100th Jubilee celebration held for Benedictine Sisters

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The "Raeville Ave Maria" was performed at Sunday's celebratory Mass. Ten sisters stepped to the front and led their fellow sisters and those in attendance in the song. The lyrics are believed to be written by Raeville's first prioress, Sr. Diemud Gerber, while living in Raeville.

By Dennis & Lynell Morgan


RAEVILLE — Sunday was a day of celebration and giving thanks to the Lord for the men, women and children who filled St. Bonaventure Catholic Church.

Mission Benedictine Sisters, from locations around the world, dotted the pews in their white and black garb – a few added blue sashes. They were joined by Archbishop George Lucas and numerous priests from the Omaha Diocese for the 100th Jubilee Celebration of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters coming to Raeville, Nebraska.

With a seating capacity of 650 persons, there was nary an open spot to be found for the 10:30 a.m. service which was followed by a dinner and short program at the fellowship hall. Persons arriving 30 minutes early for the mass had to walk a spell as the parking lot outside the church had filled up by that time and open space was hard to find.

At the conclusion of Communion, approximately ten sisters gathered at the front of the church to lead the remaining sisters and those in attendance in the Raeville Ave Maria. While the source of this version of the Ave Maria is unknown, some believe it was composed by the first Superior, Sr. Diemud Gerber, OSB, while living in Raeville.

For more on the history of the Benedictine Sisters and the celebration, see this week’s Elgin Review.

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Elgin’s Sister Patricia Hoffman (right) enjoyed some lively conversation, and a delicious celebratory meal, with Missionary Benedictine Sr. Cecilia Polt among many others.
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Father John Norman of St. Bonaventure Catholic Church displays the framed photograph gifted to the church.