Celebrating 125 Years of Lisle Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery
Day 90: May 1, 2020
Benedictine Women Saints Murals
Benedictine Women Saints Murals are painted in our Monastic Choir space.
Day 91: May 2, 2020
Benedictine Women Saints Murals & Stained Windows
The Murals, also displayed on May 1st
, were designed and painted by Sister Mary Electa and Professor Piney. The stained glass windows were redesigned by Marie Tatina in 1995. The original stained glass windows, featured in details in our April Entries, had a green background.
Day 92: May 3, 2020
Laketek, Sister Mary Celine b. 2/12/1920 d. 5/3/2009 (Sister Mary Celine’s relatives in Benedictine life: Aunt, Sister Josephine Princ; Cousin, Sister Dolorosa: and brothers, Fathers Victor and Gilbert)
Sister Mary Celine was formed by Benedictines from childhood on and then pursued her own call to Benedictine life with full commitment to God and to living community life. Her ministries developed as there was a community need. She studied the sciences and then taught high-school Biology in the Academy. As a model of Benedictine values, she was appointed to form young religious as a Novice Mistress. She studied library Science and became a librarian. She took LPN courses to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and cared for the sick Sisters. Lastly, she was appointed to be the community archivist as well as community sub-prioress. She is best remembered for leading the community to focus on the Liturgical Year celebrations and for her vacation enjoyment in traveling.
Day 93: May 4, 2020
Rededication of the Chapel—2005
On December 18, 2005 after a full year of renovation Sacred Heart Monastery was re-dedicated. Most Reverend Joseph Imesch, Chaplain Becket Franks, OSB, Deacon Richard Hudzik and congregation stand and pray at the entrance to the chapel.
Day 94: May 5, 2020
Bomba, Sister Mary Flavia b. 2/2/1897 d. 5/5/1984 (Sister’s nieces in Benedictine life were: Sister Imelda Rafac and Sister Gaudentia Rafac who later joined the Oak Forest Community)
Sister Mary Flavia was born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary and in her early childhood immigrated to the U.S. with her family. She was only 15 when she entered the Monastery but already had a determination to belong forever. Although she was a tiny person, she was huge in her prayerfulness and in her wholehearted drive when addressing her work. She became a primary school teacher, teaching in various Benedictine Schools and did cooking as well when there was no housekeeper assigned.
Day 95: May 6, 2020
Blessing of the Baptismal Font, Water and New Altar—2005
Bishop Imesch pours Sacred Chrism on the new altar constructed using marble from the old altar table and red oak. The appointments: Altar, Podium, Dedication Candles and Baptismal Font were constructed by Holtzmacher Company
Day 96: May 7, 2020
Anointing of the Walls of the Monastery Chapel—2005
Bishop Imesch anoints the walls of the monastery chapel. The Benedictine medals mark the places of the anointings. Then, candles are placed in the places of the anointings to signify the Light of Christ.The brazier, which was placed on the consecrated altar was removed from the chapel.
Day 97: May 8, 2020
Kucera, Sister Helen Marie (a.k.a. Sister Benigna) b. 7/3/1909 d. 5/8/1981 (Her Benedictine nephews were: Archbishop Daniel Kucera, Father Matthias Kucera and Father Edward Kucera)
Sister Helen Marie was an enthusiastic Benedictine, an exceptional upper-grade teacher in several Benedictine, elementary schools. She was a lover of classical and folk music as well as Gregorian chant. Her sense of humor in unexpected situations made her a joy to live with. She was soft–spoken and very patient with her suffering at the end of her life. One of the greatest joys in her life was that her nephews had also chosen the Benedictine way of life for which she gave thanks to God every day.
Day 98: May 9, 2020
Hemza, Sister Mary Benigna b. 1/12/1903 d. 5/10/1929
Sister Mary Benigna was from Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Chicago. She showed signs of ill health soon after she came and sometime later was isolated in the power house with T.B. Since she requested to make her final vows and wasn’t able to go to the chapel for the ceremony, she professed her vows in the simplicity of the unadorned, power house. Being fully resigned to the will of God she died at the age of 26.
Day 99: May 10, 2020
Schima, Sister Margaret Mary b. 5/10
Sister Margaret Mary is the personification of hospitality as she is always ready to express care and concern for the Sisters, guests and, of course, her family and friends. As a scholar of history, she is able to discuss, in depth, both the interesting historical events through the past centuries and important, prominent church or political figures. Having lived many years with the Benedictine Sisters of the Eastern Rite in Warren, Ohio, she loves to educate us about the cultural developments in the East that formed the Eastern Rite Catholic Church as well as to explain how it differs from the Roman Rite.
