During Evening Prayer on August 4, Sister Jane Becker, OSB, was installed as administrator of the Sisters of Mount Saint Benedict in Crookston.
She follows Prioress Sister Shawn Carruth who died suddenly on March 26. Subprioress Sister Kathleen McGeary has served as leader of the community in the interim.
Sister Jane comes from Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana. Mount Saint Benedict and Monastery Immaculate Conception are members of the Federation of St. Gertrude, a group of 13 Benedictine communities.
Sister Jane has been a Benedictine sister for 55 years and spent much of her ministry working in seminaries as a clinical psychologist. She served at Saint Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana, and at the North American College in Rome. She has presented various workshops for priests and religious and conducted therapy with individual priests and religious.
“It’s been a blessed kind of ministry,” she said. “I have been able to focus on the people who are trying to either live religious life or bring the faith to the parishes.”
She also served as novice director and subprioress for her community in Indiana.
As part of previous planning efforts, the Sisters of Mount Saint Benedict decided to request an administrator in order to bring in an outside voice as they look to the future.
Sister Jane has visited the Crookston monastery a few times during her years as a Benedictine, so she was familiar with it when the federation asked her to consider becoming administrator for two years.
The federation president encouraged her to contact Sister Shawn.
“I called and she told me about the community and really encouraged me to come,” Sister Jane said. “Then a week later to the day, she died. I thought I would have Sister Shawn here to help me; it was a shock.”
Sister Jane described the position of administrator as two-fold.
“My role is a combination of caring for the sisters immediately, as the prioress would do, and then helping them with the planning and big decisions about how to keep themselves able to continue living the monastic life even when they have fewer resources,” Sister Jane said.” “We will do more planning meetings and see what decisions we need to make so that the community can keep being a community, keep being Benedictines – every one of them for the rest of their lives.”
Sister Jane is grateful that Sister Kathleen McGeary will continue as Subprioress.
“She is a big support,” Sister Jane said. “All of the sisters have been really helpful in teaching me how they do things here, what all of their customs are. They have been very welcoming and warm.”
Sister Jane said it is a pleasure to work with a smaller community; her home monastery has 130 sisters.
“There are 30 sisters here and you can really experience what Benedict had in mind about caring for one another being one of our most important ministries,” she said. “I see that in the sisters here. They really do look out for one another and help one another.”
She appreciates the richness of Benedictine spirituaity at Mount Saint Benedict and credits iit in part ot Sister Shawn’s influence.
“She was a scholar in Benedictine history and spirituality, so the community has been profiting from that little extra touch of formation and is steeped in the spirituality,” Sister Jane said.
Although arriving during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant she has not been able to see the surrounding town, she is enjoying the grounds at Mount Saint Benedict and looks forward to experiencing a snowy winter.
“This is really far north for me,” Sister Jane said. “I come from an area where we never saw snow stay on the ground for more than three or four days at most . . . so far it’s beautiful and green, I guess later it will be beautiful and white.”