“I LIFT UP MY EYES TO THE MOUNTAINS, FROM WHERE SHALL COME MY HELP.” – PSALM 121
Sister Francine loves this quote from Psalm 121 because it reflects not only her spiritual journey but the Colorado mountains remind her daily of God’s mystery and love which resides in her heart. Francine was baptized Elizabeth Louise in Kelly, Kansas, where she was born on the family farm to Francis and Leona Stallbaumer. She is the oldest of five children and when she was fifteen her family moved into Kelly where her father managed the local Kelly Farmer’s Union Store.
Faith and loving support of Sister Francine’s parents and extended family played a major role in her awareness that God was calling her to religious life. She was steeped in Benedictine influence as the sisters taught her in elementary and high school. An uncle, great uncle and many cousins had already entered the Benedictine life.
Sister Francine responded to her call into the Benedictine tradition at age nineteen when her Uncle, Father Ernest Stallbaumer, OSB, took her to Atchison to meet with Mother Alfred Schroll. After a retreat there she knew in her heart that this was her true calling. She entered Mount Saint Scholastica Convent in 1953 and later transferred to the new foundation of Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs in 1965.
“One turning point in my formation when my world view opened up was when I participated in the ‘Active Spirituality for the Global Community’ for nine months in 1981 – 1982.” The program was designed to give participants “a time to reflect and respond, a space to stretch one’s vision and integrate gospel values.” Sister Francine traveled and experienced being with sisters from around the world. She utilized what she learned and still speaks gratefully of ways that experience continues to influence her.
Sister Francine’s ministry in education included serving as teacher and/or principal in six different Catholic Schools in Colorado. Later she worked for a number of years as a Pastoral Minister in Colorado. Her transition from schools to parish ministry was a welcome change and another life-giving experience.
For twelve years she served the Community as Assistant Prioress and is now the Monastery Coordinator. She reflects on the many ways the mystery of God has worked in her life through the years.
Sister Francine relaxes with needlework, loves to read, travel and enjoy the beauty of nature. Her enthusiasm to learn and her “adventurous spirit” keep her young at heart and always seeking new ways to continue growing throughout her life.