Vol. 39, No. 2
ST. SCHOLASTICA MONASTERY, Fort Smith, AR
Answering God’s Call, Sister Cecelia Marie Brickell Makes Her Perpetual Monastic Profession
Sister Cecelia Brickell, OSB made her perpetual profession as a Benedictine Sister on June 24 at St. Scholastica Monastery.
During the 10:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Fr. David McKillin, OSB, Sister Cecelia made three promises—stability, fidelity to the mo-
nastic way of life, and obedience. The promises of poverty and chastity are components of fidelity to the monastic way of life.
Sister Cecelia entered St. Scholastica Monastery in January, 2005 and made her three-year temporary profession on
June 24, 2007. Her father, Greg Fernicola, brothers, Joe and John Fernicola; sisters Janella Harbison and Susan Pearson;
daughter Jennifer Brickell and many friends from Helena celebrated Sister Cecelia’s day of profession with her and the St.
Reflecting on her profession, Sister Cecelia said: “In preparation for this next step in my journey, I took some time to
look back at the past. At each step I can see God leading and teaching me, even in the steps that began with my mistakes. With
each step I learn to trust in and rely on God more and myself less. Although I don’t know how many steps remain in my journey,
I look forward to experiencing each one because each brings me closer to my God.”
A Message From the Prioress
“Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again Rejoice!” These are the words of St. Paul to the Phi-
lippians. I use that quote because we, here at St. Scholastica’s, have reason to rejoice in these
months of June and July.
On June 13-19, we had a time for renewal with our annual retreat on “Monastic Living” that was
given by Sister Kathy Huber from Ferdinand, Indiana. On June 24, the feast of St. John the Bap-
tist, Sister Cecelia Marie Brickell made her Perpetual Profession of her Promises to the Monastic
Life. The last sister to make Perpetual Profession was Sister Patricia Bolling in 2007. Father David
McKillin, OSB was celebrant for the ceremony.
In the month of July, our community will have another time for rejoicing and thanksgiving when
nine of our sisters will celebrate fifty, sixty, seventy, seventy-five, and eighty-five years of monastic profession. These sis-
ters lived their Promises in faith with good zeal, hope with courage, and service with love while facing the challenges of
each day of their life’s journey. In gratitude and honor we celebrate with them their Fidelity to the Monastic Way of Life.
After the close of our community Chapter on July 27, we will celebrate another joyful occasion when four of
the Sisters from our Daughter House in Columbia, Missouri will transfer their promises of Stability to St. Scholastica
Monastery. Due to the lack of vocations, Our Lady of Peace Monastery, after a great deal of painful discernment, chose
dissolution. We are happy to have the sisters with us and will walk with them in this time of adjustment.
To all our benefactors and friends, we are grateful for your support in the various ways that it is given. We remember
each of you in our daily prayers.
“Hope is the power behind love.”
In Loving Memory
Sister Marian Walbe, OSB, died on February 19, 2010 at the age of 93. She was born Mary Cecilia
Walbe on November 21, 1916 in Morrison Bluff, Ark. to Joseph and Anna Walbe. She entered St. Scholastica
Convent in 1931 and made her monastic profession on June 24, 1935, taking the name “Marian.” She earned
her B.A. in Education at Avila College, Kansas City, Mo in 1966. She was a primary school teacher for 55 years
at St. Benedict School, Subiaco; St. Mary School, Barling; St. Boniface School, Fort Smith; St. Francis DeSales
School, Lebanon, Mo.; St. Theresa School, Little Rock; St. Joseph School, Amarillo, Tex.; St. Ignatius School,
Scranton; and St. Joseph School, Paris. In 1990 she moved to Hesychia House of Prayer, New Blaine, Ark.,
where she was a part of the core community. She retired to the monastery infirmary in 2009.
