Three Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Norfolk bring the offertory gifts to Archbishop George J. Lucas at a 100th Jubilee Mass on July 30 at St. Bonaventure Church in Raeville.

Living Mercy

Missionary Benedictine Sisters celebrate 100 years with hundreds of friends

Thirty-six Missionary Benedictine Sisters gathered with a church full of their friends on July 30 to celebrate something that was begun 100 years ago, when four members of their congregation traveled across the globe to start a community in northeast Nebraska.

After a 100th Jubilee Mass at St. Bonaventure Church in Raeville – which was celebrated by Archbishop George J. Lucas – the sisters were greeted and thanked with smiles, hugs and handshakes.

More than 600 people worshiped at the 10:30 a.m. Mass, said Sister Rosann Ocken, prioress of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters – Norfolk. About 450 people attended a dinner at the parish hall that followed.

The celebration harkened back to the community’s roots at St. Bonaventure, where the first sisters had been invited to teach at the former St. John Berchmans School in Raeville and make the parish their home.

Within a year, though, their work expanded when they bought and staffed a hospital in Lynch.

From there, the Missionary Benedictine Sisters service continued to grow and now includes spiritual companionship, parish ministry, retreats and “simply being a spiritual presence to the people,” the sisters said in a press release.

That presence flows out of their current home at the monastery and Spirituality Center in Norfolk, St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago and Holy Cross Parish in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Missionary Benedictine Sisters, then and now, have served willingly, driven by a treasure they found in their life with Jesus, Archbishop George J. Lucas said in his homily at the Jubilee Mass, referring to Jesus’ comparison of the Kingdom of God to finding a treasure buried in a field.

“So today part of our prayer is to give thanks to God for those who sold everything, gave away everything,” leaving their former lives to obtain the treasure of life in Jesus.

Having that personal relationship with the Lord was not enough, though. The sisters’ treasure was “a treasure to be shared,” according to Archbishop Lucas.

“They came here with generous hearts,” using their lives, teaching and good works to proclaim Jesus Christ, he said.

He asked those in attendance to honor the sisters and make the celebration even more joyful by giving of themselves more full heartedly to God’s Kingdom.




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