BENEDICTINE SISTERS
OF THE SACRED HEART

1910 Maple Ave
Lisle, Il 60532

BYZANTINE BENEDICTINE
SISTERS

169 Kenmore Ave N.E. # 301
Warren, OH 44483

 

Celebrating 125 Years of Lisle Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery

From February 2, 2020 to February 2, 2021, we will be celebrating and giving thanks on the occasion of our 125th anniversary.

Each day of this coming year we will tell our story. Daily, we will feature a short description of one of our sisters near or on the day of her death if deceased, or if living on her birthday. When not featuring a Sister, we will share glimpses of our history or features of our lives that are important to us.

You can also follow us daily on Facebook (Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart) or on Instagram.


Day 182: August 1, 2020

Kouba, Sister Christine     b. 8/1
Sister Christine is a mild, peaceful presence in our community. She enjoys Lectio Divina, which is time set apart for prayerful, scripture reading with meditation; a grace filled daily practice. As a nurse, she is a living example of St. Benedict’s admonition that the greatest care should be given to the sick. Being able to understand Spanish related to the Eucharistic celebration, she worships regularly with a Hispanic Congregation and is awed by their gracious spirituality and hospitality in line with their favorite saying: “Mi casa es su casa.”

Day 183: August 2, 2020

Kovalcik, Sister Mary Borgia     b. 3/22/1906     d. 8/1/1925
Sister Veronica, (later Sister Mary Borgia), was a younger sister to Sister Carolyn Marie (a.k.a. Sister Bonaventure). As a little child, Veronica was cared for at St. Joseph’s Orphanage. She was soon adopted by a family but Sister Carolyn Marie lost track of her whereabouts. Sister prayed fervently that she would be reunited with her little sister someday. Then, when Veronica’s foster mother became terminally ill, she brought Veronica, at 14 years of age, back to the orphanage. Veronica saw how happy Sister Carolyn Marie was to see her, and wanted to become a Sister as well. She was readily received to be a Benedictine receiving the name of Sister Mary Borgia. She proved to be a virtuous, young soul and dearly loved by the Sisters. Five years went by when she contracted T.B. and died at age 19.

Day 184: August 3, 2020

Mares, Sister Mary Hilda     b. 3/25/1882     d. 8/1/1974
Sister Mary Hilda was a teacher at many of our parochial schools. People and students were attracted to her due to her gentle and kind disposition. She made many friends and treated everyone with equal respect. The older Sisters remember her peaceful face that would light up when she saw you. She was one of the Sisters in our founding group as she entered in 1900, living 74 years of our Benedictine life.

Day 185: August 4, 2020

Day 186: August 5, 2020

Malec, Sister Mary Blandina     b. 2/16/1907     d. 8/5/1078 (Sister to Sister Mary Silvia)
Sister Mary Blandina was a delightful teacher in several of our parish schools. She was sacristan as well for 44 years, the ministry she put her heart and soul into, conscientiously careful about preparing the vessels of the altar for the Eucharistic Celebration, reverently keeping everything neat and clean. In her autobiography she wrote: “I have loved every day of my 54 years in community and I haven’t had a day that I didn’t have something to do.”

Day 187: August 6, 2020

Day 188: August 7, 2020

Day 189: August 8, 2020

Day 190: August 9, 2020

Hacek, Sister Mary Adrienne     b. 9/6/1929     d. 8/9/2003
Sister Mary Adrienne was an activist in promoting the life of the unborn. All of her religious life was devoted to praying for those who had abortions and for those who worked to abolish them. She was an avid reader of current events and shared her strong, personal opinions about the political scene. As an advocate for the right to life, she spent a few years in the Right to Life Program in Washington,     d.C.

Day 191: August 10, 2020

Moravek, Marcella Marie     b. 2/15/1928     d. 8/10/2008
Sister Marcella Marie felt her greatest accomplishment was passing her CPA exam and then was happy to serve the community as the treasurer for several years. In spring and summer, she loved planting and caring for her garden plots. During the holidays she spent time in the kitchen baking bread or pies. She participated in Rotary events and other public events as well. Her final ministry was spent in doing accounting at the Naperville ENT Office which brought her in touch with the Piazza’s; all the doctors, the staff and the whole Piazza family. In her last days, suffering from liver cancer, she arduously walked three times a day for our scheduled prayer times to the chapel, showing she preferred nothing else that was more important than the work of God, as St. Benedict teaches us to do.

Day 192: August 11, 2020

Day 193: August 12, 2020

Faustka, Sister Mary Norberta     b. 10/27/1896     d. 8/12/1971
Sister Mary Norberta came to Lisle from her native Moravia along with Sisters Mary Electa and Mary Hermenegilde. They followed Abbot Neuzil’s request who came to Czechoslovakia from St Procopius Abbey, to preach a mission recruiting young Christians for a possible, future apostolate in Russia. Though the hope for the mission to Russia never became a reality, Sister Norberta always kept this intention in her prayer, and often, with her clear, lovely voice would sing hymns to herself for that intention. Her ministries included teaching, caring for preschoolers at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, and giving care to senior citizens at St. Benedict’s Home.

Day 194: August 13, 2020

Day 195: August 14, 2020

Day 196: August 15, 2020

Day 197: August 16, 2020

Churka, Sister Mary Baptist     b. 8/30/1916     d. 8/16/1969
At 15 years old, Sister Mary Baptist came to the Monastery ready to give her whole life to God with an open-handed willingness to do God’s will in service to others. According to the Sisters who were taught by her in the primary grades attest that she was an excellent teacher who motivated them to work hard and achieve. Besides loving her work with young children she loved to do sacristy work in the parishes. When diagnosed with malignant cancer she kept pushing herself to the limit for fifteen years by continuing her ministries; obviously in pain but remained joyful. Her sacrificial love remains a model for us to imitate.

Day 198: August 17, 2020

Day 199: August 18, 2020

Kotrba, Sister Mary Maura     b. 12/24/1880     d. 8/18/1956
Sister Mary Maura’s aim was to make everybody happy; thus she practiced kindness and open-mindedness before she made any judgements. She developed a deep sense of trust in God who was ever on her mind especially when she needed patience. When at The orphanage, while sewing and mending clothes for the children, her mental prayer made silence meaningful. She called St. Joseph’s Orphanage her home as she loved the Orphans and they loved her. She was loved as well at St. Benedict’s Home.

Day 200: August 19, 2020

Day 201: August 20, 2020

Prather, Sister Constance Ann     b. 9/7/1920     d. 8/21/2000
Sister Constance Ann was a convert to the Catholic faith and when she learned that the Benedictines prayed the Divine Office she knew what she would do. Coming to Lisle to enter monastic life at age 29, was big news. She already had the background of a public school teacher and her mature, loving nature made her adjustment to monastic life quick and easy. Out of her monastic life of prayer and community flowed her ministry as an educator. She taught high school at Sacred Heart Academy which later merged with St. Procopius Academy to become Benet Academy. Her History and Political Science classes were alive- never boring. She loved high school sports and attended student games cheering the teams on to victory. Her passionate outlook for social justice made a strong impact on her students moving them to get involved in positive action in social justice issues. May God bless her for a life well lived!

Day 202: August 21, 2020

Biskup, Mother Mary Genevieve     b. 3/25/1882     d. 8/21/1963 (Second Prioress: 1919-1949)
Mother Mary Genevieve was elected the second prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery and served for thirty years as prioress. Being a charter member of the Congregation of St. Scholastica (later called Federation) gave her a broader view when partnered with other Benedictine Communities especially those who fostered education. In 1920, she introduced the praying of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church, an important component of Benedictine, monastic life. Education became a high priority for her. She encouraged higher education for the Sisters. She opened Sacred Heart Academy in the depression years, a boarding, High School for girls in 1926. The construction of our magnificent chapel and the replica of Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto ware built during her term as well. Our community farm and garden flourished under her jurisdiction providing most of our fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat to feed the Sisters as well as the students. We thank her for her keen, God-given, progressive vision and faith-filled leadership.

Day 203: August 22, 2020

Broz, Sister Mary Augustine     b. 8/6/1876     d. 8/23/1956
Sister Mary Augustine was a well- respected procurator entrusted with the management of our community finances. Her dynamic bartering with company managers in downtown Chicago compelled them to lower prices because she was good at knowing how much an item was worth. She was a careful steward of all properties in the Monastery and it seemed she was present everywhere; in the chapel, in the kitchen, in the altar-bread room, in the laundry, in the yard… always trying to make sure nothing was out of order. She was never idle and provided everything the Sisters needed even the small things like candy.

Day 204: August 23, 2020

Tomek, Sister Mary Lucy     b. 5/5/1899     d. 8/23/1983
Sister Mary Lucy was born in Vienna, Austria to Czech parents in 1899. Like all the Sisters who spoke Czech, she gravitated to our Czech community. She entered Sacred Heart Monastery in 1921. Since our community was invested to serve the Czech people of Chicago, Sister Mary Lucy also became a teacher in the schools staffed by our Benedictine Sisters in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The highlight of Sister Mary Lucy’s religious life, was the opportunity to return to see her aging mother before she died in Czechoslovakia. This was her greatest joy.

