St. Benedict’s Monastery elects new prioress

The community of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph has elected Benedictine Sister Susan Rudolph as its new prioress.

Benedictine Sister Susan Rudolph was elected Feb. 25 to be the new prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph. (Dianne Towalski/The Visitor)

She will succeed Benedictine Prioress Michaela Hedican when she is installed June 4 as the community’s 17th prioress.

Sister Susan, a native of Sauk Rapids, is a graduate of Cathedral High School in St. Cloud and the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, where she majored in elementary education. She holds master’s degrees in theology, education and gerontology, and is a board certified chaplain.

“I feel extremely supported by a loving community,” Sister Susan said following her election Feb. 25. “We’ve had such a wonderful spirit-filled process. It’s very sacred. And for me, to feel a group of women so united is awesome.”

Benedictine Sister Modesta Arceneau, left, congratulates Sister Susan Rudolph after her election as prioress. (Dianne Towalski/The Visitor)

Her ministry has included teaching elementary and junior high school, and serving as housing director and staff resident at the College of St. Benedict. In 2016, she retired after 21 years as director of pastoral care at St. Benedict’s Senior Community in St. Cloud.

At the monastery, she served the community as formation director, guiding women discerning their vocation to monastic life. Most recently, she has assisted at the monastery’s Spirituality Center and became responsible for workplace safety.

“I’ve been trained in pastoral ministry and I think my leadership style will be to lead by example. I’m open to doing the very best I can,” she said.

Benedictine Sisters wait in line to congratulate Sister Susan Rudolph following her election as prioress. (Dianne Towalski/The Visitor)

The canonical election process, which began on Feb. 24, was the culmination of over a yearlong discernment process launched in November 2015. The community of 213 women reached a consensus late in the afternoon Feb. 25. Sisters flew in for the election from as far as Washington, D.C., and Utah to be part of the prayerful process, which can take up to several days.

“This is one of the most peaceful elections we’ve ever had,” said Benedictine Sister Colleen Haggerty, who has known Sister Susan for many years. “Our present prioress and staff prepared us for this day and our hearts were ready.”

About Kristi Anderson

Kristi Anderson is a multimedia reporter for The Visitor newspaper.

4 comments

To God be the Glory! CONGRATULATIONS, SUSAN! I know that you are loved by this community and will receive their love and support. May God continue to bless you!

Congratulations Susan!
What a profound witness from our Sisteres of St. Benedict’s Monastery! You have a loving community who were filled with the Spirit in their choice. I hold you and your community in prayer!
Sister Naomi Rosenberger, OSB
Benet Hill Monastery

Susan, I acknowledge the WHO you have allowed and claimed yourself to be in claiming your new role as prioress. I will send you prayers and energies to trust yourself and your relationship with your soul and channel for receiving and providing guidance, grace, and healing with your community. May you claim and engage in your new role with humility and pride.
Blessings Galore.
Sylvia Reuter Sultenfuss

How wonderful for you all! My community had been praying for you all day and I kept looking for news. Congratulations, Susan! I will be one of your supporters.

Blessings to all! Sr. Mary Forman, OSB

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