Monday, February 26, 2007

Sister Edith Bogue, blogging nun

If you’d like a glimpse into the life of a Benedictine sister who was raised as an atheist, deepened her Christian faith through English historical dance and teaches sociology at the College of St. Scholastica, check out Sister Edith Bogue’s blog.

“Monastic Musings,” an online diary that she began in July, is a blend of her thoughts on faith and her view of the world from a social science perspective.

“Welcome to the interior of my brain, vaguely censored,” said Sister Edith, a member of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth.
She was an atheist until she was called into the principal’s office for some misdeed as a third-grader. With the naive thinking of a child, she told herself that if the principal didn’t call her parents, she’d know God exists. When there was no call, she followed through with her vow and looked into religion. In fourth grade, she started attending Sunday school with a neighbor. In high school, she’d get up early on Sundays to visit churches in her Chicago neighborhood.

While attending Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., she met regularly with a priest to learn about Catholicism. She was baptized the month before she graduated. She went on to graduate school in Chicago and became a hospital social worker before deciding to teach in college. She spent 14 years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor working on a doctorate in social work and sociology.

One day a counselor asked her if she could pick what she wanted to do, what would it be? “Oh, I’d be a nun,” she replied and then wondered where that thought came from. The counselor advised that such a quick answer must mean something.

When she got home, Sister Edith found a magazine for people considering a Catholic religious vocation that she had picked up earlier. She filled out a postcard requesting information and got responses from more than 150 religious communities. Then vocation directors began calling her. “I almost gave up because it was so overwhelming,” she said.

During a prayer retreat at a Benedictine monastery, she was invited to stay for dinner and evening prayers. The experience of being with about 100 sisters praying out loud together in liturgical prayer touched her deeply. “I felt like I walked into my own home for the first time,” Sister Edith said.


She narrowed her search to Benedictine monasteries and started what she jokingly referred to as her “bed and breakfast tour.” In 1996-97, she visited seven or eight and went to at least four of them three times.

During a religious retreat, she dreamed that God pointed out to her where she was afraid by marking areas of her life with a yellow highlighter. Her visit to St. Scholastica was highlighted so she thought she should explore why God was calling her attention to it. She returned to Duluth because she thought God might be calling her here.

In 1998, Sister Edith became an affiliate of St. Scholastica Monastery and visited every six weeks. In 1999, she became a postulant and moved into the monastery. She made her final vows on Jan. 15, 2006. [....Snip] Duluth NewsTribune

Sister Edith's Comments on the story in the Duluth newspaper.

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