Day 205: August 24, 2020

Kopecky, Sister Agnes Marie     b. 12/24/1910     d. 8/24/1987
Sister Agnes Marie came from Texas to study Nursing at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Chicago. When she graduated she was drawn to enter our Community. After professing her vows, she was assigned to be the nurse at St. Joseph’s Orphanage. The Orphans loved her with the love she served them. Later she earned her degree in education and became a primary teacher in our parish schools. Her lifetime hobby was to grow flowers and then surprise the Sisters and her friends with a flower blossom or two on their birthdays, when sick in the hospital or adding joy with a sprig of flowers to the dining room tables.

Day 206: August 25, 2020

Gorecky, Mary Ann (a.k.a. Sister Mary Gonzaga)     b. 7/21/1903     d. 8/27/1970 (Sister of Sister Meinrada)
Sister Mary Ann was born in Czechoslovakia and followed her sister, Sister Meinrada to our Monastery. She always looked forward to another school year and was enthused to be involved with little children. After several years of teaching, she had a chance to visit her aging mother in Michigan who was a source of edification to her. However, soon after she returned she became ill with metastatic cancer. Her resignation to her grave condition was noteworthy as she received the usual treatments, dealt with pain, but was heroically cheerful and united with God.

Day 207: August 26, 2020

Jasien, Irene 8/27
Sister Irene is a gentle, serene and graceful gem. Gifted with not only organizational skills but with a clear vision, is always ready to clean up and make things neat. She knows how to anticipate monastery areas that need order and rejuvenates these areas without being told. As the Villa St. Benedict’s Pastoral Sister, she uses her knowledge of the daily Gospel or local events to pray a spontaneous prayer fitting for the occasion. This she does whenever she brings Holy Communion to the sick in the hospitals or nursing homes, as well as when she makes visits to the residents to bring them cheer and encouragement.

Day 208: August 27, 2020

Jilek, Sister Helen     b. 8/27
Sister Helen is our community treasurer and is in charge of our buildings and grounds. She is the official person to purchase whatever is needed in our monastery and provides a personal budget for the Sisters. Observing St. Benedict’s Rule, she is a faithful steward and wise manager. Her alert watchfulness of our facilities, keeps everything in well-kept order. Being responsible to provide the necessary equipment and supplies for our International Sisters who are students at Benedictine University or the College of DuPage. She is generous with her time and provisions and is always ready to help us with whatever is needed.

Day 209: August 28, 2020

Novotny, Sister Mary Teresa     b. 12/3/1870     d. 8/28/1900
Sister Mary Teresa entered our community from Iowa. She loved music, knew how to play the organ and, to the delight of the Sisters, brought her organ with her. Along with teaching, she was willing to do even the most menial work. During the epidemic that was raging at this time, she succumbed like so many others, but she patiently endured her diagnosis out of love for Jesus, dying at age 29.

Day 210: August 29, 2020

Kurtin, Sister Mary Gregoria     b. 8/17/1890     d. 8/28/1979
Sister Mary Gregoria was wonderfully kind, humble and enjoyed being with everyone and anyone. As a teacher she gained the respect and loyalty of her students through her understanding, discipline and compassion. When she retired, being a handy seamstress, she spent time in the Occupational Therapy Room making lovely, doll outfits to be sold in the gift shop.

Day 211: August 30, 2020

Hornicak, Sister Mary Prudentia     b. 9/8/1908     d. 8/30/1942
Sister Mary Prudentia came to the Monastery in good health made her first vows and spent two years in teaching after which she was diagnosed with T.B. Since she had not yet professed her perpetual vows, she was going to be sent home. However, she proved worthy to stay in religious life and wanted to make perpetual vows. By God’s grace, when she professed her vows she was cured. She was again able to continue teaching in good health. Ten years later, she began to suffer from severe headaches, had brain surgery but did not survive, dying at age 34.

Day 212: August 31, 2020

Skolout, Sister Mary Procopia     b. 7/13/1904     d. 8/31/1931
Rose Skolout (later Sister Mary Procopia) was a five year old child when she was brought to St. Joseph’s Orphanage by her father, who was a wealthy widower from Kansas. Since he decided to become a Benedictine Brother at St. Procopius Abbey, he left little Rose to the care of the Sisters at the orphanage. As a child she suffered with rheumatic fever but at 15 years old she wanted to become a Benedictine Sister and was accepted in the Monastery as she was humble and obedient. She became Sister Mary Procopia and taught as a music teacher for a few years. However, suffering with rheumatism and developing a heart problem she died at age 27.

Day 213: September 1, 2020

Day 214: September 2, 2020

Day 215: September 3, 2020

Day 216: September 4, 2020

Hartwig, Mother Mary Louise     b. 2/5/1914     d. 9/4/2007 (Fourth Prioress: 1961-1973)
Mother Mary Louise was a talented, confident and an unafraid individual whose giftedness was destined to prepare her for leadership. Her growing-up years at our Lady of Lourdes School in Chicago provided her with a solid, Benedictine foundation which continued with her enrollment in the first, freshman class at Sacred Heart Academy in Lisle. Living with Benedictine Sisters, she was ready to enter Sacred Heart Monastery, learn the monastic life-style according to the Rule of St. Benedict and continue her college education. Excelling in Math, Latin, French and Commercial Subjects as well as learning to play the organ, she became a teacher at the Commercial High school at Our Lady of Lourdes and later was assigned to teach at Sacred Heart Academy. However, her greatest gift to our community was to initiate the changes of Vatican II as she was elected prioress during that time. Relying on the timeless guidance of God’s wisdom, she introduced the community to praying the Divine Office in English rather than Latin, and presented the norms of the renewal of religious life to be developed in harmony with the Gospel, as the Catholic Church was opening its windows to let in fresh air and a new understanding of its mission.

Day 217: September 5, 2020

Koukal, Sister Mary Veronica     b. 3/22/1877     d. 9/5/1961
Sister Mary Veronica was small in stature but profound in her spiritual life. Considered to be an angel in her ministries, both at St. Procopius College Kitchen and St. Joseph’s Orphanage, she practiced silence reverently to obtain grace for those who needed spiritual help. Whenever there was a young Sister or someone that was inexperienced working with her, she would choose the harder part of the work to alleviate the strain of the other person; modeling charity and humility. Even until she was near death she continued to keep her eyes on the Lord in prayer and stayed busy working without stopping; fleshing out the Benedictine moto: Ora et Labora.

Day 218: September 6, 2020

Day 219: September 7, 2020

Day 220: September 8, 2020

Day 221: September 9, 2020

Forst, Sister Mary Emiliana     b. 10/1/1894     d. 9/91976
Sister Mary Emiliana, was very appreciative of her Benedictine life keeping her encounter with the person of Jesus strong. Her teaching mission in our elementary schools proved to inspire her to be content. Among the Sisters she was known for her ingenious way of giving an instantaneous retort to an ordinary statement turning a serious conversation into a clever, light-hearted, humorous ending.

Day 222: September 10, 2020

Day 223: September 11, 2020

Day 224: September 12, 2020

Sefcik, Sister Mary     b. 11/2/1010     d. 9/13/2001
Sister Mary Sefcik, as a common sense 14-year-old, wanted to help out with her family’s dire finances and applied for a job at a cookie factory in Chicago. She lied about her age saying she was 16 and was hired. When she entered the monastery, her cookie factory experience was her diploma to be a cook and baker for the rest of her days. She was a dutiful soul with a child–like eagerness to be helpful wherever she was needed. When the Knights of Columbus set up BINGO in our gym, Sister Mary would be there every Sunday, hoping and praying to win to be able to present her money to a good cause. As she was dying she asked for a paper and pencil and wrote: “I love everyone here” completing her intent of saying “thank you” to us.

Day 225: September 13, 2020

Svec, Sister Agnes Ann     b. 12/31/1924     d. 9/13/2018 (Sister to Sister Barbara Ann and Father Denis of St. Procopius Abbey)
Sister Agnes Ann studied nursing at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Chicago and after completing her training, became a surgical nurse at that hospital. On one occasion when Sister Immaculate was visiting a patient there, she happened to meet Sister Agnes Ann and invited her to visit the Sisters at our Monastery. This visit gave Sister Agnes Ann the incentive to become a Benedictine. With Sister Agnes Ann’s background in science, she became a physiology and biology teacher at Sacred Heart Academy and after getting a degree in psychology, she became a Guidance Counselor at Benet Academy. One summer, at the invitation of Father Alban, the Benedictine Prior of a Taiwan Priory, she and Sister Immaculate traveled to Taiwan to teach English as well as to nurture the Catholic faith with the friendly, Taiwanese people.

Day 226: September 14, 2020

Day 227: September 15, 2020

Day 228: September 16, 2020

Day 229: September 17, 2020

Day 230: September 18, 2020

Day 231: September 19, 2020

Lattyak, Sister Mary Ladislava     b. 12/12/1889     d. 9/20/1957 (Sister of Sister Valentina who later joined Our Lady of Sorrows Community)
Sister Mary Ladislava was born in Austria-Hungary and spoke only Czech or Slovak; she actually never learned to speak English. She entered our community at the time our Academy was being built. Having had experience in baking, she was taught how to bake using our new, large, commercial ovens to supply bread and baked goods to feed the Sisters as well as the academy students amounting to over 250 persons. Her ministry was vital as in those days, bread and bakery was always homemade in our monastery.

