Celebrating 125 Years of Lisle Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery
Day 29: March 1, 2020
In 1947, Pope Pius XII wrote an Encyclical Fulgens Radiatur which states: “Like a star in the darkness of night,” Benedict of Norcia brilliantly shines; a glory not only to Italy but of the whole Church. Whoever considers his celebrated life and studies in the light of the truth of history, the gloomy and stormy times in which he lived, will without doubt realize the truth of the divine promise which Christ made to the Apostles and to the society he founded: “I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.”
Day 30: March 2, 2020
In Benedict’s lifetime, history tells us he established 12 monasteries with 12 men in each. Murals on our chapel walls has Benedict commissioning St. Maurus and St. Placid to go to Gaul and Sicily.
Day 31: March 3, 2020
Viktora, Sister Mary Estella b. 8/23/1896 d. 3/3/1974
Sister Mary Estella was proud of her two brothers who were Benedictine priests at St. Procopius Abbey, Father Constantine and Father Claude. From early on, Sister was assigned to teach in many of our elementary schools, however, her greatest love was working on art projects, especially still life poses and giving private music lessons. Being a gifted musician, her musical talents coincided with a temperament of a true musician.
Day 32: March 4, 2020
Dvorak, Sister Mary Henrietta b. 7/15/1882 d. 3/4/1974
Sister Mary Henrietta’s life was dedicated to teaching. Youngsters in the primary grades were her great love and to them she devoted over fifty years in the Benedictine Sisters’ parochial schools. In the Monastery, she soon became a loving presence. She remained faithful to prayer and enjoyed the activities in the Occupational Therapy Department. She had an attitude of gratitude for every favor no matter how small. Her last words to Sister Casimir who was at her bedside before she died were: “God bless you, Sister, for helping me. I love you all.”
Day 33: March 5, 2020
The Taylor Street
Mother Nepomucene Jaeger, Sister Zita Matous and Sister Mary Benedicta lived in this house for the first few weeks with two lay women before moving to the recently purchased old St. Pius School on 18th
Place in Chicago near St. Vitus Parish.
Day 34: March 6, 2020
Jensik, Sister Lois Jean b. 3/6
Sister Lois Jean is a well-read person and with her clear and confident voice, she loves to tell true-to-life stories. Her story source can be anything from the book series of “Chicken Soup” or an item from the Daily News or even funny stories from her own experiences. In leading prayer at Divine Office or when reading the Word of God at Mass, her presentation is always pleasing to our ears. Her treasured TV program is “Jeopardy” where she tries to compete with the participants in answering questions and will then happily report the results of it to us at mealtime.
Day 35: March 7, 2020
Pekarcik, Sister Mary Isidore b. 12/8/1889 d. 3/7/1981
Sister Mary Isidore was born in Hungary and when she came to the U.S. was attracted to our Benedictine Community. As a Sister, she served as a housekeeper in almost every mission house, cooking and cleaning for the Sisters who were teaching. In her loving, unassuming way, she won the hearts of everyone. Before her eyesight failed, she was an avid reader and took pride in informing the Sisters on current events.
Day 36: March 8, 2020
Novak, Sister Mary Benedicta b. 1/25/1882 d. 3/8/1968
Sister Mary Benedicta came from Czechoslovakia and was gratefully directed to our Czech community. Being robust in health and good will, she holds the record, of being present for fifty-three years in the classroom without being absent even for one day. However, her most shining and admirable record was that if anyone spoke negatively about anyone in her presence, she would quickly change the subject as she was known for her kindness and charity.
Day 37: March 9, 2020
Neuzil, Sister Mary Justina b. 7/8/1893 d. 3/19/1962
Sister Mary Justina was a stately presence who got along with everybody. She experienced teaching in our various Benedictine schools but ended up being the Superior of St. Joseph’s Orphanage. Being a diligent observer of the Orphans’ needs, she was instrumental in getting benefactors to help improve the conditions in the Orphanage. She helped those who were old enough to leave the Orphanage to pursue their life’s calling and kept corresponding with them when they left. Her acts of kindness and her desire to keep them on the right road, following the footsteps of Jesus, was her goal.