Day 100: May 11, 2020
Heble, Sister Judith Ann b. 5/11 (Seventh Prioress: 1993-2011; Niece of Sister Mary Rita)
As our past prioress as well as the Moderator of the COMMUNIO INTERNATIONALIS BENEDICTINARUM (International Community of Benedictine Women) and now as a member of the monastic council, Sister Judith Ann uses her administrative gifts by preparing highly organized documents in her role as the council secretary. She is also a member of the board of trustees at Benedictine University. During the celebration of the Eucharist and for the morning and evening Divine Office, for which we gather three times a day, she accompanies us on the piano as we chant psalms or sing hymns. Due to her skilled ability for planning for the future, she has been elected to represent our community on the Federation Council of St. Scholastica.
Day 101: May 12, 2020
Harvanek, Sister Mary Cecilia b. 11/1/1900 d. 5/10/1982 (Sister of Sisters Innocencia, Xaveria, Agatha and Mary Raymond)
Sister Mary Cecilia had a single-minded purpose and that was to renounce herself in order to follow Christ and be ready to serve. She was faithful to her duties without expecting recognition. She spent her years as a teacher, organist and principal putting her priorities first in praying the Divine Office, Holy Mass and Rosary. Peace and fidelity marked her gentle life.
Day 102: May 13, 2020
Kallus, Sister Mary Andrea b. 3/15/1917 d. 5/10/2013 (Sister of Sisters Josephine, Mary Agnes, Virginia and Angelica)
Sister Mary Andrea was the first of the five Kallus Sisters to enter religious life from La Grange, Texas. She had a reserved, quiet manner and spent her dedicated years in housework; cooking, baking, cleaning and among other things, did sacristy work in church. She was a giving person remembering those who were disabled or poor. Her Czech specialty, mouth-watering Houska, Kolachke, and Strudel were time consuming to make but on the table they disappeared quickly-- to her delight. She was like a shining star lighting the way for others to follow in her path for zest in life.
Day 103: May 14, 2020
Sister Coletta Novak, Sister Mary Bratrsovsky’s great aunt, was the caretaker of the bees. She processed enough honey for the sisters and sold some as well. Her Sister, Marie Bartek in the background, was Sister Mary’s Grandmother and Sister Coletta’s Sister.
Day 104: May 15, 2020
Kozelsky, Sister Mary Ursuline b. 11/19/1909 d. 5/15/1928 (Sister of Sister Martina)
Sister Mary Ursuline was the younger Sister of Sister Martina from Texas. When she came, since she was used to growing up with her brothers, she asked if she could associate with girls of her age, and for a time, was welcomed to live with a family at St. Mary of Celle in Berwyn. Found to be a good–hearted and jolly young lady, she was then accepted to start her formation for religious life. Contracting the fatal flu, she was privileged to make her vows at age 17 before she died.
Day 105: May 16, 2020
Benedale Farm (Facing Maple Avenue, just east of the Monastery)
From 1936 to 1963, mostly under the direction of Mr. Rambousek, the sisters raised, slaughtered, ate and sold cows, pigs, chicken, ducks, and turkeys. At one point, around 1950, our records showed that 250 baby pigs were born each year in three farrowing’s of which about two-thirds were eaten by the sisters and students, the rest were sold. About 18 head of cattle were also slaughtered a year. We had around 60 head of cows and two bulls each year. Symphony, one of the two bulls, won the Reserved Grand Championship at the International Dairy Exposition at Indianapolis, Indiana, 1949.
Day 106: May 17, 2020
Chicken House & Roosters
The Spinler Sisters (5 from one family) were mostly in charge of the chicken house. They incubated and raised chickens, ducks and turkeys. Besides having plenty of meat and eggs to eat, we had an opportunity to sell both meat and eggs as well! (Sisters Milburg and Rose Alice are in the picture on the right.)
Day 107: May 18, 2020
The greenhouse was started and maintained by the sisters. It was constructed over the well that is still used to water the grotto and trees, shrubs and flowers by our signs and some grass.
Day 108: May 19, 2020
Gardening, a Benedictine tradition, has always a part of our life. The garden in the 1980’s through the 90’s was “small but planted, cultivated, weeded, picked and eaten or canned by the sisters.”
Day 109: May 20, 2020
Weissmann, Sister Regina Ann b. 5/20
Sister Regina Ann Weissmann is presently a resident at St. Patrick’s Nursing Home in Naperville. Being a friendly person, she loves to watch the elevator from her position among other residents who are watching TV on the third-floor lounge. Whenever some of us Sisters or her friends come to visit, she gets very excited, inviting us with her arms flailing to make us aware of her location. In her healthy, younger days, she was a creative person educated in psychology and worked as a professional counselor as well as being an artist and an effective leader.