Day 232: September 20, 2020

Pavlas, Sister Mary Magdalene     b. 7/7/1900     d. 9/20/1981
Sister Mary Magdalene was a gentle, soft spoken, peace loving person and was happy to be busy. She did domestic work in the parish convents where our Sisters taught. She not only did the cooking, baking and shopping (she was known for baking her special, rye bread) but offered her service to be an extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion to the people in Church. That to her was her greatest and most fulfilling joy.

Day 233: September 21, 2020

Day 234: September 22, 2020

Day 235: September 23, 2020

Day 236: September 24, 2020

Day 237: September 25, 2020

Zelinka, Sister Mary Paula     b. 4/12/1914     d. 9/26/1990
Sister Mary Paula was orphaned as a child and was cared for in various homes until she was invited to live in a good, Catholic home when she started high school. She worked for her room and board and the family was pleased with her. Being a Mormon, and seeing the example of this good Catholic family, inspired her to become a Catholic. She came to the monastery with an open-heart and mind ready to submit to whatever she would be given to do. She gave the senior citizens loving care for 21 years at St. Benedict’s Home then came back to the Monastery helping with the sick in the infirmary, working in the altar bread department, preparing fruits and vegetables for canning and did baby-sitting for babies and toddlers while their mothers worked. On occasion, she would surprise the sick sisters with a picture-perfect, delicious, apple-pie. It was wonderful how Sister Mary Paula gave of herself in such a happy way to do everything for God’s glory.

Day 238: September 26, 2020

Major, Sister Rosalie Marie     b. 9/26
Hospitality is synonymous with Sister Rosalie Marie. At 102 years old, she wakes up in the morning to greet her care giver with a happy smile. Then, she comes to breakfast, driving her scooter, smiling and looking fresh and blest while greeting the Sisters. She continues to participate in the Villa St. Benedict activities and especially likes the Thursday Night Bingos because she can assist the other elderly people (who are younger than she) in finding the spots to help them win. Being dearly loved by her few, living family members as well as her many friends and students, she is still gratefully remembered and honored.

Day 239: September 27, 2020

Day 240: September 28, 2020

Day 241: September 29, 2020 Guardian Angel

Day 242: September 30, 2020

Vlach, Sister Mary Felicitas     b. 10/28/1913     d. 9/30/1980
Sister Mary Felicitas was born in Czechoslovakia and came to the U.S. as a child. When she was a teenager she began to discern her vocation which led her to become a Benedictine in Lisle. Her English was good, she had a lovely, singing voice, was robust and full of energy. This allowed her to be given many varied roles throughout her religious life. She worked in food service, sewing room, the bakery, altar bread room, sacristy, and on completion of her nursing assistance certification she worked at Edward Hospital and later was in charge of our Sisters’ infirmary. She was chosen as one of the cantors at Mass as well as for Divine Office. She enjoyed life to the fullest, quick to laugh, play a challenging game of cards and had a knack of reaching out to the elderly, the sick and the lonely. Her life reflected God’s loving kindness.

Day 243: October 1, 2020

Day 244: October 2, 2020

Jandura, Sister Mary Irmengarde     b. 7/20/1913     d. 10/2/1984
Sister Mary Irmengarde had a long and fruitful ministry of 52 years. Her last mission was at St. Joan of Arc in Lisle where she was especially revered. Sister Carolyn, the principal, recalled that she was generous with her time, kept educationally abreast, and with her quiet, confident manner, helped her students achieve to their fullest potential. The parents of her students loved her and showered her with flowers and messages of gratitude on the last days of her life. It was noteworthy that she died on the feast of the Guardian Angels, a Godly acknowledgement for her angelic, innocent life of love.

Day 245: October 3, 2020

Kerka, Sister Mary Bernadette     b. 11/11/1900     d. 10/3/1986
Sister Mary Bernadette is remembered for her Czech accent, and a seeming grumpy disposition, but in getting to know her, she had a heart of gold. If you were sick, you went to her for sound, medical assistance since she was the infirmarian, both for the Sisters and academy girls, and if you had visitors you would tell her as well, as she was the guest mistress. Her down-to-earth hospitality made her genuine and lovable. She was always devoted to young people and in her golden years she delighted in Benet Academy’s “Adopt a Sister” project during which she enjoyed visiting with new, high school friends.

Day 246: October 4, 2020

Day 247: October 5, 2020

Day 248: October 6, 2020

Day 249: October 7, 2020

Day 250: October 8, 2020

Bratrsovsky, Sister Mary Immaculate     b. 4/3/1907     d. 10/11/1997 (Sister of Sisters Annunciata and Alma)
Whenever Sister Mary Immaculate’s name is mentioned it is usually associated with her 15 years role as the principal of Sacred Heart Academy. Her manner was stately and her speech and grammar impeccable which put the students in awe of her. She taught English literature and loved teaching poetry. At the table while eating, she taught the academy girls etiquette as well as to chew their food 32 times. In her later years she joined the staff at Benet Academy and spent most of her time in interviewing the seniors as a counselor; the results of which were sent to the colleges they applied to. Most of all, she had a fervent devotion to Mary Immaculate, her patron saint and intercessor.

Day 251: October 9, 2020

Kucirek, Sister Mary Alphonsa     b. 10/28/1892     d. 10/12/1968
Sister Mary Alphonsa was a loving, charitable woman who was able to do most anything. As a result, she was sent to wherever help was needed. She was a teacher in our parochial schools, an accountant at St. Joseph’s Orphanage and last of all, she was sent to St. Benedict’s Home for the Aged where she became a friend and helper to those elderly folks. To them there was nothing more consoling to them than to see a Sister who loved life and who was in her golden years just like they were, who really understood what they needed. She loved to pray with them, join them in in a game of cards at recreation and be ready to be a good listener to their worries. How greatly they loved her presence with them and she loved them dearly as well.

Day 252: October 10, 2020

Svec, Sister Barbara Ann     b. 10/2/1938     d. 10/10/2018 (Sister of Sister Agnes Ann)
Sister Barbara Ann was no stranger to hardships and suffering. Even before the age of 2, she already had surgeries due to a rare blood disease called hemangioma. At age 26, she had a right leg amputation above the knee. However, with determination, she learned to drive with her left leg as she was a “tough cookie.” At Benet Academy, before the full use of technology, she was the curriculum coordinator. At the Monastery she gathered information for the archives and had hobbies like scrapbooking, postcard collecting and crocheting. At prayer she served as cantor for Vespers or Mass and had a special devotion to her guardian angel who she called on especially whenever she traveled, something she looked forward to even when she no longer could drive.

Day 253: October 11, 2020

Form, Sister Joanne     b. 10/11
Sister Jo Anne is our creative, art genius. The computer is now her instrument in developing beautiful cards, images to fit special occasions and any personal projects the Sisters need to be embellished with art. In the past she used her apt fingers to do calligraphy, macramé and quelling techniques before the computer was available. Her bulletin board displays for special occasions are a marvel, symbolizing in art form the life of a Sister being celebrated or other significant occasions. The Sisters appreciate her seemingly, overwhelming project in printing out daily leaflets for our Divine Office that cover the whole Liturgical Year cycle.

Day 254: October 12, 2020

Tuma, Sister Mary Gilbert     b. 3/1/1923     d. 11/12/2014
Sister Mary Gilbert was a motherless child as her mother died four hours after her birth. As a result, her father had to place her into an orphan home. As a teenager he brought her to St. Joseph’s Orphanage from where she was able to attend high school at Sacred Heart Academy. Though she found it hard to fit in, Sister Mary Borgia became aware of her musical talent and encouraged her not only to study violin and piano with her; but was for her a mother figure someone who she always craved for. After her high school studies she joined the Benedictine Sisters and served our community for over 70 years. She was a kindergarten teacher, gave private, music lessons, baked altar breads, prepared them for shipment to parishes and was in charge of the monastic dining room. She was a responsible and very successful addition to our community.

Day 255: October 13, 2020

Spinler, Sister Mary Milburg     b. 3/12/1906     d. 10/13/1983 (Sister to Sisters Bertha, Wendeline, Rose Alice and Adella)
Sister Mary Milburg was animated with zeal for God and for working in community. Ever aware of our Benedictine motto: “Ora et Labora,” she spent most of her years giving of herself wholeheartedly in taking care of chickens, ducks and turkeys on our Benedictine farm, having a keen insight of the different behaviors of each poultry group. She was as well, gifted in creating arts and crafts items and with her green thumb grew indoor and outdoor plants and flowers. Like her four Sisters in religious life, her life was genuine and unassuming. Being raised on a well- ordered, Minnesota, family farm where all the children participated in barn or outdoor chores, she knew what it meant to be responsible and cooperative with everyone around her.

Day 256: October 14, 2020

Dobos, Sister Marion     b. 10/14
Sister Marion is on a faith journey among the growing population of the Byzantine, Eastern-Rite, Catholic Church. Though she belongs to the Benedictine Community in Warren, Ohio, she is missioned in Pittsburg as the Director of Pastoral Formation at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in the Archdiocesan Eparchy of the Byzantine Church in America. In addition, she is the Archdiocesan Director of Religious Education for all levels. Having a background in Education and Administration, as well as Pastoral Ministry, she oversees the performance of the Seminarians at the parish level, gives conferences for women to keep them abreast of Vatican II teachings, and conducts the Cana Program for those preparing for marriage. In her calm, efficient, organized and pleasant ways, she celebrates what God is doing in her hope-filled life, confident that God is multiplying her efforts a hundred fold every day.