Day 38: March 10, 2020
Haman, Sister Mary Bernadine b. 3/1/1884 d. 3/10/1955
Along with Sister Mary Bernardine, there were three other religious in her family. She had two Benedictine brothers, Father Bernard and Father Vitus plus a Franciscan Aunt, Sister Lioba. Her desire to be a good teacher made her try hard to advance herself to be updated in her teaching. During the depression years, being principal at St. Vitus, she not only provided for her own mission but also brought provisions for the residents at St. Benedict’s Home. This was an example of her thoughtfulness of others.
Day 39: March 11, 2020
Mondiak, Sister Mary Anselma b. 11/22/1898 b. 3/11/1937
Sister Mary Anselma was a good-hearted person, radiating with a smile of contentment. She served in several missions as a teacher and was very helpful. However, her poor health constantly brought her back to the Monastery for recuperation and treatment. She bore her infirmity patiently and with love was ready to go to the Lord at age 38.
Day 40: March 12, 2020
Fallon, Sister Mary Patricia b. 11/30/1926 d. 3/12/2016
Sister Mary Patricia was an Irish Lassie who was accepted to enter a predominantly Czech community. Since Czech was still the spoken language, she asked if she could study Czech and surprisingly loved it. With her engaging personality she was a proficient teacher and also a principal. When computers came out, she became a savvy computer user capable of teaching others as well. While suffering from cancer in her retirement years, she remained active. Though legally blind, she touched the lives of her family and many friends through her telephone ministry.
Day 41: March 13, 2020
Lestinsky, Sister Mary Gerarda b. 10/15/1912 d. 3/13/1992
Sister Mary Gerarda’s ministry was centered on service to her Sisters. During her time in the kitchen on the missions, she was often asked to prepare lunch for a poor child for whom she hovered over with much attention. She loved to cook and was one of the favorites in our monastery kitchen as well. Her cheerfulness and her hearty laugh when sharing a joke could be heard in the corridor and was seen by passers-by as a sign of camaraderie in the kitchen.
Day 42: March 14, 2020
Jablonsky, Sister M. Michaelene b. 11/17/1919 d. 3/13/1995
Sister Michalene would often refer to the years she served at St. Joseph’s Orphanage taking care of the infants as providing a Mother’s love. Though she taught primary grades when the Orphanage closed, she is best known for initiating the Occupational Therapy Department in the monastery for the retired Sisters. This gave the Sisters a place to go every morning to be aware of new and exciting ways of training their minds to stay alive and well. Sister also took advantage of traveling and then related stories of funny incidents to a captive audience in the O.T. Department.
Day 43: March 15, 2020
Minyo, Sister Mary Victoria b. 3/1/1908 d. 3/16/1987
Sister Mary Victoria endeared herself to students, seminarians, and priests when she was stationed in food service at St. Procopius College (St. Procopius was all male at that time). The dining room was the place where she could be approached directly by the growing, hungry, college guys and she would readily respond to their requests. In the monastery kitchen, she too was loved working untiringly, preparing special diets for the infirm Sisters while being a peaceful presence and prayerful soul.
Day 44: March 16, 2020
Smutnak, Sister Remi (a.k.a. Sister Remigia) b. 7/19/1914 d. 3/16/2006
Sister Remi’s life can be compared to a melody where high notes were times of happiness and low notes were marked by sadness and pain. Her crescendos in life were heart-warming especially when she served as a volunteer at Edward Hospital; visiting patients who needed spiritual care or assistance in writing a letter, watching a video, etc. Her low notes were marked by suffering, especially during her terminal pain. Her awareness of Angels made her sure that her song of praise to God was delivered even when the harmony was discordant.
