Benedictine Sisters of Florida
The Benedictine Sisters of Florida have re-elected Sister Roberta Bailey, O.S.B. to lead the community as prioress for the next six years. The election of prioress is really a discernment in prayer, listening for the voice of God regarding who should lead the community into the future. The Sisters of Holy Name Monastery came together for three days co-facilitated by Sisters from other Benedictine monasteries: Sister Kathy McNany (Baltimore) and Sister Marcia Ziska (Atchison). The president of the Federation of Saint Scholastica, Sister Lynn McKenzie, was there as well to help focus the group on what Saint Benedict instructs: Listen with the ear of your heart.
Sister Roberta has served as prioress since 2010, leading the efforts of the Benedictine Sisters at Holy Name Monastery in St. Leo in their ministries of services “to feed the hungers of the people of God.” The community was founded 132 years ago by five Sisters from Pittsburgh, PA. The Benedictine Sisters of Florida live a life of commitment to be-come a sign of God’s presence in the world. In “Non-Covid” times the Sisters welcome guests to their liturgical services and host guests for retreats or “time away,” self-directed groups, monthly concerts and a variety of other small-group activities.
Sister Roberta’s career began in 1959 as a classroom teacher for infants through college aged students and has been in educational leadership since 1970. Sister previously served as principal of St. Anthony School (San Antonio) and Pope John Paul Catholic School (Lecanto, FL). She founded the Montessori schools in St. Leo, FL and at Blessed Trinity in Ocala, FL. She has served as a member of the advisory council for the Office of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, a board member (and on the Quality Committee) for the Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition and was a governor appointee on the Florida’s Universal Pre-K commission. Sister is the past editor of the ECA of FL journal Children Our Concern, a former member of the Tampa Oratorio Society and Saint Leo Chorus. Currently Sister serves as a trustee of Saint Leo University, board member of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, Sunrise Family Abuse Shelter, Premier Community Health Care and the diocesan Commission for Religious.
In accepting the Community’s election, Sister Roberta drew the Sisters’ attention to the reflection she had offered the previous weekend: “Do Whatever He Tells You.” That was Mary’s directive to the wine servers at the Wedding Feast at Cana. In today’s Gospel, May 4th, Jesus reassures us He will not leave us alone on our life’s journey in seeking His will. He promises: “My peace I give you, my peace I leave with you.”
The third Tuesday in March is traditionally our annual prayer service and soup supper in support of the Daystar Hope food distribution program for the poor. Like with many other programs this year, on March 16th we will mark the occasion in-house. Unfortunately, the 2021 Soup Supper will not include our guests who otherwise would join us for prayer and a simple supper of soup and Sister Donna’s fresh baked bread.
Throughout the month the Benedictine Sisters are making personal donations to the Daystar fund. If you would like to contribute to this effort to “feed the hungers of the people of God,” you may make an on-line donation at:
(Donations on our website can be made through PayPal or your credit card. Click on the link above.)
Please indicate your donation is for Daystar by selecting “Daystar” as the designation from the drop down box.
You can send a check payable to the Benedictine Sisters of Florida
by mail to:
P.O. Box 2450
St. Leo, FL 33574Continue Reading
The Benedictine Sisters of Florida respond to the needs of the community in multiple ways. While we are more conscious now more than ever about food insecurity due to the coronavirus crisis, one of our ongoing ministries is running the local food bank and thrift shop, Daystar Hope. One of our Sisters, Sister Jean Abbott, is the executive director and other Sisters volunteer to ensure those in need have access to food, clothing and other necessary items for living. For the past several years, 8 to 10 tons of food have been distributed monthly. Once Covid hit, all the food distribution centers closed. Daystar quickly reopened knowing the intensity of the need. We network to obtain donations from individuals, churches, stores and various groups to add to what the USDA provides.
For 24 years the Sisters have provided a Thanksgiving Day dinner for the poor and those alone. A sit-down dinner is held at Saint Anthony of Padua’s parish hall on the day with all the trimmings for 250 to 300 guests. Along with our faithful volunteers, we also deliver meals to those who are home-bound. The night before Thanksgiving is fun as we gather with volunteers to peel 125 pounds of potatoes!
Of course the 2020 event had to be cancelled due to Covid. However, perseverance prevailed and we partnered with the Knights of St. Mark the Evangelist parish and First Presbyterian Church, Dade City to provide special food baskets. God is good.
Have you ever really given thought about the magnitude of giving that a woman of God vows. Her entire life is committed to Him and bringing people to His Kingdom. It is difficult to imagine what faith and love that it takes. It could never be measured except by God.
The Benedictine Sisters of Florida are such women living their lives in faithful service to God and His people. February 28, 2021 represents their 132nd anniversary of commitment to the message of Jesus – peace, love, forgiveness and giving. The five founding Sisters of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida came in 1889 from Pennsylvania to San Antonio, Florida to answer the call to educate the children of poor German immigrants. Touching lives through their prayer
s and service, they and the Sisters who followed have brought light, love and hope to countless students whom they have taught and to a multitude of individuals in need of guidance. To this very day, their role in the Church has never faltered.
In remembering the strong shoulders upon whom they stand, the Sisters invite you to celebrate in spirit and prayer the Feast Day of Saint Scholastica, February 10, 2021. You may recall, she is the twin sister of Saint Benedict and the patron saint of Benedictine nuns. Born in Norcia, Italy on March 2, 480 AD into a wealthy family, she chose to establish a religious community only a few miles from Saint Benedict’s. Like her brother, Saint Scholastica walked with God throughout her life. Please keep her and all her followers in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow.
Prayers for you and the world continue daily at Holy Name Monastery by the Sisters for peace and unity.