Sister Marian is survived by one brother, Joseph Walbe of Fort Smith; four sisters, Anna Lou Frietsche
and Juanita Perry, both of Fort Smith; Margie Borengasser of New Blaine and Josephine Basgall of Gardner,
Kan.; three sisters-in-law, Rosetta Walbe and Mary (wife to Joseph) Walbe of Fort Smith and Catherine Walbe
of Friendswood, Tex.; two brothers-in-law, Ben Frietsche and Ed Borengasser; many nieces and nephews and
her religious community.
Oblate Barbara Marie Adams died March 2, 2010 at the age of 89. She was a member of the first St. Scholastica
Oblate group making oblation in 1979. She was the retired cafeteria manager at Christ the King School, Fort Smith, where she
fed the children for 35 years. She was well known for her delicious cinnamon rolls. She was a member of Christ the King Par-
ish and the Presentation Circle. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward C. Adams and son, Thomas J. Adams.
She is survived by four children, Michael L. Adams and wife Susan Rollins; Jane Brummel and husband Richard; Mary Adams;
and Ray Adams and wife Linda; nine grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.
Oblate Agnes H. Briggler, 90, of Hattieville, Arkansas, passed away June 11, 2010. She made her oblation on No-
vember 1, 1995 and was a member of the St. Vincent Oblate group. She was a homemaker and member of St. Mary’s Catholic
Church. She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Ollie Briggler. Survivors include three sons, Jim, Ronnie, and
Danny, and two daughters, Mary Ann Kordsmeier and Patricia Zimmerman; 18 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.
Vol. 39, No. 2
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
From the Development Office By Sister Elise Forst, OSB
“Abundance exploding out of scarcity” That was our chaplain, Father David McKillin’s recent
reflection on the gospel of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. That phrase has been floating in and
out of my consciousness since I heard it a week or two ago. As I reflect on the response of our friends
and benefactors to our appeals for help, the phrase comes to mind again. Your generosity in the face
of the news we hear each day about the economic woes of so many people seems to be another ex-
ample of “abundance exploding out of scarcity.” Just as it took a lot of trust for the apostles to respond
to Jesus’ command “to feed them yourselves” and start distributing those two fish and five loaves of
bread to a great crowd of people, so it takes a lot of trust to make our needs known at a time when many people are
experiencing scarcity. But each time we do, we experience “abundance exploding out of scarcity.” With many sharing
their few “fish and loaves of bread,” many baskets accumulate. Thank you.
In response to our appeals to you since last fall, you have generously given about $140,000. That has helped
us pay for the projects we mentioned in our fall appeal letter. Our building repair projects are being completed. Workers
have finished installing a new roof on the monastery and part of the Center building, and we are happy to report we no
longer have to put out pans or mop up water when it rains. For the last several months, workers have been repairing
interior water damage. They completed repair of the Chapel in February, and have moved on to the other floors. At
present, they are repairing extensive damage on the fifth floor. When that is finished, they will move on to the sacristy
storage area, the chaplain’s quarters, and the library. Your gifts are helping to supplement the payments we have re-
ceived from insurance coverage.
Your gifts also helped us send two of our Sisters away to school for the fall semester. Sister Dolores Vincent
Bauer took classes at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, to prepare her to be formation director. Hopefully
she will be putting what she learned into practice this fall when we welcome a new postulant. Sister Cecelia Brickell
enjoyed her semester at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, working towards a theology degree. She
returned here in December to prepare for perpetual profession in June. She will complete her residency at St. Gregory’s
in Spring, 2011, and looks forward to receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Theology in Summer, 2011.
In our fall appeal letter, we asked for help to purchase generators to provide some electrical power during
power outages. As the Sisters looked at the $90,000 estimate, they decided to put the project on hold.
Your gifts are always a help to us in caring for our dear and wise elderly sisters. As we care for them, they sup-
port us with their prayers and joyful spirit. In their lifetimes, they have often experienced “abundance exploding out of
scarcity.” The wisdom gained from these experiences add to our trust that abundance will continue to flow. And that is
our prayer for you, our friends and benefactors: may you experience abundance in all the areas of your lives.
