Colleen Leathley completes Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie offered a prayer of blessing for Colleen Leathley upon her completion of her Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience. Sister Stephanie Schmidt, Director of Monastic Formation, thanked Colleen for the energetic and enthusiastic spirit that enlivened the commitment she made to live as a monastic for 9 months with the Erie Benedictines. Her sentiments echoed those of the community: “You have been faithful to the process of seeking God through prayer, community and ministry . . . . You have listened with the ear of your heart and entered wholeheartedly into our daily monastic rhythm of life. We are grateful for you and the gifts that you have so generously shared with us.”

In her blessing, prioress Sister Anne Wambach spoke with great clarity: “Colleen, in your commitment to this community within the Benedicta Riepp program, you have lived fully and intentionally this monastic way of life. Your time with us has been mutually enriching. As you leave with the desire to be ever faithful to God’s call we bless you and say:

May you continue to act justly in all that you do.
May you continue to love tenderly all those you meet.
May you continue to walk humbly with God all the days of your life.”

Colleen then recapped her experience with a slide show and commentary that was at one and the same time, meaningful, humorous, lighthearted and deep. “It was a wonderful evening,” said Sister Anne Wambach, “We wish Colleen safe travel to her home in Australia and many blessings. Although Colleen will be dearly missed, we are better for having been gifted by her presence among us.”

Colleen Leathley, a 52-year-old registered psychologist on a mid-life sabbatical, lived with the Erie Benedictines as a “Riepper” for 9 months. The Benedicta Riepp Monastic Experience offered her an immersion in a daily rhythm of prayer, work, outreach to the marginalized, communal life, hospitality, peace and nonviolence. Colleen was born in New Zealand and for the past 26 years she has worked in Sydney, Australia. Click here to read her article, “Walking in God’s Ways as a Not–So-Grim Riepper” published in the 2017 Fall/Winter issue of The Mount magazine.

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Click here to learn more about the Benedicta Riepp Program.