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2010 Jubilarians

A Jubilarian is a person observing 25 or more years of religious life, and a Jubliee is the celebration of their religious profession. Generally, 25 years of religious life and 50 years of religious life mark special Jubliees (anniversaries), as do those marking the decades beyond. This year, the following Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh are Jubilarians.




Influenced by experiences with grade school teachers and two Benedictine aunts, Sister Michael Mack, OSB, first sought Religious Life with the Sisters of Divine Redeemer, making her first profession with them in 1985. In 2000, she transferred her vows to the Benedictines of Pittsburgh, where she has come to appreciate the daily cycle of Community prayer which flows into service to
the people of God.

As a Benedictine, Sister Michael has ministered for nine years as Financial Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Service Society, two years as Director of Finances for Ursuline Senior Services, and is currently Treasurer for the Benedictine Sisters. Describing herself as “hard-working, disciplined, and diligent,” – excellent attributes to complement her financial expertise – she finds balance in her life by enhancing the monastery grounds with her gardening skills, crocheting afghans of her own design, spending time in prayer and listening to good music and books on tape.



“I loved my grade school teachers. I believe they saw my vocation before I did.”

With that seed planted early in her heart, Sister Mary Catherine Stana, OSB, began her religious life as an aspirant while attending Saint Benedict Academy. In her senior year she officially entered the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh, continuing in the steps which led to her first profession in 1960. This year she celebrates 50 years of Religious Profession.

From 1960 – 1985, Sister Mary Catherine was loved by her students with whom she shared the excitement of learning new things, especially things in nature. In 1985 she transferred her compassionate, nurturing personality from teaching to a new venture as she became “founding mother” and director of the Benedictine Senior Center, where she continued to minister for 17 years. She now serves as companion and driver for the older Benedictine Sisters who need medical transportation.

During her years in religious life Sister Mary Catherine has grown to value the music and history of Benedictine Liturgy. She names as one of the highlights of her life “the awesome privilege to sing the Exultet at our Easter Vigil celebrations.”



“As a Benedictine Sister, living in Community and praying the Divine Office daily, has been fulfilling for me and has kept me grounded. If asked – Yes, I would do it again!”

These words were expressed by Sister Christine Makowski, OSB, as she reflected on her years of religious life. She and her sister, Julie Makowski, OSB, from East Vandergrift, are both celebrating 60 years of Benedictine profession.

“Coming from a loving and large family where prayer was important and lived, it seemed natural for me to be attracted to an order where Community Life and Prayer are lived,” says Sister Julie who entered four months before her sister. After that they celebrated all their important religious events together.

Sister Julie came because she was influenced by “visits to the monastery, some self discernment and a hint of God’s call.” Sister Christine had “a strong desire to be a ‘good person’ and live a meaningful life.” They both quickly grew to love Benedictine life; their generous service and positive attitudes reflect their faith in and gratefulness for God’s blessings.

Both Sisters spent years ministering in education. Sister Christine served longest, 32 years, at Saint Benedict Academy. She then became manager of Saint Benedict Hall, the building that was formerly St. Benedict Academy, and has served there for the past 25 years. After her years in the classroom,
Sister Julie spent most of her years where she ministers now - 24 years at Incarnation of the Lord Parish as office manager. She considers the parishioners there her “second family and a blessing!” She also served 19 years in Community ministry as Novice Mistress and Sub-Prioress.

Sister Christine and Sister Julie are both strong spiritual women who exude unwavering faith, generous service, appreciation and joy in living in religious community. They are extroverts who enjoy being with people, finding good in all situations. Wherever they are they draw others in to share their warmth, their peace, their love of God, and all are blessed by encounters with them.



“We cherish our Prayer Life and Community Living, and this has given me peace and a happy Religious life.”

These are the words of Sister Kathleen Mack, OSB, who is celebrating 70 years as a Benedictine, a deeply prayerful, spirit-filled woman who carries her years with grace and openness to change.

For 47 years, Sister Kathleen was known as an excellent, natural born teacher and administrator who could keep students in line with a mere look. Her students knew that she meant business, and also knew that she cared about them. She ministered longest, fourteen years, at Saint Benedict Academy.

Happy and friendly by nature, wise with the experience of years, she values her life in Benedictine Community with its charism of prayer, peace, community support and centeredness on Christ. Coming from a large family, she enjoys contact with nieces, nephews and their families. Reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching “Jeopardy,” and dining with friends help her to relax.



Celebrating 75 years of Religious Life, Benedictine Sister Valeria Osterrieder, OSB, has lived a full life, ministering 52 years as teacher and principal. “I’ve always enjoyed teaching – especially math,” she says. Not one to slow down, in 1988 she left educational settings to volunteer with seniors at the Benedictine Center. She says she loves being busy and being helpful. Despite failing vision and difficulty hearing, she continues to be interested in people and things going on around her. In addition to her interaction with her sisters in community, she now enriches her days listening to books and prayers on tape.

Sister Valeria came to Religious Life because of a sister who influenced her in the 6th and 7th grades. Community prayer and ministry have always been a source of satisfaction and comfort for her. Although she can now barely see the large print words on her special prayer book, her daily attendance at community prayer is a witness of her deeply-rooted fidelity.



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