Please remember us when revising or making your will. Our legal name is
St. Scholastica Monastery, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
At left, workmen repair the 5th floor monastery lounge. At right, clockwise from left, Vi Cessna, kitchen staff; and Ravi Thiagarajan,
Chief Financial Officer, display 5 year service plaques; and Sandy Seiter, Business Office Secretary, displays her 35 year service
plaque received at the Employee Appreciation Dinner May 6.
Celebrate 595 Years
of Monastic Life on
July 24, 2010
Sister DeChantal Hyland, OSB, who is celebrating 85 years of religious life, was born in Nazareth, Texas on October 7, 1906. She
received her B.A. from Marymount College, Salina, Kansas and her M.A. from the University of Texas, Austin, majoring in English. She taught
in schools in Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas for 61 years, often serving as teacher and principal jointly, and tutored privately until she was 97
years old. At 103, she continues to enjoy listening to her favorite sporting events, especially the Cardinals, Razorbacks and Notre Dame.
Sister Rose Ashour, OSB, celebrating 75 years as a Benedictine sister, grew up in Morrison Bluff and Subiaco, Arkansas. She
joined the Benedictines while attending St. Scholastica Academy. She received her Bachelors Degree in Education from Mount St. Scho-
lastica College, Atchison, Kansas and her Masters in Education and Administration from St. Mary College, Leavenworth, Kansas. She
taught elementary school in Ratcliff, Charleston, Brinkley, Scranton, and Shoal Creek, Arkansas; Ada, Oklahoma; Moberly, Pilot Grove,
and Kansas City, Missouri. In later years she worked in pastoral ministry, religious education, and homebound ministry. When Our Lady
of Peace Monastery, Columbia, Missouri, was established in 1969, Sister Rose transferred her stability there, returning to St. Scholastica
when Our Lady of Peace closed in 2010. Sr. Rose said her grade school teachers inspired her to enter religious life. “I had Benedictine
Sisters for my teachers in grade school so I knew that’s the kind of Religious I wanted to be,” she said.
Sister Consuella Bauer, OSB, former Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Little Rock, is also celebrating 75 years
of religious life. She was born on July 29, 1916 in Morrison Bluff, Arkansas to Marcus and Frances Bauer. She entered St. Scholastica
Convent in 1931 and made her monastic profession on June 24, 1935.
Sister Consuella, a teacher and school administrator, earned her B.A. in Latin, with minors in French, English, and Education
at Marymount College, Salina, Kansas in 1942. She earned her M.A. in Latin, with a minor in Greek, at Catholic University of America,
Washington, DC in 1956.
She taught in elementary schools in Missouri, Texas, and Arkansas from 1935-47. From 1947-68, she taught English and Latin
at St. Scholastica Academy, Fort Smith, also serving as principal for the last nine years of its history. Her advocacy resulted in St. Scho-
lastica Academy’s becoming the first desegregated high school in Arkansas. When the academy closed in 1968, she served as principal
in St. Gabriel School, Kansas City for four years. She returned to teach a final year in St. Anne’s Academy, Fort Smith from 1972-73.
She moved to Little Rock in 1973, serving as Diocesan Superintendent of Schools from 1973-77 and as Diocesan Director of
Religious Education from 1977-1985. She continued to serve in religion and parish work at St. Mary Church, North Little Rock.
Sister Consuella was a gifted poet and, in her later years, enjoyed corresponding with the many students she had mentored as
a high school journalism teacher. She continued her interest and advocacy for social justice throughout her retirement,
Sister Pierre Vorster, OSB, who is celebrating 70 years in religious life, was born in Subiaco and attended St. Scholastica
Academy. She received her Bachelors Degree in Science from Mount St. Scholastica College, Atchison, Kansas and her Masters
Degree in Education from Creighton University. She taught elementary school and high school science for 30 years. She was the editor
of Horizons and communications liaison for 25 years and served on the board of Project Compassion for many years. She continues to
serve on the board of Area Agency on Aging. She is currently the Supervisor of the Monastery Grounds. Reflecting on her 70 years of
service, Sister Pierre said: “It is important to use our
God-given gifts to care for all creation and in doing
so serve God and humankind. ‘Use it or lose it.’”