Day 257: October 15, 2020

Jan, Sister Mary Scholastica     b. 4/26/1891     d. 19/13/1983
Sister Mary Scholastica was a highly motivated religious, with teaching and administrative abilities. Through her years, she taught high school and college, was supervisor of our parish schools, principal of Sacred Heart Academy, and Community secretary, as well as treasurer. The more recent Academy students knew her as a science teacher with advanced knowledge of physiology able to teach the nurses in the Aurora hospitals. She treasured her Benedictine way of life and was always ready to use her wide range of knowledge for the good of every member of our community.

Day 258: October 16, 2020

Day 259: October 17, 2020

Hurcik, Sister Margaret Mary     b. 3/16/1881     d. 10/18/197
Sister Margaret Mary was born in Moravia, Czechoslovakia and when her family came to the U.S. they settled in St.
Vitus Parish where she came in contact with the Benedictine Sisters. She was a jovial and patient teacher for 32 years but due to her gradual loss of eyesight and other disabilities, she was brought back to the monastery where she helped where she could but mostly helped by praying the rosary for requested intentions. Her love for music and her ability to play the piano, filled her days as she took to the piano with great pleasure entertaining not only herself but anyone else who heard her playing.

Day 260: October 18, 2020

Ruda, Sister Mary Clarissa     b. 10/20/1905     d. 10/18/2004
Sister Mary Clarissa was a healthy, “Rock of Ages” all her life whose hope was to live to be 100 and she almost made it. While growing up on the family, Kansas farm, she was a precocious child ready to take over jobs and tells gratefully, how she raised her younger brother from baby hood, as well as helping with farm chores. In the Monastery while being a full time teacher, she was also the organist, playing for all the Masses, Novenas, Weddings and Funerals plus giving music lessons. Being proud of her Czech heritage and her ability to speak Czech, she often said that she knew her Czech as well as her English. At the robust age of 97, we remember how she would scout the campus picking up pop cans and coins, able to send the money it brought her, to a priest missionary who was her former student. Representing the community at the groundbreaking ceremony for our Villa St. Benedict-(age 97), with vigor, she spiked the shovel into the ground with the zest of a winning athlete. She died at age 99 still “feeling fine”.

Day 261: October 19, 2020

Stava, Sister Mary DePaul     b. 10/19
Whenever anyone thinks of Sister DePaul they most likely think of her jokes and marvel at her ability to have memorized them. To a new group of people she will readily tell the story of “Rindercella” (the letters are concocted from the story of Cinderella) or the medical version of “Bones” as she does a comedian’s act. She is known as our secret Santa, not only at Christmas time but whenever anyone needs cheering-up for a birthday occasion. However, she is most gratefully appreciated for her ability to read at Mass and Divine Office because her enunciation and clear voice make hearing no effort for those listening.

Day 262: October 20, 2020

Bohounek, Sister Elizabeth     b. 5/16/1877     d. 10/20/1949
Sister Elizabeth, born in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia joined the pioneer Benedictine Sisters in 1900 during the early days of their formation in Lisle. The Sisters were needed both at St. Joseph’s Orphanage where she served for some time and then at St. Procopius College kitchen where she became the superior of the Sisters with whom she worked. She was well known there as being an exemplary follower of St. Benedict’s Rule and an edification to all the Monks and students. In her retirement at the Monastery, she was very happy to help in the sewing room as well as to lead a monastic life of prayer with the Benedictine Community achieving a close relationship with her loving Savior.

Day 263: October 21, 2020

Polak, Sister Christina     b. 7/27/1885     d. 10/21/1918 (Sister of Sister Barbara)
Sister Christina was welcomed with open arms by Sister Barbara, her blood sister, when she decided to join the Benedictine Community. Having already had work experience, Sister Christina did not need much training; being well suited for an important task. Thus, she was assigned to ST. Joseph’s Orphanage where the Orphans needed much attention. During those difficult times of World War I, influenza began to rage in the Chicago area as well as in the whole world. Sister put her whole heart and soul into caring for the children until all the sick children recovered. Then, feeling very exhausted, she too was diagnosed with the disease. With a fervent desire to remain faithful to God, she had the privilege of pronouncing her perpetual vows before she died at age 33.

Day 264: October 22, 2020

Day 265: October 23, 2020

Day 266: October 24, 2020

Day 267: October 25, 2020

Day 268: October 26, 2020

Day 269: October 27, 2020

Day 270: October 28, 2020

Day 271: October 29, 2020

Day 272: October 30, 2020

Spinler, Sister Mary Bertha     b. 1/27/1895     d. 10/30/1962 (Sister of Sisters Adella, Rose Alice, Milburg and Wendeline)
Sister Mary Bertha, of the five Spinler Sisters from Minnesota, was the first to request to enter religious life. At age 11, she was entrusted to teaching her younger brothers and sisters their prayers. She also was an avid reader of the Czech, children’s monthly magazine (Pritel Ditek) sent with the Czech Catholic newspaper (Katolik) published by the Benedictine Fathers at St. Procopius Parish in Chicago. The author of the children’s paper was Abbot Procopius Neuzil and little Frances (Sister Mary Bertha) wrote to him asking if there was a convent in Chicago. He immediately wrote to Mother Nepomucene to correspond with Frances, so she did. The parents of Frances, however, held her back not letting her enter the convent until she was 18. On entering, she was soon followed by her four other Sisters. Remaining conscientious throughout her years, always kind and prayerful, it was said that Sister Mary Bertha shined like a precious jewel in our Community and that glow was contagious.

Day 273: October 31, 2020

Founderess & Graves: Nepomucene, Genevieve & Amelia


Day 274: November 1, 2020

Chapel Vigil Lights

Day 275: November 2, 2020

Prayer at the cemetery

Day 276: November 3, 2020

Day 277: November 4, 2020

Janota, Sister Mary Delores (Dolorosa)     b. 9/22/1895     d. 11/4/1978 (Cousin of Sister Celine Laketak)
Sister Mary Delores was an exceptional science teacher starting on the elementary level then high school and on to the college level. To many of the Academy students she is still remembered for her stimulating Biology and Botany classes. Wanting the SHA Academy girls to be able to identify every tree and some plants on campus, she took the students on campus field trips for these visual studies. She made learning not only interesting but fun.

Day 278: November 5, 2020

Harvanek, Sister Mary Raymond     b. 5/3/1904     d. 11/4/1992 (Sister of Sisters Mary Agatha, Cecilia, Xaveria, and Innocencia)
Sister Mary Raymond is remembered as having a stern face and piercing brown eyes. In school, she expected her students to be observant of her classroom rules and meant business with her piano students as well. Her prayer and work life was well ordered as she had a set schedule for her private prayer as well as her assigned duties. Remembering her two Sisters, Sisters Xaveria and Innocencia who died very young, she was most grateful to God for her 70 years of religious life.

Day 279: November 6, 2020

Mother Riepp Benedicta

Day 280: November 7, 2020

Grave of Mother Riepp Benedicta

Day 281: November 8, 2020

Bratrsovsky, Sister Mary Annunciata     b. 1/25/1909     d. 11/8/1981 (Sister of Sisters Immaculate, and Alma. Niece of Sister Mary Coletta, Cousin of Sister Marie Bartek and Aunt of Sister Mary Bratrsovsky)
Sister Mary Annunciata had a cordial, gentle, witty disposition even though she suffered from childhood polio. Learning how to sew from her mother, she became a professional seamstress here in the Monastery sewing our traditional habits and other items of importance. When her mother was in need of hospice care, Sister Mary Annunciata went back to Denver to take care of her until she died the following year. For a number of years, Sister Mary Annunciata played the organ to accompany the Sisters’ chanting the Divine Office. Never complaining about her poor health she proved to be a most, valuable Benedictine in her loving, willing way.

Day 282: November 9, 2020

Brazda, Sister Mary Bernard     b. 3/18/1903     d. 11/8/1981
Sister Mary Bernard’s father died before she was born and with her mother’s second marriage, her step-father disciplined her to play the piano and organ. At age 5, she sat at the organ in her parish church to play and praise the Lord while her brothers pumped the pedals as she could not reach them. Coming from Omaha to Lisle at age 15, she was immediately able to gift the community and the future parishes where she would teach with her musical talent as well as with her beholden personality for the next 80 years in religious life. In her later years, she became blind but remained valiant as she sat in darkness exuding the light of her generosity. With her dresser drawer full of chocolates to serve her many visitors, she was able as well to favor her sweet tooth at ready service.

Day 283: November 10, 2020

Kral, Sister Mary Clara     b. 10/30/1883     d. 11/10/1966
Sister Mary Clara was a regal woman positioned to teach and take the leadership role of principal. Most of her years were spent at Our Lady of the Mount in Cicero, Illinois. She loved the Sisters and the students in the school being ever ready to give advice with her thoughtful wisdom gleaned over the years. With her talented fingers, she crocheted beautiful items as gifts or for valued prizes at Church festivals. Her life was cheerful and grateful for her 65 years of Benedictine life.

