Sister Michaela (Michelle) Hedican was born in Virginia, Minn., on September 4, 1945. She attended the Benedictine-staffed Regis High School in Eau Claire, Wis., and joined the sisters of Saint Bede Priory during her senior year of high school. She entered Saint Bede Priory on August 28, 1962, and made her first profession on July 11, 1964, and her perpetual profession on July 11, 1967. S. Michaela is a graduate of the College of Saint Scholastica, Duluth, Minn., and holds two master’s degrees, one in religious education from Seattle University in Seattle, and the other in theology from Saint John’s University School of Theology, Collegeville, Minn.
As a member of Saint Bede Priory, S. Michaela was an elementary and junior high teacher, mainly in the subject areas of science and religion. She served her community as vocation director and novice director from 1974–1979.
For a number of years, S. Michaela ministered at the Saint Bede Priory Center in retreat ministry and parish outreach. She became the associate director of the Center, and then the director, a role she fulfilled from 1987–1997. Following her ministry at the Center, she became the unit coordinator for the Saint Bede sisters living at the Chippewa Falls, Wis., nursing home.
In 2003, S. Michaela was elected president of the Federation of St. Benedict, now called the Monastic Congregation of Saint Benedict, and in 2008 was elected prioress of Saint Bede Monastery. She served as prioress until the Saint Bede community merged with Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., in August 2010.
On February 27, 2011, S. Michaela was elected the 16th prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery and was installed on June 5, 2011. Among the emphases in her spiritual teaching as prioress was the spirituality of mercy, in observance and celebration of the Church’s “Jubilee Year of Mercy” from December 2015 to December 2016.
During her years as prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, S. Michaela played a significant role in all of the aspects of the Saint Bede sisters’ transition to Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Her own experience and that of the Saint Bede sisters eminently prepared her for the merger of Mount Benedict Monastery in Ogden, Utah, with Saint Benedict’s Monastery in 2012.
S. Michaela collaborated closely with Mary Dana Hinton, then-president of the College of Saint Benedict, in strategizing for the sisters’ role in furthering one of the college’s strategic directions for the year 2020—that of extending Catholic and Benedictine values in creating a vibrant and lived community experience for the students, faculty and staff of the college. After the completion of her term as prioress, S. Michaela spent some sabbatical time at St. Paul’s Monastery, St. Paul, Minn., and participated in a program for a certificate in spiritual direction in Tucson, Ariz. She spent five years as the director of oblates and is currently the director of mission advancement. She also serves as a member of the Boards of Trustees of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.