Hoffman, OSB, said, “The Benedictine Sisters
taught in our school--I thought it wouldn’t be such
a bad life to live.” The community is nourished by
Sister Miriam’s culinary and organizational talents
as the monastery’s kitchen manager, a position she
has served in since 1994. Sr. Miriam was born in Al-
tus, Arkansas, joined the monastery in 1947, and at-
tended St. Scholastica Academy. She received her
Food Service Manager Certification from Fontbonne
College, St. Louis and began her service managing
the Dietary Department in the Monastery-sponsored
hospitals in Dermott and Morillton.
Sister Anne Michele Raley, OSB grew
up in Paragould, Arkansas, made her profession
as a Benedictine on June 24, 1950 and received
her Business degree from Incarnate Word College,
San Antonio, Texas. She began her professional
career as an elementary and high school educator
for 16 years. In 1963 the Prioress appointed her as
Treasurer of the Monastery. After a five year term
she did office work for several non-profit organiza-
tions. From 1978-1997 she was bookkeeper at St.
Joseph’s Home, North Little Rock. She returned
home to the monastery in 1997 when St. Joseph’s
closed, and now serves as a monastery reception-
ist and mail clerk. Sister Anne Michele is active in
the monastery’s Social Concerns Committee and a
faithful member of Justpeace. “The gratitude I felt at my golden jubilee has only deepened in the past ten years. I have been blessed
and challenged to a greater awareness of God and my calling to be of service.”
Sister Louise Sharum, OSB, who celebrates 60 years as a Benedictine sister, was born in Massard, Arkansas. She received
her B.A. from Mount St. Scholastica College, her M.A. from St. Louis University, and a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. She taught at all
levels, elementary through college. She wrote two histories of the monastery: the first, Write the Vision Down, published in 1979, covered
the first hundred years of monastery history. The second, Until the Morning Star Rises, published in 2004, covered the next twenty-five
years. In 1980, she proposed building a house of prayer on the Shoal Creek site where people could get away from their regular work and
experience an atmosphere of prayer and solitude. She served as Hesychia House of Prayer’s director from 1981-85 when she was called
back to the monastery to become prioress. After serving in this administrative position for 8 years, she returned to Hesychia, where she
serves as director. The site now includes several hermitages for brief and long-term visits. Reflecting on her sixty years as a Benedictine,
Sister Louise said, “What stands out for me as I look at the past sixty years is God’s fidelity. I grow daily more grateful for my call.”
Diamond Jubilarian Sister Mary Hawkins, OSB is assigned to St. Benedict Monastery, Canyon, Texas, formerly a dependent
monastery of St. Scholastica Monastery. At St. Benedict Monastery Sister Mary, who is one of the founders, is religious superior, forma-
tion director, chief gardener, librarian and jack-of-all-trades.
Mary was born in Tulia, Texas. When World War II began she went to Washington, DC, to work as a secretary in the Pentagon. In
1945 Mary joined the Catholic Church and entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1947. She made monastic profession in 1950. After pro-
fession, Sister Mary (Sister Augustine until after Vatican II) taught in Subiaco, Fayetteville, and Ft. Smith, Arkansas,, Moberly, Missouri and
Nazareth, Texas. She also served St. Scholastica Monastery as assistant formation director and prioress. During these years she received
her bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas; her masters from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska,
and studied theology at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. Sister Mary considers her Benedictine Monastic vocation as one of
God’s greatest blessings in a life filled with God’s blessing.
Sister Regina Schroeder, OSB, who will be celebrating her Golden Jubilee, was born and raised in Windhorst, Texas. She fol-
lowed her older sisters, Sisters Barbara, Marietta, and Stephanie, to St. Scholastica Monastery and made her profession on June 24, 1960.
