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followed allowed for directors to
pray with the Sisters of the mon-
astery and to hear the main pre-
senter, Fr. Michael Casey, OCSO
of Tarrawarra Abbey, Victoria,
Australia speak about navigating
shame and guilt to discern God's
call, (continued on page 2)
St. Scholastica Hosts NBVDC 2007
Kelly Fogar ty Joins St. Scholastica!
The Gatekeeper
St. Scholastica Monastery wel-
comed vocation directors from
across the country to the National
Benedictine Vocation Conference
October 2-8, 2007. The planning
team worked for months in pre-
paring for the event and enthusi-
astically welcomed men and
women to Arkansas. The plan-
ning team coordinator, Sister
Kimberly Rose Prohaska, wel-
comed other team members,
Sister Pat Bolling also of Fort
Smith, and Brother Francis
Kirchner of Subiaco Abbey, Sis-
ter Therese Johnson of Jones-
boro, Arkansas, Sister Alice
O'Brien of Columbia, MO, and
Sister Jo Ann Yankauskis of
Piedmont, OK. On October 2-4
Sr. Kimberly and Br. Francis
offered opportunities for new
vocation directors to learn about
the necessary elements of being
in vocation
took part in
the new
sessions just
prior to the
opening of
the NBVDC.
The opening
of the NBVDC
began with a
and welcome written by Sister
Cabrini Schmitz, prioress, and
delivered by Sister Rachel Dietz,
sub-prioress. The planning team
then performed a skit entitled,
"Stations of the Cross for Voca-
tion Directors, A Comedy" fol-
lowed by a social. The days that
God of his divine plan and not
follow our sometime selfish
ways. Once I truly believed this
and honestly asked God why I
felt my internal struggle for a
deeper personal connection with
him and other people, I felt my-
self open up to the possibilities
and listened for the Holy Spirit's
guidance. I knew I was not in this
search alone; he would lead me
to the right people and places. It
was time for action. Once I
stepped inward and gave time
(continued on page 3)
My official entrance to the St.
Scholastica Monastery was on
September 14, 2007. These
past two months have defi-
nitely been life changing. I
have encountered situations
and people that have
opened insights into me, in
hope, to answer the big
questions. Why am I here?
What is God calling me to
I was very content
with my career, my
home situation and my overall
sense of place in my life, however,
I was not com-
pletely fulfilled.
What was blocking
my relationship
with God? Or, if
this is not what God
intended for me,
what else is there?
I believe that all
people have a
vocation. It is
up to us to ask
Inside this issue:
National Benedictine Voca-
tion Conference
Vocation events
Kelly Fogarty Joins
St. Scholastica!
View from the Inside
What a monastic reads...
Changing of the Guard:
Beth Fritsch
Do you know...
What's Your 20/20 ?
Special points of interest:
The National Benedictine Voca-
tion Directors are welcomed to
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Meet our Candidates!
What are the Sisters reading?
Fifth Grade Vocation Days
Visit opportunities...
Do you share our 20/20 Vision?
S t . S c h o l a s t i c a M o n a s t e r y Fo r t S m i t h , A r k a n s a s
S t . S c h o l a s t i c a M o n a s t e r y Fo r t S m i t h , A r k a n s a s
S t . S c h o l a s t i c a M o n a s t e r y Fo r t S m i t h , A r k a n s a s
S t . S c h o l a s t i c a M o n a s t e r y Fo r t S m i t h , A r k a n s a s
Newsletter Date
November 2007
Volume 1, Issue 2
Candidate Kelly Fogarty
St. Scholastica Monastery
NBVDC 2007
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St. Scholastica Monaster y Voca tion Events
For more information about the National
Benedictine Vocation Directors Conference
please visit our website,
or contact the vocation office.
pre-formation, the formation that begins be-
fore formation begins, St. Benedict's criteria
of suitability and readiness, and recruitment
for the monastic cemetery. Father Casey also
gave presentations to the sisters of St. Scholas-
tica in Fort Smith and Atchison, KS and to the
monks of Subiaco Abbey. Abbot Jerome Ko-
dell of Subiaco Abbey made his presentation
around the question, "Who was the first Voca-
tion Director in the Bible?" Both Abbot
Jerome and Fr. Michael Casey provided the
vocation directors with much to ponder and
put into practice in vocation ministry.
The NBVDC was not all work and prayer!
