Atchison — It was a large and joyful celebration at Mount St. Scholastica here, as nine Benedictine Sisters celebrated the golden jubilee of their profession on July 31. They, and their gifts of service over these past 50 years, are many and diverse. Although they came to the monastery from farms and cities, and chose a variety of fields for their work, all have been faithful and joyful in their life of prayer and community.
Sister Eleanor Suther comes from Blaine. Besides working as a teacher and religious education director, she authored a series of religious education books for rural parishes and homes. Currently, she is director of Sophia Center, the retreat center at the monastery.
Sister Linda Zahner was raised in Shawnee. After some years as an elementary school teacher and principal, she now lives in Harlan, Iowa, where she does retreat and spiritual direction work at Covenant Monastery. She is also trained in massage therapy and energy work.
Sister Martha Schweiger, a Lenexa native, has recently retired after decades as an elementary teacher. Besides teaching, she participated in accreditation visits to schools and developed curriculum materials. She now assists with hospitality to guests of Sophia Center.
Sister Genevieve Robinson, from Kansas City, Mo., has served in the field of education at many levels. She has taught elementary school, high school and college, chaired her division at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., and is now dean of undergraduate studies at Fontbonne University in St. Louis.
Sister Jeannine Neavitt did not have far to come to the monastery, having been raised in Atchison, but her journey was from a Methodist upbringing to the Catholic Church. Formerly a teacher and principal, she now welcomes guests in the hospitality department of the monastery.
Sister Loretta McGuire, from Barneston, Neb., recently retired from her work as a grief counselor with St. Luke’s Hospice in Kansas City, Mo. She is now the director of pastoral care for the residents of Dooley Center, the long-term care facility at the monastery.
Sister Mary Margaret Kean had lived in several places across the country before coming to enter the monastery. After serving as an elementary teacher and principal for many years, she is now the office manager for the Mount’s development office.
Sister Therese Elias is also from the Atchison area, where her ancestors had resided as pioneers even before the arrival of the Sisters 150 years ago. She, too, spent many years as a teacher, but now does retreats and spiritual direction in Kansas City, Mo.
A latecomer, but welcome, addition to the class is Sister Joanne Yankauskis. A native of Massachusetts, she has been a part of the Red Plains Benedictines, a monastery in Piedmont, Okla., which recently merged with Mount St. Scholastica. She works in retreat ministry there.