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.”