Vocation directors from as far away as Eng-
land to Florida to Washington State, were
given opportunities to experience southern
hospitality at its finest! Participants were
gifted with treats of NBVDC handmade tapes-
try bags filled with such items as chocolates
and hot sauce, and they experienced choir
music from the Fort Smith Chorale and an
afternoon trolley tour of the city. Fort Smith
Mayor, Ray Baker provided us with a lovely
luncheon and honored the team and presenters
with the keys of the city and even honorary
pardons! The overall event was well received
by 53 vocation directors who are always wel-
come back to spend time with the sisters of St.
Scholastica Monastery. The next NBVDC
will be hosted by the monks of St. John's Ab-
bey, in Collegeville, MN in 2009.
pants go through a variety of workshops called
X+Y=Z (music). Imagine, New Kid on the
Block, Different Strokes, Father, Brother,
Sister Act, To Tell the Truth Sister/Brother
and Pictionary. It is a day of happy chaos!
The next FGVD is April 7, 2008.
The sisters will visit Nazareth, TX, Feb. 10,
2008 to honor sisters and promote vocations.
Vocation Come and See Weekends available
at anytime. Monastic Summer Experience
with Subiaco and St. Scholastica July 3-7
The vocation office never
lacks for activity! October
was by no means a quiet
month. With the National
Benedictine Vocation
Conference just com-
pleted, the vocation de-
partment switched focus to
the fall Fifth Grade Voca-
tion Day. Sisters from the
monastery along with the
monks of Subiaco Abbey,
religious in the Diocese of
Little Rock and a host of
wonderful lay volunteers
offered a day of vocation
education for fifth grade
children. Fifth Grade Vo-
cation Day has been a part
of the Diocese for over 15
years. It began with 50
students as a one time
event that now occurs two
times a year and embraces
approximately 600-700
participants. The partici-
Na tional Benedictine Voca tion Dir ectors Confer ence
Continued from page 1
"Wha t a Monastic Reads" Sr. Pa t Bolling, OSB
(Sr. Pat shares this quote from `Yeshua of Nazareth, S piritual Mas ter' by Richard Chilson)
with all sorts of crazy adult games to sur-
vive. After a while the child grows up and
becomes an adult who has mastered the games
and learned to hide the truth
(continued on
page 3)
"We encounter (God's) Dominion of Love
through Yeshua's parables. These short sto-
ries, examples, and metaphors drawn from
ordinary life catch us, bring us up short, cause
us to open our eyes and minds to a new way of
seeing. Yeshua does not speak directly of
Love's Domain, not because he wants to be
difficult, but because it is so different from our
current sense of reality. How can he describe
a reality we experience only fleetingly? So he
selects common aspects of experience, some-
times turns them upside down, or stretches
them beyond their bounds, to offer a glimpse
of Love's Rule. He demands a new way of
seeing; questioning our basic sense of what is
real. Parables can suggest possibilities with-
out having to spell out details.
Consider Alice in Wonderland as a spiritual
book. Children still connect to the truth; one
reason they sometimes frighten adults: chil-
dren see the truth and at times blurt it out em-
barrassingly. Alice falls down a rabbit hole,
or through a looking glass and enters an up-
side-down world. She finds herself painting
white roses red so the Queen won't shout,
"Off with their heads!" We must play along
"These short stories, examples,
and metaphors drawn from
ordinary life, catch us, bring us
up short, cause us to open our
eyes and minds to a new way of
Page 2
The Gatekeeper
Stepping Stones Through Monastic Life
Brother Patrick Boland and Sister Cecelia
Marie Brickell at Fifth Grade Vocation
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Changing of the Guard
Kelly Fogar ty j oins St. Schol astica Monaster y
(continued from page 1)
The book quoted is: Yeshua of Nazareth,
Spiritual Master by Richard W. Chilson.
Sister Pat Bolling is the community webmas-
ter and assists in vocation ministry for the
Quite soon we have forgotten altogether that
the red roses are indeed but paint. Yeshua's
parables could be seen as just such a mirror or
rabbit hole leading not to some upside-down
crazy land, but back to sanity and real-
ity. They provide ways out of a wonderland
neither wonderful nor life-giving.
Consider parables as windows into a new real-
ity. They afford us an opportunity to peer
through into a new way of seeing, thinking,
and living. And since they offer us a strange
new world, let's take the time needed to adjust
our eyes and mind. They may be short and
pithy, but it takes a lifetime to digest
them. Take the time. Return to them again
and again. There is more than one way to peel
a parable. No stale school of philosophy
here. No schoolmaster teaching us rules of
conduct. They free our mind, give wing to our
Enter them at your own risk from every possi-
ble angle, at least one viewpoint for each person
or object in the tale. Meditate upon them. St.
