The Gatekeeper
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
Voca t i o n Ministr y Welcomes Sister Barbara Bock
where we used to play ball.
a love for the Divine Office,
silence and the many values of
When I was in the 3rd grade,
Volume 3, Issue 6
Benedictine religious life. I ap-
Sister Herbert asked us,
preciate the uniqueness of each
“Who would like to be sis-
November 2011
person; I am in awe of that—I
ters”? All the girls raised
find this to be true in the women
their hands except me! She
I have been in communication
asked me what I wanted to
with as assistant vocation direc-
be when I was older and I
said I want to have a family.
I don't remember thinking
How does is it feel to begin
about it a lot.  I started
vocation ministry?
Sister Barbara Bock, OSB
Special points of interest:
thinking about it more seri-
Initially, I was fearful due to my
ously in the seventh grade.
If you ask me what I came into
Vocation Ministry Expands!
introverted-ness; I scored low on
this life to do, I will tell you: I
Sister Barbara Bock , Vocation
I must have said something to
being a sales person! Now, I find
came to live out loud.”
Sister Carmen, and I know when
that I am more open to the adven-
(Emile Zola)
Mother Jane Frances visited our
ture of vocation ministry!
Meet a member of our Vocation
school I spoke to her. I remem-
Advisory Board
The vocation office welcomes in
What is exciting about vocation
ber that my dad heard of my
joy Sister Barbara Bock, OSB.
Views from the monastery
interest and he was pleased, how-
Recently, Sisters Barbara and
Vocation Events
To be able to explore with other
ever my mother thought I was too
Kimberly chatted about Sister
women the possibilities of their
young to leave home and join
Come and See opportunities
Barbara’s role in vocation minis-
call in life by God whether that
the community. I did go to the
would be a religious vocation or
aspirancy* at St. Scholastica after
When did you first feel the call
another path
the eighth grade.
to be a Religious?
What has surprised you about
What are the ministries that
I have been a Benedictine sister
vocation ministry?
you are involved in?
for fifty-two years. My connec-
That I was asked to do this minis-
I am in music ministry, as pia-
Inside this issue:
tion with the Benedictine Sisters
try!! That —I can get excited
nist/organist for liturgy; I assist
runs deep.  I was born in St.
about it!
periodically as a nurse in the
Joseph’s hospital in Boonville,
The Wedding Invitation...
infirmary, for our sisters. I am
Missouri. St. Joseph’s hospital
Lastly, what would you like to
the newly appointed Assistant
was the first of many hospitals
say to discerners today?
VAB Member: Mr. Paul
Vocation Director. I have an
run by the Sisters of St. Scholas-
Pray! Visit convents or monaster-
Associate Science Degree. I
tica. I grew up in the shadows of
ies. Check out religious commu-
worked previously in Missouri in
the Sisters and the Benedictine
Benedictine Bookends:
nity websites. Talk to someone
home health and served as Prior-
way of life.
Heaven is for Real
you trust!
ess and Charter member for our
My first sign of interest was in
former daughter house, Our Lady
Those who listen with the ear 3
Sister Barbara Bock, OSB
the fourth grade. I remember
of her heart!
of Peace, in Columbia, Missouri.
Sister Kimberly Prohaska, OSB
Sister Emmaline telling us what
What gifts do you bring to
Consider Your Call
it was like to be a sister, about
vocation ministry?
were high school
being a novice, the veil and the
students  considering  entrance
ring. I remember standing in the
I think my belief in the value of
Monastic Word of the Month 4
into the community
cove, near the old Catholic
religious life, the desire to pay
church in Pilot Grove, MO, near
back what I have received. I have
Page 2
The Gatekeeper
The Wedding Feast Invita t i o n …
Imagine my joy when I was asked by Dorothy
tation for it is said, ‘many are called but few are chosen’. Sometimes women who come to us are
Worner Sullivan, one of our graduates from
like this wedding guest. They are not prepared or are unsure of what is expected when consider-
our academy, to talk about one of my favorite
ing a visit, to discern a vocation call.
subjects in the world. What is that subject?