She received her Bachelors Degree in Education from Avila College, Kansas City, Missouri and her Masters in Religious Studies and Pas-
toral Ministry from Marygrove College, Detroit, Michigan. She taught elementary school in Pilot Grove, Moberly, Lebanon, and Springfield,
Missouri and Lake Village, Arkansas. She served in parish ministry in Springfield, Missouri and in parish ministry and as marriage tribunal
advisor in Russelville, Arkansas She is currently the monastery procurator, where she has also served as formation director and gift shop
manager. “I remember so vividly the words of my novice director, Sr. Norbert, before I made my final promises when she said, ‘Always be
open to the Holy Spirit and be ready to respond to what you hear the Spirit say in your heart. Be flexible, be faithful to your life of prayer,
be obedient and live simply.’
“I have been so blessed during the fifty years since I heard these words. In trying to live them as a Benedictine Sister, I have
experienced the richness of the love of God through my sisters in community and the thousands of persons who have touched my life
during my many years of service to the Church. What a gift!”
St. Scholastica Welcomes Four Sisters From
Our Lady of Peace Monastery, Columbia, Missouri
In 1969, 26 pioneering Benedictine sisters, following the example of their predecessors at Shoal
Creek, volunteered to leave their home at St. Scholastica Monastery to open a daughterhouse, Our
Lady of Peace Monastery, in Columbia, Missouri. On Holy Saturday, 1969, the 26 transferred their
promise of stability to the new monastery and began a ministry that lasted 40 years.
“I had been teaching in the Jefferson City Diocese for twelve years,” Sister Rose Ashour said,
recalling the first days of Our Lady of Peace, “and so I was happy to volunteer to transfer to the daugh-
terhouse in Columbia.”
In their 40 years of service in the Diocese of Jefferson City, the sisters staffed schools in Moberly,
Pilot Grove and Clear Creek and St. Joseph Hospital in Boonville. In recent years, they have been ac-
tive in parish ministry, prison ministry, spiritual direction, and diocesan work.
This year, after a long process of prayer and discernment, the seven sisters still at Our Lady Of
Peace decided to dissolve the monastery. Sisters Rose Ashour, Rose Maria Birkenfeld, and Barbara
Bock returned home to St. Scholastica. Sister Jane Fladung, who resides in a nursing home near her
family, will also transfer her promise of stability to St. Scholastica. The remains of four sisters--Sisters
Susanna Jones, Ruth Ann Heaney, Joann Schmidt, and Sabina Gillespie, Our Lady of Peace’s first
prioress--were brought to St. Scholastica on June 4 and interred in the cemetery.
Sister Alice O’Brien, who will make her perpetual profession at St. Scholastica in 2011, began
her period of formation at Our Lady of Peace and transferred to St. Scholastica in 2008.
In May, Sisters Alice, Kimberly Prohaska, and Cecelia Brickell went to the youth vocation fair in
Jefferson City at the request of the bishop. Sister Barbara Bock will continue to serve as Oblate Di-
rector to the community of oblates in Columbia, and is glad that the oblate group will continue to be a
Benedictine presence in the diocese.
Sister Barbara, the last to arrive at her new
home on June 20, was happy to return to the com-
munity she had left in 1969. “It feels like it is all in
God’s plan,” she said. “I am grateful for the 40 plus
years I had in Columbia. I will miss being close to
family, cousins, and friends and our beautiful land,
but I am happy to be here again.”
Sister Rose, one of the monastery’s 75 year
jubilarians, remains very active. She will help in the
monastery periodical room. As an award-winning
poet, she is very interested in St. Scholastica’s book
of poetry, Joyful Gifts, that will be released in July.
Several of her poems will appear in the anthol-
Sister Rose Maria works part-time in the
monastery gift shop. Sister Barbara has not re-
ceived her assignment yet. “I will wait and see
what transpires as I get replanted,” she said.