Benedict suggests ruminating on Scripture as a
cow chews on her cud. Keep them in heart;
dare rewrite them. Change the scene; alter the
characters. Play! Imagine! Then come back to
the original and discover what has appeared and
what was there all along."
we begin each day,
may we be open to the
love and patience God
has for all of us and
may we show that to
each other.
--Kelly Fogarty
and attention to God's message for me, things
started to happen. I felt less anxious and my
prayer was more focused. At this time, I did
not share my internal struggle with anyone. I
was driving to work one day and listening to a
radio station, to which I do not normally lis-
ten. An ad came on the air and I heard Sr.
Kimberly's voice, asking if I ever thought of
living a religious life. I answered out loud,
Yes. What was I saying? I surprised myself.
She gave a telephone number and I knew then
if I did not call at the moment, I would talk
myself out of it. So, when Sister and I spoke,
she invited me to visit. This was possible, as I
lived in Fort Smith. I wondered why I never
realized the community was for women. As I
drove up the driveway of the monastery, I was
excited but I wondered what this was all
about. How is this possible? I am a successful
speech pathologist and I am visiting a monas-
tery for a potential life change. That did not
seem real, but then I remembered my prayer
those past few weeks. What do you want of
me, God? So, I took a deep breath, asked the
Holy Spirit to be with me as I toured the build-
ing and spoke to the sisters. I came away from
that meeting feeling refreshed and hopeful;
which I had not experienced in a long time.
That encounter showed me what God would
do when we receive him openly and honestly.
I try not to limit him but because of my fear or
inability to understand sometimes, I do. As
Clothe me instead,
Lord, in the cape of
my destiny
Make it a perfect fit
With colors I recog-
Colors I might
even eventually
--Mary Beth Fritsch
Changing of the Guard
The one who has been in charge for so long
surrenders the keys
She, who thought she knew what was best for
steps aside to let You pass
The one who directed everyone's move-
ments, hands
over the control panel
She, who needed no help ever, is in constant
need of it now
Open wide these gates, Lord
Redirect this lineup
Let there be a complete changing of the guard
so that
no one scarcely recognizes
The one who used to stand there
Let's have no neutral Swiss attire though,
not here
I am ready to don a more distinct uniform
"Wha t a Monastic Reads" Sr. Pa t Bolling, OSB
(Continued from page 2)
`That encounter showed me
what God would do when we
receive him openly and
Mary Beth Fritsch
Candidate of St. Scholastica
Monastery January 2008
Page 3
Volume 1, Issue 2
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Do you know a woman we'd like to know?
St. Scholastica Monastery 20/20 Vision
The year is 2020 and St. Scholastica Monastery rejoices in
20/20 vision!
We are a prophetic, contemplative, vibrant community
steeped in Benedictine values, a center of hospitality to all
of God's creation.
We stand in solidarity with the powerless; we are a voice
speaking for the voiceless.
We are a Eucharistic community building on our gospel
tradition of prayer, work and leisure.
We have embraced the challenge and have been enriched
through the new and multi-cultural membership in
Our 20/20 vision compels us to joyfully reach out to the
needs of our world and our church.
1301 S. Albert Pike
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903
Phone: 479-783-4147
Fax: 479-782-4352
[email protected]
S t . S c h o l a s t i c a M o n a s t e r y
F o r t S m i t h , A r k a n s a s
The Gatekeeper
We are on the
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
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!
Does she have listening heart-like ours?
A Heart filled with passion for being a God seeker?
Do you know a woman who would like to know more about us?
We'd like to know her too...
Please share with women infor-
mation about the Sisters of St.
Write or Call today!
Do you share our vision? We invite you to come & see!
Contact us today
Vol. 1
No. 2
Gatekeeper is published quarterly by the vocation office of St.
Scholastica Monastery PO Box 3489 Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913.
Vocation Department Email: [email protected] Tele-
phone: 479.783.4147.
Anyone is welcome to be on our mailing list at no charge.
Sr. Kimberly Prohaska...Editor, Design, Photos, Circulation
Sr. Elise Forst....................Advisor, Copy Editor
Sr. Pat Bolling....................Contributor
Kelly Fogarty.....................Contributor
Beth Fritsch......................Contributor