Sister Mary James Dippold

I was born and raised in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, the home of St. Joseph Monastery, the first Benedictine Monastery of women in the United States.  The Sisters were my neighbors, my teachers, my friends.  Through twelve years of Catholic education, the positive influence of the Sisters on my development grew steadily stronger.   I can’t think of a time in my life when I did not want to be a Benedictine Sister.

Because my father was not well, I was needed at home to help support a younger brother and sister.  So, after my graduation from high school, I took an office position with Speer Carbon and Keystone Carbon Companies.  Even though I enjoyed my work and my co-workers, I knew that one day I would enter the monastery.  That day came six years later in September, 1957.

Being a Benedictine Sisters provides the opportunity for many different ways of serving God’s people. I graduated from Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania with a degree in education and spent years as a teacher, a principal and an art instructor. I also filled many positions within the monastery.  I was asked, at different times, to serve the Community as assistant treasurer, supervisor of lay employees, secretary to the Prioress, Council member, Sub-Prioress and house coordinator.  Currently, I enjoy giving private art lessons.

In July of 2014, St. Joseph Monastery in St. Marys, Pennsylvania closed.  I transferred my vows to the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh who reside in Bakerstown, Pennsylvania.  After a period of adjustment, I will reach out in service to the people of this area in whatever ways the Lord opens for me.

I have enjoyed all my years in religious life and I thank God every day for calling me to be one of his followers.  Like any vocation in life, it has its ups and downs, but the blessing received in living Community life, serving the Lord and God’s people, are a hundredfold.  I would encourage anyone who feels God is calling her to this Benedictine way of life, to discern this call prayerfully and to be willing to give it a try.



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