Sister Mary Colleen Schwarz, OSB

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This passage from scripture was written on a plaque Mary Colleen received from her mother Aletha. “I am amazed how this scripture has unfolded in my life,” Mary Colleen says.

Years ago, Mary Colleen’s grandmother suffered a stroke. She would visit her in the hospital to help feed her. The other nurses would tell her, “You know, you have a knack for this.” After having surgery on her own knee, a priest asked her, “Why don’t you think about nursing?” So, she became a nurse and worked in the field for 33 years. As her spirituality grew, her nursing took on a new focus – seeing God in others.

On her 50th birthday, Mary Colleen went on a retreat to give thanks to God for a wonderful 50 years. In prayer, she heard God say, “Come, Follow Me.” It was while praying with her mother Aletha, who died in 1980 of ovarian cancer, that her answer came to say “Yes.” Her mother continues to be a strong source of affirmation and grounding in her call, while Paul, her father, witnessed to her through his strength and perseverance in faith. Answering her call from God was akin to falling in love – once she heard the call she couldn’t get God out of her mind. In answering God’s call, Mary Colleen gave up her identity as a nurse, laid it before God, and discovered the true meaning of “who I am.” She knows now she is a monastic, not a nurse – belonging to and yearning to be with God. By joining the community, she realized she was “not just being drawn into religious life, but into the arms of God.”

Mary Colleen finds a wonderful melding of service and spirituality.“I have such love for these sisters. I give and serve them through the compassion and wholeness of Christ for the common good of this community – which is mine. Community is living what you do for Christ. Keep seeking God, learning about self, surrendering always. Is it easy? No. Is it what I want? Yes.”

Mary Colleen has served the community as supervisor of Hildegard’s, our Transitional Care Unit. She is also active in the worship team and the Benedictine Spirituality Center offering Spiritual Direction and directing the global on-line Benedictine Spiritual Formation Program.

I am choosing to tell my story from 2008 to now through pictures which represent my ministries.

On July 13, 2008 I celebrated with Community my perpetual monastic profession which means I received the Benedictine ring indicating my life commitment to living the Benedictine vows (Obedience, Stability, and Fidelity to the monastic way of life) with Benet Hill Monastery Community of Sisters.



The Global On-line Benedictine Spiritual Formation program allows people from around the world to connect with others that are seeking spiritual awakening or spiritual enrichment. It is open to all faith traditions.




As Vocation Director I work with women that have a deep passion for God with the desire to seek God in everything. It is this passion that radiates Joy and brings Hope to our Benedictine future.

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