Some women who seek are from far-away places, and cannot afford to come and visit St. Scho-
Why, it is the Sisters of St. Scholastica of
lastica in order to see what living the monastic life is really like and to determine if it is for them
course! As vocation director, and now subpri-
and if they can see themselves as dedicated life-long Benedictines.
oress, I have been blessed to know these mo-
I have asked our Alumnae not only to pray for increase in membership for our community, but to
nastic women of God for only a fraction of my
consider scholarships for seekers needing financial assistance to come for a visit.
life but it has left a lasting imprint on my
heart. It is my hope as we look forward in
Many women who come to us seeking the
faith that other young women will come and
possibility of a vocational call are now finding
join us as Benedictine religious.
us via the internet, our webpage, social net-
works, VISION and other Catholic Vocation
One might ask, “Do women still even consider
venues. Women are expressing greater inter-
the option of religious life today”? Surprising-
est in religious life and they range the gamut
ly, the answer is yes! Even with all the op-
in professional, educational, and financial
tions afforded women today there are those
experience. Some are as young as seventeen
who are seeking a vocational call and are
while others who inquire about religious life
striving to find the answer to that call that they
are well into their fifties and sixties.
feel within.
As vocation director for the monastery, I have
On a recent Sunday, we heard in the Gospel,
a responsibility to the community and to the seeker, to see if they are truly called to be a member
(Mt 22:1-14) of the great wedding feast, where
of the monastery. Sometimes, work, families, financial constraints and other issues are barriers to
the banquet and the sacred hall are ready. All
the seeker that often loom so large that they decide to put off the call they feel from God.
that was missing were the guests to honor the
Some women, however, do have the means and the wherewithal to make the leap from introduc-
son. However, many were busy, far too con-
tion and inquirer to actually visiting the community through our invitations to Come and See
cerned about other things. Those who did
Weekends, week long monastic experiences, summer discernment opportunities, and our Observ-
come were invited to merely put on their wed-
ership program. This is exciting to see. Recently, some women came from as far as New York,
ding garment and come to the celebration.
such as Anna, and from Texas, Maria Elena and our affiliate Katy. Our novice, Sister Sandra,
Simple, right? Yet, there was one found
found us here in Fort Smith, from Santa Clara, California!
among the crowd who was ill prepared to
come to the wedding and thus enjoy the feast.
Sometimes when women cannot come to the wedding feast located at the monastery, we go and
Either by choice or ignorance, he did not put
visit them in their sacred spaces of home, work and community. Most often, the women we go
on the proper garment. When the host asked
visit are seriously discerning with us and we with them, so we tell them we would love to see
why he did not do so, he gave no reply. Sadly,
where you find yourself just before the wedding feast and meet them there.
he could not remain at the wedding. He was
—Sister Kimberly Rose Prohaska, OSB
ill prepared and ill equipped to enjoy the invi-
Voca t i o n Advisor y Board: Meet a Member
Paul Udouj is a native of Fort Smith and brings his expertise and enthusi-
asm for the Benedictine way of life. Paul has served on the board since
Paul Udouj is a businessman and former Hollywood music and movie ex-
ecutive who brings his expertise in marketing and new media to the Voca-
tion Advisory Board. Paul says, "The important part of being on this board
is to help remind the sisters of the small blessings they give the world. We
must highlight those blessings using modern technology and media so that
we can reach out and find like minded future sisters."
Paul Udouj, Marketing Advisor
—Paul Udouj
Volume 3, Issue 6
Page 3
Benedictine Bookends: Wha t a Monastic Reads, Heaven is for Real
by Todd Burpo
near death experience— that Jesus really loves His smile is really bright, and his eyes sparkle.
“When I looked at Jesus I could really tell how
Heaven Is for Real is the true story of Colton, much he loved me.”
the four-year old son of a small town Nebras-
Colton says now, several years later, the one
ka pastor. During emergency surgery Colton
thing that saddens him ‘is that there are people
he knows and loves who may not be with him
ters heaven. He survives and begins talking
in the after-life, he says that, ‘trying to explain
about being able to look down and see the
the love of God is very hard to do, its inde-
doctor operating and his dad praying in the
scribable.’ Colton explains in child-like inno-
waiting room. The family didn't know what to
cence about meeting Jesus, Pop, and his sister
believe but soon the evidence was clear. Four
Heaven is for Real
that he never knew on earth. He even tells his
months later, Colton said he met his miscar-
father, that Jesus has ‘markers’. Markers? Not
By Todd Burpo
ried  sister,  whom  no  one  had  told
the Crayola version one might first think, but
him about, and his great grandfather who died
the markers Colton speaks of refer to the
30 years before Colton was born, then shared
wounds Christ received at his crucifixion.