Day 110: May 21, 2020
Vineyard Apple Orchard, Vegetable & Flower Gardens
The west part of the campus contained our orchard, vineyards, vegetable garden and asparagus field, and flowers in numerous places. The vegetables, flower gardens, weeding and harvesting were done by the Sisters. The orchard and vineyards were tended by our employees. Sometime around the 1950s, our records showed that our hired help harvested about 7,000 bushels of corn, 4,500 bushels of oats, and 1,000 bushels of wheat.
Day 111: May 22, 2020
Princ, Sister Mary Josephine b. 12/21/1875 d. 5/23/1944 (Sister was the Aunt to Sisters Dolorosa and Mary Celine)
Sister Mary Josephine was an early pioneer and a great help to the foundress, Mother Nepomucene, who was hearing impaired. Sister Mary Josephine’s charming personality brightened the drab lives of the Sisters in those early days of extreme poverty. She was revered for her leadership qualities and, as sub-prioress, is credited in initiating plans with Sister Genevieve Biskup (who later became prioress) for building Sacred Heart Academy, for which the ground breaking event was in 1929. When the newly formed Congregation of St. Scholastica (now called Federation of St. Scholastica) met for the second time in 1908, she was in charge of the planning and in the hospitality of welcoming the Sisters representing the other Benedictine Communities to Lisle.
Day 112: May 23, 2020
Malek, Sister Mary Silvia b. 11/17/1916 d. 5/23/1966 (Sister of Sister Blandina)
Sister Mary Silvia heard God’s call early in life. She entered right out of elementary school. Though she was lonesome being so young, she made her way forward with determination desirous to serve God as a servant to the other Sisters or wherever she was sent. She served as a cook at St. Procopius College kitchen, St. Joseph’s Orphanage and other parish convent kitchens. She particularly wanted to offer her prayers, works and sufferings for the welfare of priests.
Day 113: May 24, 2020
The west part of the campus contained our orchard, vineyards, vegetable garden and asparagus field. See Day 110, May 21st
entry for more details.
Day 114: May 25, 2020
Jindrich, Sister Mary Editha b. 2/17/1897 d. 5/26/1963 (Sister was the Aunt of Sister Mary Florence)
Sister Mary Editha had a long span of teaching History and Chemistry at Sacred Heart Academy. She was a zealous fundraiser in her Academy days in support of the under-privileged and those with special needs. The Academy girls recall that due to her love of baseball, she would momentarily stop History class to listen to the radio to find out the scores of the teams playing and then shout out rejoicing, when the score was in favor of her favorite team.
Day 115: May 26, 2020
Lovcik, Sister M. Placid b. 4/5/1910 d. 5/26/1995
Sister Placid lived in South Dakota. A Benedictine priest, Father Placid, from St. Procopius Abbey was the Pastor in her parish. He was the one who encouraged her to become a Benedictine Sister seeing her ability to gather people for prayer. Sister Placid’s ministry became mostly cooking for the Sisters though she taught for a few years as well. She was an experienced cook having entered religious life at an older age. She was so well meaning and loveable but would on occasion forget to take the meat out from the freezer on time for supper and then the Sisters would have to wait for their evening meal. Everywhere Sister Placid went, she left a trail of unforgettable, laughable stories that broke the tensions of everyday life. How exciting it was to have her at one of our missions!
Day 116: May 27, 2020
David Burnett, our faithful employee of nearly 50 years, pruning the apple trees.
Day 117: May 28, 2020
(From left to right) Sisters Mary Bratrsovsky, Barbara Ann Svec, and Helen Jilek enjoying making apple juice.
Day 118: May 29, 2020
Bancak, Sister Laurene (a.k.a. Sister Laurencia) b. 7/23/1905 d. 5/29/1993
Sister Laurene was the sole survivor of the T.B. epidemic having one lung removed which saved her life. She was a tiny woman, steeped in prayer and was an enthusiastic, gifted high-school teacher of Latin and Spanish at Sacred Heart Academy and later at Benet Academy. Having contemplated the Psalms in Latin, Spanish and English she imparted her love of Psalms to the Novices and Postulants over the years. With a remarkable love of nature and fresh air, she would take long distance walks with the academy students, breathing deeply and taking in a sense of awe at God’s, marvelous beauty of creation.
Day 119: May 30, 2020
An aerial view of Sacred Heart Monastery, Catalpa Path and Power House.
Day 120: May 31, 2020
You can see our cupola (dome) of our monastery just behind the tree near the telephone wire at the corner of Maple and Route 53.
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