The Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict serve in a variety of ministries at the monastery in St. Joseph and throughout the world. A large part of Benedictine life is the balance and interaction between work, community life and prayer. On these pages you can find more information on some of the key outreach ministries on our campus, including God, Girls and Good Times summer camp, Common Ground Garden, and the Spirituality Center.
Sister Mary Mandernach
Sister Mary Mandernach wrote this description of her work with the Saint Cloud Diocese for our Sisters' newsletter, Community News.
I began my ministry at the Chancery for the Diocese of Saint Cloud in June of 1989. This was a rather unique situation at that time as no other Sister had worked here before. Msgr. Daniel Taufen, vicar general at the time, hired me. He asked me to consider at least five years of service … here I am, almost 22 years later. My tasks have always been varied, as my title suggests: assistant chancellor, receptionist and secretary.
As assistant chancellor, I work with pastors in dealing with permissions and dispensations that are needed for couples who are preparing for marriage when either bride or groom is not Catholic but they want a Catholic marriage. Take the case of a wedding that will take place out of state or country; I need to make sure all is in order. Another case is when a priest comes from out of state or out of our diocese to witness a marriage here. We have to make sure he is in “good standing” in his diocese and that he is registered at the court house so he can lawfully witness a marriage in our diocese. This is an example of some ‘behind the scenes’ tasks that have to be done for a Catholic marriage, if one party is not Catholic.
As you would expect, there is a lot of communication with all priests and deacons of the diocese; for example, at the time of death of a priest or deacon, preparation for retreats and workshops, etc. Also, there is a lot of communication with all the curial staff. Nowadays a lot of this is done via e-mail, but not everyone has e-mail, so the message has to get to them by other means.
I consider myself a resource person. All types of questions get directed to me, both internal and from diocesan parishes, as well as beyond our diocese. Every once in a while a caller will say, “I was told to call Sister Mary at the chancery; she knows everything.”
A lot goes on behind the scenes to run the Diocese of St. Cloud. When Fr. Taufen hired me, he asked me if I had strong faith as it may be tested here. I guess I could say my faith has been both tested and affirmed, witnessing both the fragility and heroic spirit of our clergy and lay people who serve so generously in witness to the People of God model of church.