A Celebration of Community Living

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Benedictine Sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery Celebrate Community and Breaking Barriers

Middleton, WI September 21, 2021 — A small community of Benedictine Sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery celebrates a combined 151 years of religious life this weekend, Sept. 24-26, 2021, at their Celebration of Community. In addition, they welcome a new Sister into their community on Sunday, as Novice Everline Jeruto makes her first monastic profession.

The Sisters at Holy Wisdom live together in community and follow the Gospel and the Rule of Benedict. For 68 years they have lived out their mission of weaving prayer, hospitality, justice and care for the earth into a shared way of life in Middleton, Wisconsin. These pioneering women created the first ecumenical Benedictine community in North America in 2006 with both Catholic and Protestant members. In 2010, they received the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification for their new construction monastery building. This project earned 63 out of a possible 69 points, making it the “greenest” building in the country at the time. They manage 190 acres of restored prairie, oak savanna and wetlands at Holy Wisdom Monastery and the adjacent North Mendota Wildlife Area that aid in protecting Lake Mendota and the Yahara Watershed from phosphorous run-off.

The importance of community led to the formation of additional communities at the monastery, including Sunday Assembly their worshipping community open to all; the Oblates of Holy Wisdom Monastery, a community of lay people who learn about Benedictine spirituality and live it out in their lives away from the monastery; the Friends of Wisdom Prairie, an environmental support community; and the Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal, renewal for early and mid-career clergy in Benedictine spirituality and community. The Celebration of Community honors all the communities of the monastery.

Milestones in Community

Sister Joanne Kollasch, celebrates her 91st birthday this weekend and the 67th anniversary of her monastic profession. Sister Mary David Walgenbach, prioress of the community, celebrates her 60th anniversary, Sister Lynne Smith celebrates her 21st anniversary, Sister Denise West celebrates her 3rd anniversary and Novice Everline Jeruto becomes a Sister in the community.

As Sister Mary David Walgenbach prepares to celebrate 60 years of monastic profession, she reflects on her journey with the community, “Together we have embraced change by listening to others from diverse backgrounds and seeking advice from women and men who knew us well.  Listening and conversing within our Benedictine structure led us to choose to become an ecumenical Benedictine community. In implementing this decision our sisters experienced ‘living on the edge’ with some in our families, friends and churches. ‘Living on the edge’ meant each of us had to deepen our trust in one another and to let go of our ‘false gods’ of security, certainty and a variety of fears.”

We wish to congratulate the Sisters and all who form community at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

Holy Wisdom Monastery is a retreat and meeting center and Benedictine monastery in Middleton, WI and is open to all. The monastery, established in 1953, is located on 130 acres of restored prairie and woodland overlooking Lake Mendota. Holy Wisdom Monastery also offers environmental education and spirituality experiences throughout the year, prairie restoration volunteer opportunities, and Christian church services every Sunday. More information on Holy Wisdom Monastery is available on their website at HolyWisdomMonastery.org or by calling 608-836-1631.


Carolyn McGinley
Director of Communications
Holy Wisdom Monastery
4200 County Road Middleton, WI 53562
Phone: 608-836-1631 x119; 608-209-2167

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