Day 284: November 11, 2020
Pineapple Stairs

Day 285: November 12, 2020

Tichota, Sister Mary Marcella     b. 3/10/1887     d. 11/12/1939
Sister Mary Marcella was among the pioneer Sisters who accepted, with faith in God, the challenges of the poverty of those early days. Talented not only in teaching, she was very artistic and was asked to help the Sisters who were teaching to decorate their classrooms. She took art and business lessons from the B.V.M. Sisters at St Pius School who lived a few blocks from St. Vitus. She always gave a hand at the St. Vitus Parish entertainments and was someone to go to if help was needed.

Day 286: November 13, 2020

Bartek, Sister Marie (Sister Colettine)     b. 6/21/1914     d. 11/14/1981 (Niece of Sister Coletta, Cousin of Sisters Immaculate, Alma and Annunciata)
Sister Marie was always jovial and had a reputation to be a gracious receptionist extending her warm welcome to all guests, as St. Benedict advises us to do. Most of her ministry years were spent in elementary school with the junior high level. She showed a great interest in her students by keeping in touch with some of them over the years. In her later years she taught fine art at Benet Academy and in the Monastery was able to showcase her art work displaying her God given talent.

Day 287: November 14, 2020

Vesely, Sister Mary Charlotte     b. 5/22/1918     d. 11/14/2008 (Fifth Prioress: 1973-1985)
Sister Mary Charlotte preferred to be called Sister instead of Mother in accord with Vatican II norm, practice followed by subsequent prioresses. She was a graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and upon entering the Monastery, she became a dynamic presence in our community. Her Kate Smith’s, contralto voice was not only beautiful, but was also the energy that supported our Benedictine Sisters’ chapel choir as long as she lived. Being a happy, friendly person, she won the hearts of everyone who got to know her. As a Sacred Heart Academy English and Music teacher and class advisor, as well as when she taught or was principal in our parish schools, she was dearly loved. When elected the fifth prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery, she initiated the renovation of the former Sacred Heart Academy building which had already been vacated in 1967 due to the merge that formed Benet Academy. It was then, in 1977, that the Academy building was duly refurbished to become the new, modernized version of Sacred Heart Monastery. Our grateful community owes Sister Mary Charlotte many thanks!

Day 288: November 15, 2020

Naudzius, Sister Mary Gertrude     b. 11/27/1916     d. 11/15/2004
Sister Mary Gertrude lost her mother at age 6. Being obliged to work, her father was unable to take care of his three children and chose to place them under the care of the Benedictine Sisters at St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Lisle. Sister’s life was happy there and she gradually developed into a responsible teenager with the Benedictine Sisters as her mentors. She admired the Sisters and decided to follow their footsteps, entering Sacred Heart Monastery at age 19. Given the name of Gertrude in the Monastery, she read the life of St. Gertrude of Helfta, a 14th century Benedictine who became her model for the rest of her life. Throughout her life in ministry, as she conscientiously taught children, or as the monastery building cleaner, which was a monumental job, she was in awe of God’s loving presence. Her prayer life went beyond the daily, community chanting of the Divine Office. She prayed the fifteen decades of the Rosary as an added conversation with Mary and her Son, Jesus. Her saintly, joyful life was an inspiration to us all and we are grateful for having had her presence among us.

Day 289: November 16, 2020

Statues of St. Benedict & St. Scholastica
The statues of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica at the front entrance

Day 290: November 17, 2020

Statues of St. Gertrude and St. Scholastica
The statues of St. Gertrude, who is...., and St. Scholastica can be seen ? in the Lobby.

Day 291: November 18, 2020

Spinler, Sister Mary Wendeline     b. 5/26/1892     d. 11/18/1978 (Oldest Sister of Sisters Adela, Rose Alice, Milburg and Bertha)
Sister Mary Wendeline came from a large Minnesota, farm family. As a Benedictine, she lived a humble, productive life usually cooking for the Sisters who were teaching in parish schools. She appreciated having been a farm girl and relished the beauty of nature and the outdoors. When the Mallard Ducklings were hatched on our rock-pond island on our monastery grounds, already in her golden years, she would watch over them and feed them with scraps of food from the table. Once as she was taking a walk on the road in the back of the kitchen, the ducklings were seen following her as if she was their mother. What a precious sight it was even though she did not know they were behind her.

Day 292: November 19, 2020

Cerveny, Sister Mary Angela     b. 9/21/1893     d. 11/19/1928
Rose Cerveny, (later given the religious name, Sister Mary Angela) came to the monastery as a little, 13 year-old, orphan girl. She looked sweet, seldom spoke but her smile made her face light up so the Sisters nick-named her Rosebud. She was eager to make vows but due to her young age she had to wait. When she told the spiritual director about her desire to make vows, he replied, “Yes, my dear, the Lord Jesus would want you to make vows, but the Lord Bishop would kick about it.” As she matured and made vows, she was given charge of the kitchen. She proved to be a good cook, was orderly, exact and virtuous. She liked to surprise the dishwashers by cleaning up after her food preparation leaving only a few pots or spoons for them to finish washing. However, in her 33rdyear, she was diagnosed with T.B. and died a tranquil death ready to meet her loving Savior.

Day 293: November 20, 2020

Lobby Painting (1/6): Sister Instructint Children
The six paintings in the Lobby are the work of Mr. Malin (Malinovich) of Chicago, who was born in Yugoslavia. He had academic training in Church decorations.
The theme of this painting was chosen to reflect our principal ministry at the time, which was teaching in parochial schools. This Benedictine tradition of teaching the young goes back to the time of St. Benedict when Maurus and Placid were taught in the monastery.
(The explanation of these paitings was obtained from Sister Electa shortly before her death. She had much to do in the choosing and the direction of these paintings.)

Day 294: November 21, 2020

Lobby Painting (2/6): Madonna and Child
The six paintings in the Lobby are the work of Mr. Malin (Malinovich) of Chicago, who was born in Yugoslavia. He had academic training in Church decorations.
The Infant has always been deeply venerated by the Czechs. (Czech Sisters are the founders of our convent.) The Infant's face is that of an adult. This was the ancient mystic way of depicting the wisdom of an adult.
(The explanation of these paitings was obtained from Sister Electa shortly before her death. She had much to do in the choosing and the direction of these paintings.)

Day 295: November 22, 2020

Lobby Painting (3/6): The Baptism of Bozivoy
The six paintings in the Lobby are the work of Mr. Malin (Malinovich) of Chicago, who was born in Yugoslavia. He had academic training in Church decorations.
Bozivoy, the duke of Bohemia, was the husband of St. Ludmila. He is pictured here being baptized by St. Methodius. Ludmila has previously embraced Christianity.
(The explanation of these paitings was obtained from Sister Electa shortly before her death. She had much to do in the choosing and the direction of these paintings.)

Day 296: November 23, 2020

Lobby Painting (4/6): St. Wenceslaus Distributing Bread to the Needy
The six paintings in the Lobby are the work of Mr. Malin (Malinovich) of Chicago, who was born in Yugoslavia. He had academic training in Church decorations.
St. Wenceslaus is the patron of Czechoslavakia. He was the grandson of St. Ludmila. In disguise and often in the dark of night, he visited the poor of his country and alleviated their poverty by distributing break and wood. In legend, he is known as “Good King Wenceslaus.”
(The explanation of these paitings was obtained from Sister Electa shortly before her death. She had much to do in the choosing and the direction of these paintings.)

Day 297: November 24, 2020

Lobby Painting (5/6): The Sacred Heart of Jesus
The six paintings in the Lobby are the work of Mr. Malin (Malinovich) of Chicago, who was born in Yugoslavia. He had academic training in Church decorations.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus is the patron of our Community.
(The explanation of these paitings was obtained from Sister Electa shortly before her death. She had much to do in the choosing and the direction of these paintings.)

Day 298: November 25, 2020

Lobby Painting (6/6): The Last Meeting of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict
This meeting is recorded in the dialogues of St. Gregory.
(The explanation of these paitings was obtained from Sister Electa shortly before her death. She had much to do in the choosing and the direction of these paintings.)

Day 299: November 26, 2020

Vavrunek, Sister Mary Rose     b. 1/21/1884     d. 11/27/1969
Sister Mary Rose, known always as a grateful Sister, died on Thanksgiving Day in 1969. The day was appropriate as she was a model of saying “thank you” or spreading encouragement to those who found life difficult. To know her or to interact with her was to become a better person for her confidence in you was so admirable. Like so many of our pioneer Sisters, she was never discouraged with the poverty, or the seemingly hopeless future as she trusted that God was present and would always make things right. Her hope in the future was eternal life and that was something beyond any one’s imagination worth striving for.

Day 300: November 27, 2020

Stola, Sister Sharon Marie     b. 11/27
Sister Sharon Marie has been commissioned for several years now to work in the Diocese of Joliet as the head of the Office of Divine Worship and the Catechumenate. Among her many duties in this position, she is responsible to plan diocesan ceremonies and incorporate every culture and nationality represented in the diocese for active participation. Besides this commitment, she is assisting in a diocesan parish being in charge of the liturgy there as well. In Community, she is the sub prioress and is active on the monastic council. In juggling her leadership responsibilities, she maintains a tireless effort to manage each location with proficiency.
Day 301: November 28, 2020

Day 302: November 29, 2020

Brisko, Sister Mary Borgia     b. 9/13/1887     d. 11/29/1965
Sister Mary Borgia was well known as giving Sister Mary Gilbert violin and piano lessons and becoming her protégé. Truly, Sister Mary Borgia was a talented music teacher like her Prague, Czechoslovakian, ancestral musicians. Besides giving music lessons, she had many duties in the Academy. Overseeing the dining rooms was one of them as well as being the Sister who would roll out the food wagon at 3 o’clock p.m. with fresh bakery for the girls’ after classes snack. With a twinkle in her eye she stood and watched the girls devour the bakery. She knew that the girls were hungry and she enjoyed seeing the camaraderie and the conversation of excitement over the best part of the students’ day.

