My Benedictine connections journey begins in Evansville, Indiana at St. Benedict Cathedral Parish where our family belonged and my five younger siblings and I went to school. The Benedictine monks from St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana and the Benedictine sisters from the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana continued to encourage our Catholic faith that began in our home.
For high school I attended the Academy of the Immaculate Conception boarding school staffed by the Benedictine sisters at Ferdinand, Indiana. During my junior year on May 8th, 1962 I joined the Benedictine Oblates. I took my mother's name Mildred as my Oblate name. Yearbook pictures show Fr. Gerard Elspermann from St. Meinrad receiving Oblations from the juniors in 1963. At that time Oblation was made to a men's monastery rather than a woman's. Now the Sisters do have their own Oblate groups.
After high school I joined the Benedictine sisters for three and a half years as Sr. Rebecca and went to college in Ferdinand at St. Benedict College and in Atchison, Kansas at Mt. St. Scholastica College. After I left the community in 1967, I taught in schools in Boonville and Evansville, Indiana that were staffed by the Benedictine sisters from Ferdinand and lay people.
In 1985, I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and began teaching in the Cincinnati Public Schools. As there were no Benedictine parishes here, I joined the Jesuit parish St. Francis Xavier downtown. In the mid-1990's I noticed in the Cincinnati Archdiocese Catholic Telegraph information about a Benedictine Oblates chapter meeting here.
On my next trip back to Evansville, I stopped at St, Meinrad on the way and asked for Fr. Meinrad in the Oblate Office if there was record of my Oblation. He located a shoe box of 3 x 5 cards that included one with the information shown on the Oblate Identification Card copied here with the yearbook cover. Fr. Meinrad explained that my Oblation could now be transferred to the Ferdinand Sisters Oblate group if I wanted. I preferred to keep my Oblation with St. Meinrad and have enjoyed the renewed connections now in my Cincinnati area home.
Our family's roots at St. Meinrad are deep going back to my godfather, Robert Garvey, my mother's oldest brother, who was in high school seminary there in the 1920's. He returned home to Evansville for his senior year because their father had several severe strokes. My mother and sisters and I have enjoyed annual retreats together for many years at St. Meinrad.
I thank God for all the rich blessings of my life including 10 years of Hodgkins' lymphoma cancer survivorship as of May 10, 2012. My years of learning and praying with the Benedictines have immeasurably enhanced my life's journey. I thank God for all the connections given in my birth family and beyond to all the learning, social, musical, and religious families of my life thus far in my journey to become who God created me to be!
Fifty Year Oblation - May 8th, 1962 - May 8th, 2012
Susan Marie Bernadette Mildred Rebecca Anderson