Formation Ceremonies Held at Saint Benedict Monastery
Bristow, Virginia – August 30 – 31, 2014 – On Labor Day Weekend, several ceremonies were celebrated at Saint Benedict Monastery. The Benedictine Sisters welcomed Sister Lilliane Normand, O.S.B. who completed her transfer from a monastery in Liberty, Missouri. Because their monastery in St. Marys, PA is closing, three sisters began their transfer process to the Benedictine Sisters in Bristow: Sisters Raphael Baker, O.S.B., Gemma Cuccaro, O.S.B. and Dolores Dean, O.S.B. Sister Philonise Keithley, from Chicago, was received into the novitiate and Sister Julia Abdala made her first monastic profession.
In her reflections during the ceremonies, Sister Cecilia Dwyer, O.S.B., prioress, commented on the importance of each sister in community helping to build a positive monastic culture for the sake of the Church and the world.
The Benedictine Order was founded in the 6th century by Saint Benedict of Nursia, and has continued its unbroken tradition all over the world.
There are currently six women in the initial stages of formation at Saint Benedict Monastery. The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia were founded in 1868 and have ministered in the Richmond and Arlington Dioceses for 146 years.
Embracing a life of contemplative prayer and merciful works, we, the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, warmly share our Benedictine Charism with all who seek peace through understanding and a deepening spirituality.
Daily life in the monastery is comprised of communal prayer, meaningful ministry and the sharing of our common life. Praying the psalms, or the Liturgy of the Hours, at morning, midday and evening, we bring the needs of our world to the timeless praise of God.
Common meals, household chores, and holy leisure round out the monastic life. Essentially, we are sanctified by the daily – by seeking God in the everyday moments of life lived simply with gratitude and joy.
Our ministries focus upon helping our most vulnerable populations become self-sufficient and productive:
- Transitional Housing BARN, a program for homeless mothers and their children
- BEACON, an adult literacy program focused on helping low-income immigrants learn English
- Benedictine Pastoral Center offers workshops and spiritual direction to help individuals deepen their personal relationships with God
- Benedictine Counseling Services, located in Richmond, provides mental health therapy, including grief and bereavement counseling and workshops, EMDR therapy, couples therapy, as well as, end of life therapy
Our two schools – Saint Gertrude High School in Richmond and Linton Hall School, elementary and pre-school in Bristow – celebrated 92 years of education rich in Benedictine tradition and continue to promote a balance of spiritual, academic and personal exploration that enriches the lives of students, parents, faculty and staff.
The logo of the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia was designed for the 125th anniversary of the community’s founding in 1868. It is based on the medal of Saint Benedict which is common to the Benedictine Order throughout the world. In the angles formed by the arms of the Cross are the letters C.S.P.B. which signify Cross of Holy Father Benedict.