Day 303: November 30, 2020

Day 304: December 1, 2020

Sedlacek, Sister Mary Beatrice     b. 11/2/1887     d. 12/1/1964
Sister Mary Beatrice was one of the early pioneers about whom an early history had not been written. Later, Sister Martina, who had worked with her in the orphanage was asked to compile memories of her. Sister Martina wrote that when Sister Mary Beatrice had the ritual service of her first vows, she dutifully returned immediately to St. Procopius College kitchen after her ceremony was over since there was no substitute to replace her. Later, most of Sister Mary Beatrice’s work was at St. Joseph’s Orphanage where she took care of pre-school children. She was described as a short, joyful Sister who had a lot of patience and was very devoted to the little children in her care.

Day 305: December 2, 2020

Jindrich, Sister Mary Florence     b. 4/25/1913     d. 12/1/1993
Sister Mary Florence had a zest for life, loved music, had a lovely, trained, soprano voice and was able to praise God while leading the Sisters as a cantor for most of her life at Divine Office or Mass. She particularly loved to sing Gregorian chant, but out of chapel, was ready to sing any popular tune at the spur of the moment. Many of her favorite years of service were spent as a freshman advisor and English teacher (she loved Shakespeare) at Sacred Heart Academy but she also enjoyed teaching on the elementary level. She gave herself wholeheartedly to teaching and developed projects that kept her students highly motivated.

Day 306: December 3, 2020

Day 307: December 4, 2020

Kacmarek, Sister Mary Martha     b. 12/4
Sister Mary Martha is the newest member of the Byzantine Benedictine Sisters in Warren, Ohio. She was born in Chicago and was baptized and chrismated (confirmed) at St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Chicago. Her pastor, Father Bereczky, invited the Sisters of St. Basil the Great from Uniontown, PA to open a parochial school at the parish. The Sisters also moderated the Sodality of Our Lady for young ladies at the parish, and it is there that Sr. Mary Martha had contact with these Sisters. After graduating from college, she entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great. However, health issues prevented her from staying. By 1966, she regained her health, resumed her interest in pursuing religious life, and joined the new Byzantine Benedictine Community being formed in Warren. There, she continued teaching math on all levels, gave piano lessons, and visited the sick parishioners. Presently, she monitors the community finances and faithfully follows the Rule of St. Benedict with gratitude.

Day 308: December 5, 2020

Day 309: December 6, 2020

Day 310: December 7, 2020

Day 311: December 8, 2020

Francl, Sister Mary Generosa     b. 9/10/1918     d. 12/8/2008 (Sister of Sister Marie Therese-- a.k.a. Sister Innocencia)
Sister Mary Generosa was a journalist with a Masters’ Degree in English. With her background, she was able to teach English at Sacred Heart College in Alabama as well as at our local Benedictine University, having already taught in our elementary schools, and having been principal of Sacred Heart Academy. Thanks to her, she was instrumental in starting our Lisle Benedictine Women magazine which still continues to be published today. She spent her later years as a librarian at St. James and St. Scholastica Schools. Her special dedication to the Blessed Mother inspired her to share her devotion to Mary by corresponding with devotees in other parts of our country.

Day 312: December 9, 2020

Day 313: December 10, 2020

Day 314: December 11, 2020

Koliha, Sister Mary Lioba     b. 1/6/1884     d. 12/11/1959


Sister Mary Lioba was a highly respected Sister expressly for the wisdom she shared which was unique and trustworthy. As a principal she gave the Sisters, who were teaching with her, encouragement and reminded them of their Christian responsibility to make character formation in their classes a priority. She inspired the students to a higher sphere of thinking; already being ahead of her times. Bishop Grutka gave her high praise for being instrumental in inspiring him in his vocation to the priesthood with her deep-seated wisdom. Besides teaching, Sister was an artist being known for her liturgical symbols and for sewing these designs on the priests’ vestments.

Day 315: December 12, 2020

Day 316: December 13, 2020

Day 317: December 14, 2020

Lesak, Sister Mary Rosalia     b. 9/2/1904     d. 12/14/1991
Native of Czechoslovakia, Sister Mary Rosalia came to the U.S. as a teenager. In her early twenties she joined our Benedictine community after having worked for an American family who embraced her for her cheerful manner and outgoing personality. In Community she was exceedingly active with an attitude to accomplish her mission. She served as a sacristan, cooked in the kitchens of our parish convents (always honored for her extra-special, light and fluffy dumplings), baked altar breads and prepared them for shipping to parishes and last of all, baked over a 100 Lamb Cakes for Easter every year, which were shared not only with the Sisters, but with the Alumnae, the Abbey Monks and the Oblates who served the Benedictine Chinese Missions.

Day 318: December 15, 2020

Kallus, Sister Josephine (Sister of Sisters Andrea, Angelica, Mary Agnes and Virginia)     b. 12/15
As a former hairdresser, Sister Josephine takes pride in keeping the beauty shop in order and when needed, still likes to be called to set a Sister’s hair. She enjoys using her culinary skill as well to cut up fruit and present an attractive platter to the delight of the Sisters. Always an early bird, she is known to be at Divine Office and Mass way before time and is seen engaged in serene prayer; basking in the presence of the Lord. On her monastery floor, she works on puzzles and participated in the Villa St. Benedict activities.

Day 319: December 16, 2020

Lenoch, Sister Magdalene     b. 2/17/1872     d. 12/15/1928
Sister Magdalene was tall, slender, reserved and calm; reflective of her beautiful, prayerful soul. She enjoyed working in the St. Procopius College kitchen, at St. Joseph’s Orphanage kitchen as well as helping the Novice Mistress at the Monastery. During recreation she was known to inspire the Sisters by relating stories about the lives of the saints or talking about other edifying topics related to her beloved Bohemia. Being a model of practicing the virtues of the Holy Rule, it was said that if the Rule of St. Benedict were ever lost, it could be rewritten from observing Sister’s conduct.

Day 320: December 17, 2020

Trefny, Sister Mary Celestine     b. 5/1/1887     d. 12/18/1959
Sister Mary Celestine was a prized seamstress sewing the children’s clothes at St. Joseph’s Orphanage. She was very neat about everything she did and taught the orphans to be the same. During her supervision hours of the orphans at play, she maintained a jolly disposition and angelic patience. Like St. John Bosco, she excused the children’s shenanigans except if they were hurtful to themselves or others; then only she would step in. In her golden years at the Monastery she worked with the fruits and vegetables grown on our farm preparing them for canning or serving for meals, The Sisters found out later that the day she died, her own brother died as well exactly on the same day. Their eternal joy must have been doubly blessed.

Day 321: December 18, 2020

Jasurda, Sister Benita     b. 7/11/1928     d. 12/18/2018
Sister Benita was an amazing person who brought joy and laughter into her daily ministry. Why would she? Well, because she knew that JESUS was JOY and that was who she wanted to be like. Thus, she chose monastic living which was dear to her heart. Born on the feast of St. Benedict and named for St. Benedict she was linked to Benedictine prayer forms: the Divine Office, Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer. Actually, she was the contact person for the local Contemplative Prayer Outreach which included facilitating weekly Centering Prayer meetings at the monastery. She was the first woman president of the Rotary Club, the first woman campus minister at Benedictine University, Sub-Prioress at the monastery and was in charge of the formation of the Oblate Program for lay members who wanted to live the Benedictine values. Her goal in life was to live in the present moment and above all, trust in God.

Day 322: December 19, 2020

Day 323: December 20, 2020

Pavlik, Sister Barbara     b. 12/20
Sister Barbara treasures her family upbringing in the Byzantine Catholic Church which is steeped in the tradition of feasting and fasting. In her beginnings with the Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery in Lisle, she developed a community spirit of Prayer and Work: “Ora et Labora”. Now, as a Benedictine Sister, she is able to continue to create a quiet space within her heart to hear God’s calling in the prayer and work form of the Eastern Rite Catholic Church. Living in a small community she has served in every possible role: in education, administration, clerical and book keeping work, catechetical training and is now the administrator of Queen of Heaven Monastery as well as the Catechetical coordinator of SS. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church in Warren, Ohio. She has even authored a religion education book series called: God with Us which is used in Byzantine parishes. She is very happy to be where she knows God wants her to be.

Day 324: December 21, 2020

Polhorsky, Sister Leocadia     b. 8/13/1893     d. 12/23/1917
Sister Leocadia had a fervent desire to become a vowed Benedictine, but was a sickly person. She had been an orphan at St. Joseph’s Orphanage and wanted to continue being with the Sisters. She tried hard to follow the schedule of the monastery. She did not like to talk about her health because she was afraid she would not be allowed to make vows. However, when her diagnosis of Asthma became serious, she affirmed with gratitude the love the sisters gave her and fortified with the sacraments, died at age 24.

