“IN GOD ALONE, IS MY SOUL AT REST.” -PSALM 62.1
In 2020 Sister Anne Stedman celebrated her 60th Jubilee of vowed monastic life. At that time she reflected on some key experiences that had impacted her during her Benedictine journey. For her, the touchstone of monastic life is a small piece of the Community’s vision “we will be radical signs of God’s love and compassion.” This touchstone began to emerge when she worked at St. Cajetan’s, an inner city parish in Denver, in the early 70s; it was there she discovered the richness, beauty and values of the Hispanic community. This touchstone deepened during a three week-experience in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 1985, where Anne found herself drawn to put on the lens of seeing and praying through the eyes of our Hispanic sisters and brothers in a third world country. She said “this encounter left my heart singed and broken open. I realized that it was time to speak the truth in love, not counting the cost — to speak for those who have no voice.”
When asked about her ministry, she spoke of the gratitude and joy for each of the ministries which have included: teaching children and adults in education and religious education, liturgist for the Archdiocese of Denver and Community, and being part of the beginning and the evolution of the Benedictine Spiritual Formation Program (now in its 32th year and expanded to Global on-line). She often quotes Sister Johnette Putnam, OSB … “from transformed hearts comes a transfigured world;” because she believes this is at the heart and purpose of the BSFP. Her greatest transformation has taken place when Sister Anne served her community for four years as Assistant Prioress and fourteen years as Prioress. She feels blessed with the gift of “discovering the inner beauty and depth of each Sister as well as her own limitations and fragility,” and continues to rejoice at how we are ‘at home’ in our new monastery at Benet Pines.
There are two other experiences that have had a tremendous impact on Sister Anne’s life. In 2000, during her month’s trip to Laos and Cambodia, she witnessed the consequences of war and the suffering that our Asian sisters and brothers have endured. When she returned the burning question then became “What is enough?”
As sister was finishing her sixth year as prioress in 2011, she was asked to serve as administrator for the first Benedictine Community in the United States, St. Joseph’s Monastery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. Juggling the call to St. Mary’s and the community requirements in Colorado proved to be somewhat daunting. Sister Anne served this small community of seventeen for a little over a year: sleeping on the fourth floor of the original monastery built in 1868, living, praying and journeying with these lovely women who struggled with monastic life in the 21st century, and holding their intense love of God deep in her heart.
These four experiences have had a profound effect on how she now experiences her God and sees her Community and ministry. She often repeats her initial touchstone for her monastic life… “we must be radical signs of God’s love and compassion in this wounded world.”