Recently, I learned a of book entitled, Heaven
impossible-to-know details about each. He
is for Real, by Mr. Todd Burpo. This text is
describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, This book enlightens the heart in tender hope
the telling of faith and the life after life as
about how "reaaally big" God and his chair that God does love us and that we need to take
experienced through his son, Colton.
are, and how the  Holy Spirit "shoots down notice that God’s love is for real.
power" from heaven to help us.
The author, Todd Burpo, is a pastor living in
Nebraska, with his wife and family. The Bur-
Told by the father, but often in Colton's own
—Sister Kimberly R Prohaska, OSB
po family endured a year of emotional and
words, the disarmingly simple message is that
financial struggle but their faith in God and
heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves chil-
“When I looked at Jesus I could
how God’s grace works in their day to day life
dren, and that Jesus is so happy when people
really tell how much he loved me.”
is revealed in this account of hope and the
get to heaven.
message that Colton delivers clearly after his
Those who “ listen with the ear of her heart” ...
There are many women who are listening to
the call of God. Many write and inquire and
some take the steps to come and visit! Here
are some of the wonderful faces of those who
are seeking God in a possible Benedictine
vocation. We are grateful for your listening
ways, O God.
Blessings to the women who have visited:
Katie Johanon, Sandra McKee, Judith Curt-
singer, Anna Daves, Maria Quesada, Maria
Elena Fisk, and Darlene Santibout. You and
others like you are in our hearts and prayers!
Come and See live-in opportunities are avail-
able!  Sign up on line or call the vocation
office today! Mark your calendars for CON-
July 5-9, 2012 or ask about our Monastic
Page 4
The Gatekeeper
Views from the Monaster y …
(An Invitation)
Chirping  their  songs  as to God following in the
though to match the chanting footsteps of Jesus.
of the sisters in the chapel be-
The Gothic spires seen from
afar reaching to the heavens,
a landmark—this building.
Come and see our natural
Up Up and Away… My
beauty on our grounds where
beautiful — Home.
nature has blessed us with We invite you to Come and
many different trees, bushes, See.
St.  Scholastica  Monastery
shrubs,  vegetable  garden,
Standing firm and tall above
flowers, rose gardens and in-
the trees Majestic steeples
teresting little creatures like
with birds perched above
rabbits, raccoons and squir-  —Sister Madeline Clifton, OSB & Sisters
These birds circle in and
rels scampering about.
around Swooping high and
(Photography for this selection
low Joining in our songs of
A sign of presence of God’s
r. Darrel Larson)
enduring beauty of Sisters liv-
ing out their lives dedicated
Benedictine Janga: We have an Ap for tha t !
Once the blocks are stacked one player at a
Ever play the game Janga or Stack At-
There were about eight of us playing
time has to find a loose board or piece, re-
tack?  If not, the player should know it
Stack Attack, a game of varying lev-
move it from its current place in the stacked
is not for the faint of heart. I was intro-
els of experience and expertise. For
or Janga’d tower, usually on the lower levels,
duced to this game via television com-
those not familiar with how the game
and place that removed piece on top of the
mercials but was not
is played, it can be de-
tower without toppling the structure. It’s
formally introduced to
ceiving.  Like  trying
much like a glorified stacked house of cards.
it until I attended the
most things for a novice
Success is measured by each taking and re-
National Benedictine
we feel blank and tot-
placing the pieces without toppling the tower.
tering until we feel a bit
It’s loud, it’s fun and oddly both a stress pro-
Conference in Beech
more confident about
ducer and reducer. I am sure there were many
what we are doing. I
Grove, Indiana.
players who forgot how to breathe until the
enjoy  learning  some-
block made it safely home. This game
thing new but it’s the
One might think, this
helped us build community and made me see
unknowing that gets at my sensibil-
game is a bit more than that of the child-
how we need each other to make it work. I
hood memories of playing with building
thought there is an AP for that.. Humanity.