Day 325: December 22, 2020

Suk, Sister Mary Vaclava     b. 4/22/1887     d. 12/23/1955
Sister Mary Vaclava was childlike and petite and had a satisfied spirit with everything she was told to do. Most of her days were spent working at St. Procopius College kitchen but she was ready to go wherever. Having come from Bohemia, she had a special, fervent devotion to the Infant of Prague and was a meditative soul. Though she frequently suffered from Asthma attacks, she was very patient and long-suffering.

Day 326: December 23, 2020

Spinler, Sister Mary Adella     b. 7/5/1899     d. 12/23/1982 (Sister of Sisters Milburg, Bertha, Rose Alice, and Wendeline)
Sister Mary Adella started out teaching in our elementary schools but soon became hearing impaired and had to discontinue. Being a practical, humble, hard-working person she was happy to return to gardening, managing our large laundry and raising poultry on the farm; duties she was used to when growing up on their Minnesota farm. She was such a dear soul who kept up with her daily horarium of prayer and was very helpful and willing to introduce the young Sisters to her outdoor work which she managed so conscientiously. Her expertise and kindness were so appreciated.

Day 327: December 24, 2020

Day 328: December 25, 2020

Schafer, Sister Hermenegilde     b. 2/20/1900     d. 12/25/1995
Sister Hermenegilde, along with Sisters Electa and Norbeta left their native homeland of Moravia, Czechoslovakia, inspired by Abbot Procopius Neuzil, OSB, from our local Abbey, to further the cause of Christ. The three immigrants were going to be formed in Lisle to be missionaries in Russia as Communism had taken over and religion could no longer be practiced there. However, the overthrow of Communism was not forthcoming and the three Sisters were soon enveloped into the mainstream of community living. After having professed their vows of Obedience, Stability and Conversion of Morals Sister Hermenegilde, being a seamstress of quality, became the community seamstress needed to sew the Sisters’ habits who numbered over a hundred. Though she served as Novice Mistress for several years as well, she was highly motivated and capable of self-educating herself in every role she played.

Day 329: December 26, 2020

Brejka, Sister Marie DeLourdes     b. 10/27/1902     d. 12/27/1995
How could anyone forget Sister Marie De Lourdes who was a born actress? Well, she loved to dress up as some character she invented and entertain us with her quirky, imaginative and very funny performances that filled our special days with hilarity. Normally, however, she was thoughtful and serious known for her secretarial work, her teaching in commercial school, well versed in teaching speech and drama at Sacred Heart Academy and for her hobby which was to collect angel figurines symbolically giving them charge of families, students, the poor and neglected, the elderly and children. These collectables were used to remind her to sing Psalm 148/ “Praise God, all ye Angels, Praise God all creation” as she enjoyed life.

Day 330: December 27, 2020

Choi, Sister Johanna     b. 12/27
Our little, Korean Sister, Sister Johanna, was happy to become a United States citizen a few years ago. In her growing-up years, she experienced the horrors of living during the Korean War. However, through the boundless mercy of God she was led to our Sacred Heart Monastery in 1999, and is happy to be here. Now, with her natural talent in music, she tirelessly and delightfully prepares the daily basics of our Liturgy, uses her beautiful voice to cantor and is always mindful of St. Benedict’s prayerful instruction: “Let nothing be preferred to the work of God;” a message that is central to the life of a Benedictine Sister.

Day 331: December 28, 2020

Pallus, Sister Mary Mechtilde     b. 7/3/1873     d. 12/29/1946
Sister Mary Mechtilde was diligent as she worked in food and cleaning services in our parish convents or in the Orphanage. She was satisfied with the poverty of the early days when there was so much scarcity of money and food. With her devotion to her Benedictine patron, Saint Mechtilde, whose life reminded her to stay cheerful and to love everyone and be grateful, made her someone to admire. Her final days were offered to God with love and much patient suffering as she died due to cancer of the esophagus.

Day 332: December 29, 2020

Harvanek, Sister Mary Agatha     b. 7/15/1895     d. 12/29/1977 (Sister of Sisters Raymond, Cecilia, Xaveria and Innocencia)
Sister Mary Agatha had a long and fruitful ministry. She taught for 33 years in our elementary, parish schools and was principal for 22 years. She believed in having well-ordered discipline in the classroom and was very helpful to the young Sisters who were coming in as first-year teachers. She spent time with them to help organize their lesson plans and provide them with practical procedures in classroom management. She was single-minded and cheerful in her purpose of serving God and in her ministry wanted to be friends with everyone even with those who thought she was too strict.

Day 333: December 30, 2020

Day 334: December 31, 2020

Konopa, Sister Mary Eupharsia     b. 10/18/1896     d. 12/31     d. 1952 (Sister of Sisters Juliana and Colomba)
Sister Mary Euphrasia had a pleasant disposition and was very approachable. She applied herself dutifully as she loved teaching children. Being an artist, she was able to assist the other classroom Sisters who were teachers with their art projects or classroom decorations. Her last year of teaching was interrupted during the Christmas vacation as she died suddenly leaving an empty space in our hearts as well as in the hearts of the children she taught.

Day 335: January 1, 2020

Charouz, Sister M. Petronila     b. 10/17/1986     d. 1/1/1931
Sister Petronila was known as a very charitable person as she dedicated herself to kitchen work at St. Procopius College in Lisle. She spent her later years in Joliet at SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish Convent cooking for the Sisters who were teaching in the school and was most appreciated and loved by the Sisters.

Day 336: January 2, 2020

Fucik, Sister Mary Florentine     b. 12/22/1881     d. 1/3/1973


Sister Mary Florentine was a model Benedictine. She was a steadfast worker, strong in her convictions, honest in her expressions and loving to both her family and religious community.

Day 337: January 3, 2020

Knakal, Sister Mary Roberta     b. 10/10/1930     d. 1/3/2010
Sister Mary Roberta is fondly remembered for her purity; there was no duplicity in her mind or heart. Her daily devotion to playing the organ, three times a day and year after year for community liturgical services was a self-giving virtue. Expanding on her music and math talents, she meticulously composed chants and antiphons that are still in use today. What a wonderful legacy of love and inspiration she left for all of us.

Day 338: January 4, 2020

Bebb, Sister Margaret Bebb     b. 10/30/ 1926     d. 1/4/2013
Sister Margaret Bebb was drawn to the Catholic Church while studying music in Paris. On her return to Texas she became friends with our Benedictine Sisters in Wichita Falls which led to her becoming the Queen of Peace Parish Choir Director and organist there. After visiting our Benedictine Monastery in Lisle, she decided to give up her prestigious, music accomplishments with the church choir and her students to become a Benedictine in Lisle. What a blessing she was to Sacred Heart Monastery.

Day 339: January 5, 2020

Harvanek, Sister M. Innocencia     b. 8/31/1902     d. 1/4/1918
Sister Innocencia was a sixteen-year-old candidate to monastic life who suffered from tuberculosis. Since she was sincere in her desire to remain in the Monastery and desiring to serve Christ as a Benedictine she was clothed with the religious garb on her deathbed. Thus, she died as an innocent child but a professed Benedictine as well. In her dying statement she said her first words in arriving in Heaven would be: “Praised be to Jesus Christ.”

Day 340: January 6, 2020

Bunda, Sister Mary Otilia     b. 4/6/1885     d. 1/4/1962
Sister Mary Otilia was a Benedictine pioneer beginning her teaching mission at St. Vitus in Chicago. She loved children and later was sent to care for the Orphans at St. Joseph Orphanage in Lisle. She was a quiet person, practiced silence with reverence but liked to listen to the Sisters tell their stories at recreation. She was known to have worked diligently for the glory of God.

Day 341: January 7, 2020

Konopa, Sister Mary Juliana     b. 8/27/1918     d. 1/4/1965
We remember Sister Mary Juliana as a Home Economics Teacher at Sacred Heart Academy. Sister had a caring approachable style and was always willing to assist the girls in their sewing projects or their food preparations. Above all, the Sisters appreciated her as well, as she had a solid, loving, generous personality and often shared her cooking and sewing tips with those who needed help.

Day 342: January 8, 2020

Duleba, Sister Mary Constantia     b. 9/13/1900     d. 1/6/1968
Sister Mary Constantia had a spirit of perpetual youth and loved teaching children. She had a deep compassion for challenged learners and devoted more time in helping them. As the principal at St. Joseph School in Chicago for many years, she valued the lives of children; their spontaneity, and their desire to be respected. The students and especially the Sisters who lived with her delighted in her kind, servant leadership.

Day 343: January 9, 2020

Vrba, Sister Mary Casimir     b. 1/12/1894     d. 1/6/1993
Sister Mary Casimir was a universal soul who lived in simplicity, full of joy, hope and loving service. Living at the Monastery all of her monastic life, she performed a vast variety of duties such as vegetable gardening, upholstering furniture, painting wherever needed and much more. Her saintly life of prayer continued to be fervent including her 99th year as she set aside everything else to be present in chapel for all the liturgical services.

Day 344: January 10, 2020

Sipek, Sister M. Ludwina     b. 8/19/1886     d. 1/10/1944
Sister Ludwina was an immigrant from Moravia as were several other Sisters in our community. For most of her years in the monastery, she skillfully directed the kitchen staff to cook the meals for the sisters and also the meals for the girls in the early years of Sacred Heart Academy. Though appearing shy and retiring, she enjoyed a good joke and would chuckle until tears ran down her cheeks. In spite of her kitchen responsibility, she would always be punctual for prayer.