Day 45: March 17, 2020
Cepal, Mary Teresa b. 1/28/1885 d. 3/19/1968
Sister Mary Teresa was a beautiful soul and manifested this in her happy face. Coming from Czechoslovakia and speaking only Czech she found Community life with like-minded women to be what she wanted. Being a gifted seamstress, she was given the task of sewing the habits for the Sisters and various other sewing projects. She stayed working in the sewing room until her eyesight became dim. This gave her an opportunity to help wherever she was needed.
Day 46: March 18, 2020
Rehor, Sister M. Bernadette b. 3/10/1889 d. 3/20/1922
Sister Bernadette was an exemplary model for the young Sisters with whom she worked side by side in the laundry, scrubbing the floors and washing the pots and pans. Menial tasks were her choice in caring for the sick. She never complained. She dearly loved the Sisters; charity being her outstanding virtue which gave charm to her whole being. She was forgetful of self and offered herself completely to God. In the end, she was overcome by her weakness, dying with tuberculosis in her 33rd
year of life.
Day 47: March 19, 2020
18th Place in Chicago, Home of the Sisters from 1895 until 1912
Abbot Nepomucene bought this old St. Pius School and Convent for the Sisters. They moved in on the feast of St. Joseph, on March 19 in 1895. The building cost $18,000. However, the Sisters had approximately three dollars. Two dollars were spent on food and the remianing dollar was tied to a statue of St. Joseph with a petition to care for the Sisters and help them pay the debt. With faith and the help of many friends, the building was eventually paid for.
Day 48: March 20, 2020
Janda, Sister Mary Adalbert b. 2/26/1889 d. 3/20/1976
Sister Mary Adalbert served in several of our parochial schools before she became principal in four of them through the years. She was a gentle, thoughtful person who loved the students and guided them in living their faith intentionally. For four years she was also chosen to be the novice mistress at the monastery which meant she was in charge of the incoming postulants to religious life teaching them The Rule of St. Benedict, the Gospels, other religious devotionals and being responsible for observing their work assignments.
Day 49: March 21, 2020
The Feast of St. Benedict b. c. 480
St. Benedict of Norcia died at Monte Cassino on March 21st
. The motto of the Benedictine Order which he founded is “Ora et Labora” (Pray and Work). He was named the patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964. His feast day is kept by Bendictines on March 21st
, the traditional day of his death, and by the Roman Catholic Church on July 11th
Day 50: March 22, 2020
Siroky, Sister M. Regina b. 9/28/1886 d. 3/23/1940
Sister Regina had a patient, courteous manner as she served the community in housekeeping and teaching at various parish-school mission. Being an edification to all who knew her, she touched many lives. In her debilitating health, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. Being a faithful follower of Jesus, she daily united her suffering to the suffering of Christ on the cross knowing that she would soon be in God’s loving embrace. Befittingly, she died on Holy Saturday.
Day 51: March 23, 2020
Radosovsky, Sister Mary Clotilda b. 8/14/1883 d. 3/23/1970
Sister Mary Clotilda was born in Hungary and entered our Benedictine Community bringing her joyful, unforgettable, sweet nature with her. Being in love with God and all creation, she developed a talking relationship with everyone even with birds. Her assignment was the kitchen at St. Procopius College where she won the hearts of everyone there. To this day, priests, who were then Seminarians, will still comment on Sister Mary Clotilda’s readiness to give them extra attention and feed them with those good dumplings, or fresh bread the Sisters prepared.
Day 52: March 24, 2020
Moravec, Sister Mary Ignatia b. 4/8/1896 d. 3/31/1959
Sister Mary Ignatia was raised in St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Lisle, in close proximity with the Sisters. So, at the age of 15, Sister Ignatia already knew for sure what she wanted to do in life. After making first vows, her own experience as an orphan, made her the perfect person to deal with the antics of children, which she herself had agitated as a child. She was, as expected, sent to work there and was considered most successful. After many years there, she asked the Prioress if she could be missioned in Texas; feeling that the warm climate would be good for her rheumatism. After two years there, however, she had to return to the monastery due to ill health and was soon called by the Lord to come to her true and everlasting home to share the joys of eternal life.
