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Sr. Mary Blanche Smith Inspires Novice Helen's Rosary Ministry by Novice Helen Thurlow

In the spring of this year I brought a rosary that needed to be repaired to Sr. Mary Blanche Smith, and she said I could stay and watch as she did the repair. I was amazed by how skillful she was and how fast. I asked if I could learn how to make rosaries and she gave me supplies to start working on my first rosary. So far, the rosaries I have been making I take them to Sr. Mary Blanche for "inspection," and she has given me great advice on how to improve my skills, in both making rosaries and repairing.

One morning, Abbot Peter Eberle asked if I could repair 2 rosaries. A lovely garnet colored rosary only needed a crucifix. After cleaning the rosary, I noticed the center piece was a nice dark silver that complemented the cooper links through-out. After browsing the gift shop I found the perfect crucifix: The Good Shepherd Cross. A lovely silver that matched perfectly to the center piece. The other rosary was more challenging, however. It required both prayer and metal fabrication. One of the Our Father beads was badly damaged. It wasn't a bead; instead, it was cast metal with an image of St. Peter's Basilica. After some intense prayer to the Holy Spirit, I went over to the maintenance shop, and asked if the metal could be softened and if a small hole could be drilled. Keenan Foraker, our jack-of-all-trades maintenance man, was on top of it. The cast metal looked like it was never damaged, and I was able to attach the chain link back on.

I am very grateful to Sr. Mary Blanche in teaching the skills I need to make rosaries and to repair them. I have really enjoyed learning this new skill, and making it a part of my prayer life.

Helen Thurlow entered Queen of Angels Monastery as a postulant in August 2012. She is currently a novice, and progressing toward making her profession of temporary vows as a Benedictine Sister.

- In June, Sr. Donna Marie Chartraw, Sr. Jeanette von Herrmann, and Sr. Angela Meister represented Queen of Angels Monastery at the Federation of St. Gertrude Chapter in Cottonwood, Idaho. The federation of 14 women's Benedictine communities meets every three years to discuss various important topics, determine the Federation direction statements for 2014-2017, and elect a Federation President and Council. This year's focus was the changing challenges of monastic life and how communities can live gracefully and with vibrancy into the future.

- Sr. Gertrude Feick is happy to be home after being away from the monastic community for several months. Sr. Gertrude spent time at Ampleforth Abbey in N. Yorkshire, England, working in the archives, participated in a doctoral seminar in Rome, Italy, and was most recently with the Benedictine Sisters of Lisle, Illinois, where she continued research for her doctoral dissertation, "A Pilgrim's Search for God: The Spirituality of Cardinal Basil Hume."

- Sr. Maureen Niedermeyer, Sr. Jeanette von Herrmann, and Oblate Mary Nelson attended American Benedictine Academy (ABA) gathering in July at Conception Abbey in Missouri. The conference theme was Benedictine Monasticism: The Past Receiving the Future. The ABA is an organization of monastic men and women, as well as Benedictine oblates.

- The sisters of Queen of Angels Monastery joined in prayer and spiritual renewal in June for their annual community retreat. The retreat was led by Sr. Judith Sutera, OSB of Mt. St. Scholastica in Atchison KS. Sr. Judith's theme was the life and inspiration of Abbot Antony, one of the early Desert Fathers.

- The Mt. Angel Oktoberfest runs from September 11-14, 2014, and the Benedictine Sisters invite festival visitors to stop by their booth (located downtown near the Gazebo) to sample some delicious Monastery Mustard, as well as their much-loved morning coffee cakes, and a variety of Great Harvest breads and baked goods.

- Sr. Hilda Kleiman is leading the sisters' effort to ramp us recycling at the Monastery. The sisters are participating in "Terracycle," a program to recycle many types of containers and packaging that are normally hard to recycle. Terracycle makes a donation to non-profits in return for the recycled waste they recieve. Among the items the sisters are collecting are toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes; dental floss containers, mouthwash bottles and caps; deodorant containers and caps; hair and skin care bottles; cosmetic bottles, tubes, caps, pumps, and jars: glue bottles and tubes. Recycled items you wish to contribute may be dropped off at the Monastery. Contact Sr. Hilda at 503-845-6141 if you are interested in learning more.

- In April, Sr. Susan Casey completed Shalom Prayer Center's Spiritual Direction Training Program along with seven other students. The two-year program of study and supervision leads to a certificate in Spiritual Direction. Sr. Susan called the training "invaluable," and also noted, "as a Benedictine Sister who has invested time in Spiritual Direction, I find that I have the qualities of being a good listener."

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Provide Support for the Benedictine Sisters

Want to provide support for the Benedictine Sisters in painless, hassle-free way? The Sisters have enrolled in eScrip, a program that pays a percentage of purchases made at participating merchants to non-profit groups like the Sisters. If you shop at Safeway and have a Safeway Club Card, you can enroll in the eScrip program and have a percentage of your everyday grocery purchases donated to the Sisters every time you use your Club Card. To enroll, log onto www.escrip.com and go to the “Members/Supporter” section. Follow the directions under “Register Now” – the Benedictine Sisters Group ID # is 9614388. There is no cost to you!

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