L to R: Sisters Rose Ashour, Rose Maria Birkenfeld and
Inset: Sister Jane Fladung
St. Scholastica Welcomes New Oblates and Enrollees in 2010
On Sunday, May 16, nine men and women became Benedictine Oblates and three women enrolled
in the Oblate Program at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Scholastica Monastery. The Oblates enjoyed a celebra-
tory luncheon with the sisters after Mass. Congratulations to our new Oblates: Kathy Furstenberg, Haymeé
Giuliani, Judith Ann Hurt, Maryanne Meyerriecks, John Morgan, Karen Munsil, Barbara Kay Padgett, Dawn
Scarborough, and Ann Wiggins; and to Eileen Scott, Kanyin Bode Harrison, and Nora Bryant who enrolled
in the Oblate program. Congratulations, too, to Kristina Matthews, who made her enrollment May 19.
The Oblates are planning several trips during the 2010-2011 year that begins September 19. Some
of the places being considered are Hesychia House of Prayer, Subiaco Abbey, Little Portion Hermitage,
and Jones Center. If you are interested in becoming an Oblate, please contact Sister Magdalen Stanton
at 783-4147 ext. 356.
L to R standing: Maryanne Meyerriecks, Eileen Scott, Barbara Padgett, Ann Wiggins, Kanyin BodeHarrison,
Nora Bryant, Judith Ann Hurt, Karen Munsil, Dawn Scarborough, and Haymeé Giuliani. Seated L to R: John
Morgan, Kathy Furstenberg, and Sr. Magdalen Stanton, OSB.
Sister Kimberly Prohaska,
UA Fort Smith Campus Ministry Di-
rector, attended the Catholic Cam-
pus Ministry State Convention Feb-
ruary 20-21. On April 16-18, she
accompanied the students to the
CCM Retreat at Shoal Creek. As
Vocation Director, she attended Rex
Day at Christ the King, Little Rock
May 2. On May 7-8, she attended a
Diocesan Vocation Meeting in Little
Rock. With Sister Alice O’Brien,
she attended the Heartland Bene-
dictine Vocation Directors meeting in
Ava, Missouri on March 2-6.
On May 2-4, Sisters Alice O’Brien,
Kimberly Prohaska and Cecelia
Brickell visited the Diocese of Jef-
ferson City to represent the Benedic-
tines at the diocesan Vocations Day.
The monastery gave two dinner tours
in March through the UA Fort Smith
Habitat for Humanity volunteers from
St. Joseph University, Philadelphia
on May 27, and gave a tour to Catho-
lic homeschoolers June 11.
Sister Madeline Bariola attended
the Benedictine Renewal Program in
Rome, Italy, from May 20-June 18.
On July 16-18, the monastery will
welcome back St. Scholastica Acad-
emy alumnae for their triennial re-
On July 28-September 4, Sister Hi-
lary Decker will be visiting Uganda
and Kenya to teach Benedictine val-
ues to Cistercian sisters in Butende
and Benedictine sisters in Tororo,
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St. Scholastica Monastery
1301 South Albert Pike
P.O. Box 3489
Fort Smith, AR 72913-3489
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Justpeace is continuing its monthly witness at the south-
eastern 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 Holy Land.
Our monthly film and lecture series will resume in Sep-
On June 26, Justpeace members attended “Gather at
the Labyrinth” at the Learning Fields at Chaffee Crossing. The
ceremony featured music, dance, and walks through the garden.
1,000 origami cranes were distributed.
The sisters continue to attend Hispanic Masses at the dif-
ferent area churches.
We are grateful to everyone who helped the sisters spon-
sor a young student at Subiaco Academy whose scholarship,
although generous, is not enough to cover his educational ex-
penses. He will begin his junior year at Subiaco in August. The
young man, his family, and the sisters appreciate all the help he
has received in the past year. If you would like to help this worthy
student finance the 2010-11 school year, please contact Sister
Maria De Angeli.