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

Day 182: August 1, 2020

Kouba, Sister Christine     b. 8/1
Sister Christine is a patient, peaceful presence in our community. She treasures Lectio Divina, which is time set apart for prayerful, scripture reading with meditation. On Saturdays, she shares Lectio by using the Sunday Gospel with the International Sister-Students. As a nurse, she follows St. Benedict’s advice that the greatest care should be given to the sick. Being able to understand the Spanish of the Mass, she worships regularly with a Hispanic parish. She admires how faith in God is visibly close to the hearts of these parishioners and how warm their hospitality is, making real their cultural quote, “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 through the years Sister Carolyn Marie lost track of her whereabouts. Sister prayed fervently that she would be reunited with her younger 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 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 was dearly loved by the Sisters. Five years went by when she contracted TB 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

Sacred Heart Academy —Entrance
This magnificent building of Sacred Heart Academy, completed in 1929, is a model of the rock-solid construction of those days undertaken during the depression years, significantly completed due to the Sisters’ act of faith. According to our historical files, an interesting advertisement announcing the grand opening of the Academy was printed in the Czech Catholic newspaper called “Kalendar Katolik” which reads as follows:
“Under the administration of the Venerable Sisters of the Order of St Benedict, Lisle, Illinois gives for the girls of Czech Catholic parents a four-year normal and preparatory college course: two years commercial course, private teaching in music, singing, art on canvas and porcelain, embroidery, sewing of dresses, cooking and housekeeping. Besides English language, Latin, French, Spanish are taught. Greatest attention is given to Czech, our mother tongue. Easy payment conditions, right place for your daughter. The institution is located in a healthy, romantic country twenty-five miles west of Chicago. Excellent automobile and railroad connection. For particulars write to Sacred Heart Academy, Benedictine Sisters, Lisle Illinois.”

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 a sacristan as well for 44 years, the ministry she put her heart and soul into. She was conscientiously careful about preparing the vessels of the altar for the Eucharistic Celebration and reverently kept 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

Sacred Heart Academy—Lobby
On entering the lobby at Sacred Heart Academy for the first time, your daughter coming in as a student will be fully enamored by the elaborate beauty of the marble staircase, the colorful paintings depicting the saints connected to the personal history of the Benedictine Sisters, and of course, the welcoming spirit of some of the Benedictine Sisters.

Day 188: August 7, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Principals
Through the years, five Sisters were assigned to the principalship of Sacred Heart Academy (left to right, top row first).
1.     1926-1934 Sister Mary Scholastica Jan, OSB, had the responsibility in 1926 to put the project of starting an academy to a test with 25 girls in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years of high school. She had five Sisters as teachers working with her who carefully planned a departmental educational system adopted for the school. Before the Academy was ready in 1929, the students lived along with the Sisters in the Monastery. Sister Mary Scholastica was principal for 9 years and served again from 1961-1962.
2.     1935-1945 Sister Mary Aemilia Shonka, OSB, was principal for 10 years.
3.     1946-1960 Sister Mary Immaculate Bratrsovsky, OSB, was principal for 15 years.
4.     1961-1962 Sister Mary Scholastica Jan, OSB, was principal for 2 more years.
5.     1963-1964 Sister Rosemary Tabak ,served as principal for 2 years.
6.     1965-1966 Sister Mary Generosa Francl, OSB, served as a transitional principal in 1967, since the SHA students were incorporated with the former St. Procopius Academy students to form the new Catholic, co-educational high school, Benet Academy.

Day 189: August 8, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Teachers
Some of the wonderful and dedicated teachers who taught at Sacred Heart Academy (left to right, top row first)/
1.     Sister Mary Dolores Janota, OSB, (a.k.a. Sister Dolorosa) taught the sciences.
2.     Sister Marie DeLourdes Brejcha, OSB, taught drama and the commercial subjects.
3.     Sister Mary Editha Jindrich, OSB, taught history, chemisty, and Czech.
4.     Sister Mary Electa Omasta, OSB, taught piano, organ, voice and art.
5.     Sister Mary Laurencia Bancak, OSB, (a.k.a. Sister Laurene) taught Spanish, Latin, and religion.

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

Moravec, 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 as an accountant at the Naperville ENT office which brought her in touch with 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, our Divine Office, as St. Benedict teaches us to do.

Day 192: August 11, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Teachers
More of the wonderful and dedicated teachers who taught at Sacred Heart Academy (left to right, top row first).
1.     Sister Mary Florence Jindrich, OSB, was a homeroom teacher and taught religion and English.
2.     Sister Mary Charlotte Vesely, OSB, was a homeroom teacher and taught religion and English.
3.     Sister Mary Alma Bratrsovsky, OSB, was the secretary to the principal and taught geometry.
4.     Sister Mary Celine Laketek, OSB, was a homeroom teacher and taught religion and biology.

