Sister Susan (Johanna) Rudolph was born in Sauk Rapids, Minn. She graduated from Cathedral High School in St. Cloud, Minn., and the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., with a degree in elementary education. She entered Saint Benedict’s Convent* on September 8, 1961, and made her final monastic profession on July 11, 1967. She holds advanced degrees in theology, education and gerontology. She is also a board-certified chaplain.
S. Susan’s ministry as a Benedictine sister began with teaching elementary and junior high school students at Sacred Heart School in Sauk Rapids, St. Boniface in Cold Spring, Minn., and St. Augustine’s in St. Cloud. For a number of years after teaching in diocesan schools, she served the monastic community as director of initial formation, teaching and guiding women discerning their vocation to Benedictine life. Subsequently, she served as a staff resident and housing director at the College of Saint Benedict (CSB) for 14 years. Many CSB alumnae know S. Susan’s service to them in these roles that involved many responsibilities beyond room selection. From 1996 to 2017, S. Susan served as director of pastoral care at Saint Benedict’s Senior Community in St. Cloud. There, she left the legacy of her philosophy and programs of care to serve the needs and hopes of elderly people.
S. Susan was installed as the 17th prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery on June 4, 2017. Her varied experiences of caring for people with insight, wisdom and compassion prepared her to serve as prioress with competence and hope for the future. Early in her term, S. Susan initiated a three-year, community-wide study of the Rule of Benedict with a goal to seek anew its great wisdom for the 21st century.
With competence and compassion, S. Susan led the community through the challenging years of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020–2023. During approximately the same time period, she was deeply involved, as leader of the sponsoring body of CSB, in creating the new governance structure of “Strong Integration” between the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. On a similar institutional level, S. Susan played a significant role in processes aimed at clarifying the relationship between the St. Cloud Hospital (another institution pioneered by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict) and the CentraCare Health System of Central Minnesota.
*Our community was named Saint Benedict’s Convent until 1996 when it was formally changed to Saint Benedict’s Monastery.