Day 53: March 25, 2020
Gerlich, Sister Louise Marie (a.k.a. Sister Leander) b. 8/11/1933 d. 3/25/1968
We remember Sister Louise Marie as having a short, but full life among us. Her sincerity and whole-hearted service was remarkable. She took charge of housekeeping duties and was open to be obliging; no one ever feared to ask her for a favor as she would conscientiously do it for you. Due to her failing health, she died at the age of 35.
Day 54: March 26, 2020
Laskojan, Sister Mary Monica b. 7/5/1883 d. 3/29/1947
On entering the Monastery, Sister Mary Monica knew very little English but her desire to serve God helped her overcome all her hardships. After making her vows, she was sent to St. Procopius College to work in the kitchen where she spent all of her working days. Her duty was to keep the refectory in order, set the tables and wash the dishes three times a day. The monks and students appreciated her very much. When she died, a large number of Priests, Brothers and Seminarians from St. Procopius were present at her Funeral witnessing their gratitude for her conscientious and loving service to them.
Day 55: March 27, 2020
Camsky, Sister M. Laurencia b. 1/10/1888 d. 3/27/1912
Sister Laurencia came from Czechoslovakia with her parents who started to take care of our convent farm. Their daughter, seeing the Sisters, wanted to join them and so she did. After studying English and Education classes, though her health was frail, she was sent to teach in Omaha at Assumption School, with the hope her health would improve. However, it was discovered she had cancer of the esophagus and could not take nourishment. Coming back to the monastery for respite, she made her final vows on her deathbed and died at the age of 24.
Day 56: March 28, 2020
Zajicek, Sister Mary Imelda b. 11/5/1893 d. 3/28/1924
Prior to entering our Benedictine Community, Sister Mary Imelda belonged to an athletic club and participated in several tournaments held in the Blessed Agnes Parish in Chicago. In the Monastery she was assigned to domestic duties and later with her cheerful and winning personality was sent to St. Procopius College to work in food service. During the Post World War I Influenza Epidemic, she became weakened. This led to her contracting Tuberculosis. She died with confidence in God’s mercy at the age of 30.
Day 57: March 29, 2020
Vaclava, Sister Mary Helen b. 4/19/1891 d. 3/29/1953
Sister Mary Helen was a good-hearted soul who fervently kept the teachings of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict. She lived an active life of service and was able to make her perpetual vows in 1920 at the age of 29. In her later years, however, Sister was afflicted with mental health issues and required the qualified care of specialists. She was sent to Mercyville in Aurora where she was given compassionate and professional treatment. She died in Mercyville at age 61.
Day 58: March 30, 2020
Vosika, Sister Mary Luitgarde b. 10/27/1888 d. 3/31/1974
Sister Mary Luitgarde’s active life was spent in the monastery kitchen, garden, cannery and poultry farm. Being not only dutiful and responsible she was above all, a kind, unassuming, lovable person and must have been precious in the eyes of God. Her face always beamed with the joy of the Gospel being lived. When she had a noticeable sparkle in her eye, you knew she wanted to share a bit of humor with you and enjoy a spirited laugh.
Day 59: March 31, 2020
Kallus, Sister Mary Angelica b. 3/13/1930 d. 3/31/2004 (Sister of Sisters Andrea, Josephine, Mary Agnes and Virginia)
Sister Mary Angelica was a young, 14-year-old when she decided to come with her two older Sisters, Sisters Josephine and Virginia to enter religious life. Two more sisters were already in Lisle enjoying Benedictine life; Sister Andrea and Mary Agnes. Religious life became an adventure for her and she blossomed. She is best known for being the Principal at St. Scholastica’s in Woodridge where she was dearly loved for serving the school community with integrity and a life-giving spirit of generosity.
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