Day 345: January 11, 2020

Day 346: January 12, 2020

Day 347: January 13, 2020

Day 348: January 14, 2020

Bratrsovsky, Sister Mary     b. 1/14 (Eigth Prioress: 2011-Present)
On January 1944, MaryB was born and the world was never the same and will never be the same. Sister Mary, our prioress, manifests all the qualities of servant leadership. Her approach is to develop a loving community by reaching out to every Sister and understanding her personal gifts and needs. She not only visits the sick at home but visits the sick from Villa St. Benedict regularly. Every day she inspires us with a meditation related to Scripture or the Rule of St. Benedict and is ever aware of our Ora et Labora environment: Prayer and Work. Her love of God’s earth is evidenced in her tending to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes; grooming it by uprooting the weeds and beautifying it with flowers.

Day 349: January 15, 2020

Day 350: January 16, 2020

Koliha, Sister M. De Sales     b. 3/22/1896     d. 1/17/1923 (Sister of Sister Mary Lioba)
Sister DeSales displayed a beautiful disposition by loving both her vocation and her teaching mission. However, with the symptoms and progression of tuberculosis, her health rapidly declined and she died at the age of 26.

Day 351: January 17, 2020

Francl, Sister Maria Theresa (a.k.a. Sister Innocencia)     b. 10/4/1910     d. 1/17/1968 (Sister of Sister Mary Generosa)
Sister Maria Theresa overflowed with self-giving qualities and was a constant source of edification being committed to the Benedictine motto: “That in all things, God may be glorified ”. As a principal in a school and as a local superior she was a servant leader. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she left her mission post at the parish school but was determined to participate wholeheartedly in the Liturgy of the Hours at the Monastery living up to the saintly innocence of her name.

Day 352: January 18, 2020

Dzurko, Sister Ann Lucille (a.k.a. Sister Modesta)     b. 11/21/1913     d. 1/17/2006
Sister Ann Lucille carefully applied her organizational skills in her teaching which helped her students learn responsibility and make good choices. She imparted deep devotion to God as well reminding the children about God’s loving presence. The motto: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” was the pattern of her life.

Day 353: January 19, 2020

Tesar, Sister Mary Alberta     b. 3/2/1920     d. 1/18/1983
Sister Mary Alberta listened well, as Benedict instructs us to do in his Rule, and was always ready to help at a minutes notice. She enjoyed the simple things of everyday living. Her high school students remembered her as a happy, endearing teacher. As she grew older, cancer dealt her a blow but she remained patient, never complained, giving a smile to all who visited her in her suffering.

Day 354: January 20, 2020

Felong, Sister Mary Crescencia     b. 4/23/1896     d. 1/20/1980
Being a committed person to the Community and to her teaching role, Sister Mary Crescencia had a sweet smile and quick sense of humor but she could also show her outright strength. A story is told of her ability to control a challenging 8th grade class of boys. In her Benedictine habit, she simply rolled up her sleeves in front of the boys and said: “I’m from Chicago, I can handle all of you, ” and she did.

Day 355: January 21, 2020

Day 356: January 22, 2020

Day 357: January 23, 2020

Wagner, Sister Mary Raphael     b. 9/10/1896     d. 1/23/1990
Sister Mary Raphael gave herself with her whole heart and mind to the service of God and to her Benedictine Community. She was a gentle woman and with love brought out the best in each Sister who taught in the schools where she was principal and she treated the children with the same love as well. Due to her open mindedness, she created a high, morale climate in the parish schools.

Day 358: January 24, 2020

Day 359: January 25, 2020

Novak, Sister Mary Coletta     b. 1/7/1893     d. 1/25/1972 (Related to Sisters Immaculata, Annunciata, Alma, and Mary Bratrsovsky and Marie Bartek)
Sister Mary Coletta had a large stature as well as an enormous, work-load stature that extended from the vegetable garden to the apple orchard to the bee hives to the book-bindery and onward. Having a close relationship with the make-up of her work properties. for example, she could name every apple tree’s location by heart without being present in the orchard. She was always busy but the happiest when she was the busiest.

Day 360: January 26, 2020

Day 361: January 27, 2020

Burianek, Sister Mary Anna     b. 12/21/1882     d. 1/27/1950
Sister Mary Anna developed a love for nature from living on the farm and marveled at the unfolding of each new season. She applied this same awe in developing personalities of the children she worked with at St. Joseph Orphanage. In making donuts one day, the children were told not to eat the donuts, however, when they were finished she told them they could eat the donut holes because of their good work. How awed Sister was to see the natural goodness of children as they grew and blossomed before her eyes.

Day 362: January 28, 2020

Konopa, Sister Mary Columba     b. 4/10/1900     d. 1/28/1991 (Sister of Sisters Mary Juliana and Euphrasia)
Sister Mary Columba had a genuine sensitivity in relationship to the Sisters and Students. Her clever, humorous remarks and her positive graciousness made her an attractive person; a delight to be with, work with and learn from. These qualities emanated from her dedication to prayer and her consciousness in centering her life on the love of God and love of neighbor.

Day 363: January 29, 2020

Gorecky, Sister Meinrada     b. 10/27/1904     d. 1/29/2003 (Sister of Sister Mary Ann, a.k.a. Sister Gonzaga)
Sister Meinrada was born in Czechoslovakia which had a natural connection for her in joining our Czech Community. In the monastery and on mission in parish schools, she was a bundle of joy, a good sport and served to provide good humor for the Sisters. She was a good cook and made sure she would always taste the food before she served it. Like Mary and Martha in the Gospel, her hope was to practice living the Beatitudes.

Day 364: January 30, 2020

Day 365: January 31, 2020

Day 366: February 1, 2020

Obrtlik, Sister M. Angela     b. 9/29/1908     d. 2/1/1945
Sister Angela was one of the first students at Sacred Heart Academy. Having learned about the Benedictine Life during that time, she was ready to enter the Monastery right after High School. Though her health was not good, she came alive when she was teaching, especially when she taught the middle-school girls at Sacred Heart Academy. Her health declined, however, and she died quite suddenly at age 36.

St. Vincent’s Archabbey in LaTrobe, PA 1846

Abbot Boniface Wimmer

Abbot Nepomucene

Started at St. Procopius in Chicago

St. Walburga

St. Procopius Academy, College, and Abbey

St. Procopius Academy, College and Abbey. 1902 Benedictine Sisters worked in the college.

Sacred Heart Monastery in the 1920s

Sisters purchased land in Lisle in 1905. Opened Sacred Heart Monastery 1912.

Sacred Heart Monastery

Fresco of St. Benedict & St. Scholastica

Last Conversation Print

Bratrsovsky Clan

Path to Maticka
In the wooded area behind the cemetery and across the creek, this path led to “Maticka” (Mary’s shrine)

Solemn Blessing Cemetery
Solemn Blessing Cemetery 1920
Statue & Momnument 1922

Cemetery 1980s

Cemetery 2007

Cemetery Head Stones

Foundress Prioress Cemetry

Mother Genevieve Grave

Mother Aemilia Grave

Guadrian Angel

Sunken Garden Flowers

Sunken Garden 2009

Sunken Garden

Rock Garden East
No Windows on porches

Grotto Weeding
A labor of love

Grotto Arch South



Maple Road 1972
Article Date and photo copyright


Ground Breaking 2003

Road Cemetery Bob
Good bye to Rob’s house – 2002

Aerial View 1980

Sacred Heart Monastery/Villa St Benedict
southwest corner

OSB Medal

Listen with the ear of your heart

The Archives Space
The Archives room prior to the 2004 remodeling.

A Rendering by Dupage-County of Villa St. Benedict-Benedale
Benedate, a contining care retirement Community -Villa St. Benedic. The Hallmark is the Hospitaltity, Stewardship, Respect & Justice.

Gift Shop

Peace & Justice Ministry
Dupage Pads & Years & where

Peace & Justice Ministry
Pax Christi

New Car April 12, 1934
$600 was allocated for the purchase of a new car. Sisters Augustine and Editha with Nick Lubovitch

Brother & Sister Relationships
18 familes

The Spinler Sisters

The Bratrsovsky Sisters

The Gorecky Sisters

The Kallus Sisters
From Tx

Community Picture 1999
In front of the old SHM entrance facing the sunken gardens

Monastic Institute 1980
This Monastic Institute was held at St. Procopius Abbey on June 22-July 11, 1980. In this picture, the Sisters and the Monks are Listening to a conference given by Archbishop Rembert Weakland.

Sewing Room

Teaching Ministry
Sister Patricia

Teaching Ministry
Sister Rosalie

Teaching Ministry
Sister Loretta

Teaching Ministry
Sisters Carolyn and Patricia

Teaching Ministry
Sister Joan Marie

Taize Prayer
Rename File

Altar Bread Ministry
In 1994, the sisters produced 40,000 hosts/day working Monday thru Friday serving 85 parishes.

Music Ministry
Conservatory & Performance

Academy Gym Class 1930-1967?

Rosary Time with Sister Rosalie
On the west porch? faithful until recently...

Recreation Time
Playing Cards

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