Sister Nancy Bauer was born in Miesville, Minn., on November 13, 1953. She entered Saint Benedict’s Convent* in St. Joseph, Minn., on September 29, 1976, and became a novice on July 2, 1977. She made her first profession on July 11, 1978, and her final profession on July 11, 1981.
S. Nancy holds a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in theology from Saint John’s School of Theology, and a doctorate in church law from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Prior to her election as the 15th prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery, S. Nancy worked as a photographer, reporter and editor of the Saint Cloud Visitor, a weekly newspaper of the Diocese of St. Cloud. She also served as the associate editor of Sisters Today for two years, as the community relations consultant at St. Benedict’s Senior Community in St. Cloud, Minn., and as a visiting instructor in canon law at Saint John’s University School of Theology.
Having taken the following focus for her service as prioress, “Let us bring Christ to each other, and let us bring each other to Christ,” S. Nancy attended to the overall leadership of the community in that spirit and encouraged the sisters to live their monastic mission to the fullest—to listen and respond to the needs of the Church and the world through their ministry of prayer, work and community.
S. Nancy led the community through another phase of community planning entitled “Visioning and Comprehensive Planning for Hospitality and Outreach, 2007–2011.” This process resulted in the establishment of two hermitages as part of the programming offered at the Spirituality Center. In addition to this project, the historical Marmion building was razed and replaced by a new residence for sisters named “Marmion.” Another planning initiative, “Convergence: Benedictine Outreach Ministry,” was underway as she completed her term in 2011. Significant among celebrations during S. Nancy’s term was that of the community’s observance of its sesquicentennial in 2007.
S. Nancy’s term witnessed the merger of the community of Saint Bede Monastery, Eau Claire, Wis., with Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn. Merger conversations with the sisters at Mount Benedict Monastery in Ogden, Utah, also began.
Following her six-year term as prioress, and between the years 2011 and 2014, S. Nancy served as the associate editor of Give Us This Day and as vice-chancellor of the Diocese of St. Cloud. In 2014, she was appointed to the Canon Law faculty at the Catholic University of America, where she taught until 2022. In July 2022, she was elected as president of the Monastic Congregation of Saint Benedict, a role in which she will serve for six years.
*Our community was named Saint Benedict’s Convent until 1996 when it was formally changed to Saint Benedict’s Monastery.