Three sisters make first monastic profession

Blessing of new scholastics and directors: Sisters Annette Marshall, Jen Frazer, Pat Witulski, Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, Karen Kosin, Colleen Leathley.

Sisters Jen Frazer, Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, and Colleen Leathley made their first monastic profession at Evening Praise on November 13. With first profession, they become scholastics and will spend the next three to six years focusing on the integration of prayer, community and ministry. The scholasticate is a time of discernment and preparation to enter a permanent covenant relationship with God and the sisters of the community.

"Their journey of love has led them to give their lives to God...no small gift...giving oneself in a lifetime commitment is not something one does quickly," reflected Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, during the ceremony in the monastery chapel. "It is a slow process. Love grows with time and experience." She explained that the vows the three sisters take, stability, conversatio, and obedience, is a three-year commitment to God and this Benedictine community. After three years, they can choose to extend the time period, seek final profession, or decide to leave the monastery. Read more about becoming a Benedictine here.

Listen to Sister Stephanie's reflections below.

Sister Jen is an artist and has Master’s degrees in divinity and theology from Boston College. She is originally from Hawaii and visited the community many times before entering in 2019.

Sister Colleen is from New Zealand and has a Master’s degree in Social Science Psychology. She spent many years in Australia where she worked in private practice and taught at the Australian Catholic University. She initially came to Erie as a participant in the Benedict Riepp Monastic Experience Program.

Sister Jaqueline holds Master of Divinity (Princeton) and Master of Social Work (Rutgers) degrees. She received the Joan Chittister Internship in 2015, then moved to Erie after graduation to work with Monasteries of the Heart before entering the community in 2019.

Sister Colleen Leathley professes her vows.
Sister Colleen Leathley professes her vows.
Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small signs her vows.
Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small signs her vows.
Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, gives the community pin to Sister Jen Frazer.
Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, gives the community pin to Sister Jen Frazer.
Seated, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small; Sisters Colleen Leathley, Annette Marshall, Jen Frazer, Karen Kosin, Pat Witulski.
Seated, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small; Sisters Colleen Leathley, Annette Marshall, Jen Frazer, Karen Kosin, Pat Witulski.