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 the request of Abbot Neuzil, who came to Czechoslovakia from St. Procopius Abbey to preach a mission as well as to recruit young Catholics 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 later giving care to senior citizens at St. Benedicts Home.

Day 194: August 13, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Alumnae Newsletter
“THE ECHO” was the former title for Sacred Heart Academy’s newspaper. Now it has been adopted to become the newsletter for SHA alumnae. We are especially featuring it here to alert the Alumnae who have not been receiving “THE ECHO” or invitations to SHA’s Homecoming to contact Beth Hemzacek at our Development Office at (630)-725-6013 or at ehemzacek@shmlisle.org

Day 195: August 14, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Teachers
More of the wonderful and dedicated teachers who taught at Sacred Heart Academy (left to right, top row first).
1.     Sister Agnes Ann Svec, OSB, (a.k.a. Sister Salome) taught physiology, biology, and was the registered nurse.
2.     Sister Mary Borgia Brisko, OSB, taught piano and violin as well as being in charge of the student dining rooms.
3.     Sister Mary De Sales Frana, OSB, taught Latin and was the librarian.
4.     Sister Mary Juliana Konopa, OSB, taught home economics.

Day 196: August 15, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Teachers
Some more of the wonderful and dedicated teachers who taught at Sacred Heart Academy (left to right, top row first).
1.     Sister Maria Renata Denissoff, OSB, taught religion and French.
2.     Sister Mary Alberta Tesar, OSB, was a homeroom teacher and taught algebra.
3.     Sister Mary Regina Dubina, OSB, taught English and was the treasurer.
4.     Sister Constance Ann Prather, OSB, (a.k.a. Sister Joella) taught history, political science, and was involved in social justice issues.

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. 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. She was obviously in pain but remained joyful. Her sacrificial love is something for us to imitate.

Day 198: August 17, 2020

Sacred Heart Academy—Teachers
And last but not least, some more of the wonderful and dedicated teachers who taught at Sacred Heart Academy (left to right, top row first).
1.     Sister Margaret Bebb, OSB, (a.k.a. Sister Grace) was a music teacher and taught piano and voice.
2.     Sister Mary Roberta Knakal, OSB, taught algebra and geometry and was the organist.
3.     Sister Benita Jasurda, OSB, taught theology and did secretarial work.
4.     Sister Mary Patricia Fallon, OSB, taught English and was learning how to use the computer.

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 judgments. 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

Sacred Heart Academy Orchestra and Glee Club —May 26, 1946
Music at Sacred Heart Academy was understood as an important part of the development of the whole person. Private Lessons were given in voice, piano, organ, and the instruments of the orchestra. Choral singing was emphasized as well, and the Glee Club was enjoyed by many students. (A few more pictures of SHA Academy will appear in September.)

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 equality 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. When she became a charter member of the Congregation of St. Scholastica (later called a Federation), her view was broadened due to learning from other Benedictine communities who fostered education. Education became a high priority for her, and she began to encourage higher education for the Sisters. In 1920, she introduced the praying of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church and an important component of Benedictine monastic life. In 1926 during the depression years, she opened Sacred Heart Academy, an international boarding high school for girls. The construction of our magnificent chapel and the replica of Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto were 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 in the Academy. 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… She always tried 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 gave her great 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 or her friends with a flower blossom or two on their birthdays, and if someone she knew was sick in the hospital, she would bring them a bouquet of flowers to cheer them up.

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. She received the usual treatments and dealt with pain, but was heroically cheerful and united with God.

Day 207: August 26, 2020

Jasien, Irene     b. 8/27
Sister Irene is a gentle, serene, and graceful gem. Gifted with organizational skills and a clear vision, she is always ready to clean up and make things neat. She knows how to anticipate monastery areas that need order and rejuvenates these areas, rarely needing help. As the Villa St. Benedict’s Pastoral Care Minister, she uses her knowledge of the Gospel as well as local and world 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 in their apartments to bring them the encouragement of God’s presence.

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 as well as being in charge of our employees. 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, always alert to whatever is needed. She is responsible to provide the necessary guidance as well as the equipment and supplies needed by our international Sister-Students for their education, either at Benedictine University or the College of DuPage. She is generous with her time and provisions and is always ready to help us with our technological devices.

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 she brought her organ with her as the Sisters did not yet have one. Along with teaching, she was willing to do even the most menial work. During the flu 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 and humble with the capacity to enjoy 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. Her work was always done so that God may be glorified.

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 then spent two years in teaching. Since she had not yet professed her perpetual vows, she was going to be sent home due to her gradual, failing health. 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 and was diagnosed with possible brain tumors. She 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. 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.

Back to the Top, Back to the Celebrating 125 Years Page or Back to Home Page