Janga or Stack Attack seemed to
blocks, tinker-toys or Lincoln logs. What
We all need each other to become something
know just when and where to get at
a nice way to spend the evening with
new, different, amazing, loving and fun!
this uncertain part of me.
other Benedictine Vocation Directors.
Sr. Kimberly Prohaska, OSB
Volume 3, Issue 6
Page 5
God of Life
You speak to us and nourish us
through the life of our Benedictine
community, asking us to have listen-
ing ears and seeking hearts.
In the name of Jesus and Saints Ben-
edict and Scholastica, we ask you to
send your Spirit to urge women and
men among us to respond to your
call to service and leadership in our
Church as sisters, brothers, monastic
priests and diocesan priests.
May those who open their hearts and
minds to your call be encouraged
and  strengthened  through  our
enthusiasm, prayer and support.
We make this prayer through your
Son, Jesus.
St. Benedict
St. Scholastica
Good Company...Making Sacr e d Choices
you? Yes, even in the midst of just liv-
Thomas Merton tells us, “Discovering a
What does it take to make good choices?
ing and at times enduring life, God can
vocation does not mean scrambling to-
What skills are needed to make clear and
and does encounter us in the heart of all
ward some prize just beyond my reach but
wise choices? Is it just luck? Grace? Hap-
creation, asking us to make choices. But
accepting the treasure of true self I al-
penstance? Often times our decisions or
how well do we listen?
ready possess.” He states further, that our
options and situations lead us in the path
“vocation does not come from a voice out
we may or may not want to go.
“Before I can tell my life what I want to
there calling me to be something I am not.
do with it, I must listen to my life telling
Think of Moses. Moses was born in a
It comes from a voice in here (within)
me who I am.”  (Parker Palmer, Let
time when Hebrew boys were not allowed
calling me to be the person I was born to
your Life Speak)
to live, but through the cunning choices of
be, to fulfill the original selfhood given
the midwives and his mother, his life took
What does your life tell you? Does it
me at birth by God.”
on more than these wise women knew. I
lead you to the bush as God led a listen-
Following the call means making good
mean, how many of us can claim to be
ing Moses? Moses, like us at times, did
daily choices, living our best even in the
born, then placed in a basket in the river,
not want to make choices or decisions
most difficult or dire of circumstances.
only to later be adopted, and nursed by
on his own so God gave him the help of
We can be like Moses, Mother Theresa,
our natural mother then raised in a culture
Aaron. How might we encounter God
Dorothy Day, Benedict, Edith Stein if we
so very different from our own; then later
in making our sacred choices in life? If
pray looking to God to keep good com-
yet to commit murder, flee and swelter in
we come to accept where we are and
pany with us.
the desert and think you are hallucinating
who we are right now, God accepts
when you see a bush afire that talks to
and loves us as we are in this moment.
—Sister Kimberly R. Prohaska, OSB
St. Scholastica Monastery
1301 S. Albert Pike
Come and See Monastic Experience
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903
July 5-9, 2012
For Women ages 18-45
Phone: 479-783-4147
St. Scholastica Monastery
Fax: 479-782-4352
1301 S. Albert Pike Ave.
Cell: 903-283-3132
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903
To attend this annual summer retreat
Check out our website!
Sr. Kimberly Rose Prohaska, OSB
Please Call: 479-783-4147 or email:
The Gatekeeper
Vol. 3
No. 6
Gatekeeper is published quarterly by the vocation office of St. Scholastica Monas-
tery PO Box 3489 Fort Smith, Arkansas 72913. Vocation Department Email: Telephone: 479.783.4147.
Monastic Word of the Month
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
n. pl. psalm·o·dies: The act or practice of singing psalms in divine worship,
Sr. Barbara Bock………..…...Contributor
the composition or arranging of psalms for singing, a collection of psalms.
Sr. Madeline Clifton..........…..Contributor
Mr. Paul Udouj…..…………..Contributor
(Middle English psalmodie, from Late Latin psalmdia, from Greek psalmidi, singing
Mr. Darrell Larson…………...Photography
to the harp : psalmos, psalm)
Do you know a woman we’d 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 hospitali-
ty, 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 pro-
phetic and contemplative community!
Please share with women
Do you know a woman who would like to know more about us?
information about the sisters of St. Scholastica!
Write, or Call today!
We’d like to know her too...