, attended the CCM State Re-
treat in Subiaco.
2011 Retreat Schedule
Silent Directed Retreat
Directors: Sister Rachel Dietz et al.
Presenter: John King
Caregivers Day of Recollection
Lenten Day of Recollection
Presenter: Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB
Presenters: Clara Jand Rubarth and Sr. Macrina
April 28-May 1
Centering Prayer Retreat
Presenter: Nick Cole
How to Deal With a Prickly Porcupine
Presenter: Fr. Matt Linn, S.J.
A 5-Day Retreat on the Psalms
Presenter: Sr. Hilary Decker, OSB
Moving Beyond Fear to Hope
Presenter: Cackie Upchurch
Presenter: Sr. Therese Elias, OSB
Advent Retreat: There Is So Much Grace in Waiting
Presenter: Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB
2011 Retreat Preview
St. Scholastica Retreat Center’s 2011 schedule will bring back some fa-
vorite presenters from previous years as well as introduce visitors to some new
The Center begins its retreat year with the popular Silent Directed
Retreat. Eight Directors will be available to work with up to 25 retreatants.
Through daily prayer, reading, journaling, spiritual direction, and silence, partici-
pants grow closer in their relationship with God. The sisters will also welcome
guests to spend the Triduum in silent prayer with them on the Triduum Retreat,
Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday (April 21-24.)
Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, whose upcoming book will be going to
the publishers in 2011, will present three retreats. In the Labyrinth Retreat on
March 18-20, she will co-present with Clara Jane Rubarth, a master gardener,
retired professor, and President of the Fort Smith Historical Society. Clara Jane
was instrumental in building a labyrinth on Fort Chaffee Grounds adjacent to the
Cooperative Extension building.
Sister Macrina will also present a Lenten Day of Recollection February 26
and an Advent Retreat, “There is So Much Grace in Waiting,” on December 2-4.
Sister Hilary Decker will lead the five-day summer retreat this year, focusing on
the Psalms through the modalities of community prayer, meditation, and creative
Nick Cole, whose “Centering Prayer” retreat was well-received last
year, will lead a three-day retreat in 2011. All who participated in his 2010 retreat
requested that this retreat be offered in a longer time format next year, and we
are sure that it will bring blessings to the retreatants.
Father Matt Linn, SJ, who taught a large and enthusiastic gorup how
to reverse the aging process in 2009, will return in May to teach rejuvenated
retreatants how to deal with prickly porcupines (aka difficult people.)
John King will once again offer a Lenten retreat on Thomas Merton in
a shorter mini-weekend format.
Our two new presenters are Cackie Upchurch, Director of Little Rock
Scripture Study, who asks the question, “Where does hope come from and what
could it look like when we allow hope to be the ‘anchor of our soul’ (Hebrews
6:19)?” on September 16-18.
She will be followed on October 28-30 by Sister Therese Elias, OSB,
a Benedictine sister from Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, who will help
retreatants reclaim their forgotten Celtic legacy as they celebrate the goodness
of creation, the nearness of the Saints, and the power of the Trinity in our midst.
Presentations will utilize ancient poetry, art, song, storytelling, and Celtic Chris-
tianity’s beautiful legacy of prayers and blessings.
The Center will continue to offer Retreat in Daily Life and Spiritual Direc-
tor Formation. In Fall, 2011-Spring, 2012, Retreat in Daily Life, Introduction to
Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Classics, and Practicum II will be offered.
With her award-winning book, Seven Sacred
Pauses, Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB teaches us to
live mindfully through the hours of the day.
Now, with the release of her 2011 limited edition
inspirational calendar, A Year of Beauty, she gives us the
opportunity to live mindfully and prayerfully throughout
The calendar, whose proceeds will benefit the Re-
treat Center, is available for $10 at St. Scholastica Gift
Shop, on our website at www.stscho.org, or by phone order
at (479) 783-4147 ext. 334.
Purchase Joyful Gifts and A Year of Beauty to-
gether for $25 and save $3.75.
Justpeace is continuing its month-
ly witness at the southeastern corner of
Creekmore Park on the first Sunday of
each month from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. to
pray for diplomatic solutions in the war-
torn countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the
During October and November, Just-
peace dedicated its film series to educating the
public about “fracking.” Fracking is hydraulic
fracturing for natural gas drilling, an unsafe en-
vironmental practice which can negatively im-
pact water, air, soil, and human health.
In October, the monastery showed
“Gasland,” a Sundance Film Festival Award
winning documentary covering fracking
damage all over the United States.
In November, members of Arkan-
sans for Gas Drilling Accountability (AGDA)
brought slides and footage of Arkansas
properties damaged by fracking.
Tentative dates for future films are
Monday, January 3 and Monday, February 7.
Keep informed about our events at
Facebook.com. Our fan page is “St. Scho-
lastica Monastery Fort Smith.”
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Fort Smith, AR
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St. Scholastica Monastery
1301 South Albert Pike
P.O. Box 3489
Fort Smith, AR 72913-3489
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Mary sings softly to the Babe within, Who is waiting to be born anew
In every soul through the gentle silent Word. - Sr. Maria De Angeli
May love and peace be born anew in your hearts as we rejoice in Christ’s coming to be one with us.
You will be remembered with gratitude in our Masses and community prayers during this joyous season.