St. Scholastica Monastery celebrates sisters’ jubilees
The celebrations of significant anniversaries have already begun for the jubilarian Benedictines at St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth.
Sister Barbara Ann Vierzba, Sister Lois Ann Glaudel, and Sister Mary Susan Dewitt celebrated their Golden Jubilees July 19, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the monastery. Sister Petra Lenta (75 years), Sister Theresa Jodocy (60 years) and Sister Kathleen Hofer (60 years) will celebrate their Diamond Jubilees Saturday, Aug. 16, also at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel.
Sister Petra Lenta
Sister Petra Lenta was born in Duluth and attended Sacred Heart elementary and high schools. Her parents were Italian immigrants and devout Catholics. Sister Petra’s father, Louis, was a stonemason who helped to construct St. Peter’s Church. He also built the monastery’s Sacred Heart shrine, the pillars at the entrance to the monastery cemetery, the bridge over Chester Creek, and helped in the construction of Tower Hall. After graduation from high school, Sister Petra attended the College of St. Scholastica and entered the monastery following her freshman year. Graduating from the college in 1942, she entered a three-year program of the Institutum Divi Thomae in Cincinnati that specialized in cancer research. Upon her return to Duluth in 1945, she and Sister Agatha Riehl established a cancer research unit at the College of St. Scholastica. Sister Petra taught in the biology and chemistry departments at the college. The cancer research unit was active for more than 30 years, after which Sister Petra taught science to students of Assumption School in Hibbing. Returning to Duluth, she did catechetical teaching in Superior, Wis., worked at the monastery information center and cared for her aged parents.
Sister Theresa Jodocy
Sister Theresa Jodocy is a native of Upper Michigan. Her parents were Peter Jodocy and Clemence Nizette of St. Nicholas, Mich. She attended the College of St. Scholastica for her senior year after transferring from Northern Michigan in Marquette. She entered the convent that January, graduated in June and received the habit July 11, 1953, as well as the name Sister Matthias, her priest-brother’s name. She taught elementary grades in Minneapolis, Brainerd, International Falls, Hibbing and West Duluth for the next 13 years. She completed a master’s degree in education administration and was assigned as principal to St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix in 1967. During the summer she attended the University of San Francisco and completed a master’s degree in theology. Sister Theresa taught four years at Xavier High School for Girls in Phoenix and served as chair of the theology department at Notre Dame High School for Boys in North Chicago for five years. Returning to Phoenix, she went back to her baptismal name Theresa and served as pastoral associate in charge of adult education and ministry of care in three Phoenix parishes. After 45 years in the mission field, she returned to St. Scholastica Monastery in 2012.
Sister Kathleen Hofer
Sister Kathleen Hofer grew up in the small town of Michigan City, N.D., where her father was a banker. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1953, made first vows in 1954 and taught in elementary schools in the Diocese of Duluth. She received her bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Scholastica with majors in medical record administration and psychology. After completing an MBA in health care administration from George Washington University, she began her extensive and successful career in health care. At the College of St. Scholastica, Sister Kathleen was chair of the Medical Record Administration Department and the first chair of the Division of Health Sciences. She was active in the Minnesota and American Medical Record Associations, serving as president of both. She was also active in the International Congress on Medical Records. Sister Kathleen served at various times as the CEO of the Benedictine Health System and, for 15 years, as CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center. She also served as board chair of the Benedictine Health System, St. Mary’s Medical Center, SMDC Health System and Essentia Health East Region. Active as a Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Sister Kathleen was prioress, treasurer and served on the monastery council and BSBA Board. She also served on and chaired the Board of Trustees of the College of St. Scholastica.
Sister Barbara Ann Vierzba
Sister Barbara Ann Vierzba was born and raised in Brainerd. She knew early on that she wanted to be a sister as a result of her experience with the Benedictine sisters who taught at St. Francis School in Brainerd. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education. Her ministry in the elementary schools took her to Cloquet, Chicago, Phoenix, West Duluth and Brainerd. In West Duluth and Brainerd she was both teacher and principal. Other ministries included working in the business office in accounts receivable and cleaning houses for the elderly in the Sisters’ Care program in St. Paul. After completing the CPE program at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth she become chaplain at St. Gabriel’s Hospital and St. Otto’s, an extended care facility in Little Falls. In 1999, Sister Barbara Ann was asked to be the subprioress at St. Scholastica Monastery. She was willing to serve the community in this position and found her training in CPE very helpful in her new responsibilities. She loved the variety in that ministry, serving for 12 years. She counts that among the many blessings of her 50 years as a Benedictine sister.
Sister Lois Ann Glaudel
Margaret Ann Glaudel was born in Minneapolis, May 7, 1944. She attended and graduated from Our Lady of Victory School, where she was taught by the sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery. She then attended Stanbrook Hall High School in Duluth, which was where her thoughts began to center around entering the convent. On Sept. 8, 1962, Margaret entered as a postulant and on July 11, 1964, made her first profession, having taken the name Sister Lois Ann in honor of her mother. She continued her education and graduated with a degree in elementary education. Sister Lois Ann began teaching at St. Leo’s School in Hibbing and then at St. Francis School in Brainerd, where she played guitar and sang for children’s liturgies. After her years in Brainerd, she taught in Pine City until 1982, and then in Chicago where she taught at several schools including St. Timothy, St. Hilary, St. Matthias, Pope John the XXIII and most recently at St. Mary of the Lake. Community, family, friends and former students have always been important to her. She says that God has blessed her in so many ways with many “golden” moments.
Sister Mary Susan Dewitt
Sister Mary Susan Dewitt grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., with 12 siblings, a faithful, long-suffering mother and father (both devout Catholics), and one lone bathroom. In 1961, fresh out of high school, she went to Duluth, eager for new horizons. In those days, religious life never appealed to her (too tame) until she met the warm, lively sisters at the College of St. Scholastica. In her sophomore year of her nursing degree program she finally recognized the call of God and entered the convent at the “Villa,” becoming Sister Mary Susan. Six years later, diploma in hand, she was on her way to operate a clinic in Antofagasta, Chile, the Benedictine mission in South America. Over the next 12 years she came to know for the first time this amazing healing God who had called her; the goodness, beauty and simplicity of the Chilean people; and the seven wonderful Benedictine sisters on the mission with her. Twelve years later Sister Mary Susan returned to minister in a new but just as beloved mission — as chaplain at the Benedictine Health Center, a position she holds to this day. Sister Mary Susan says, “I am celebrating 50 years of walking with an amazing God and the incredible women of this community to which he called me.”