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July 16, 2012

Sister Michaela Hedican Elected 16th Prioress of Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MN

Sister Michaela Hedican was elected prioress on Sunday, February 27, by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict. She will be installed as the religious community’s 16th prioress on Sunday, June 5, at Sacred Heart Chapel in St. Joseph, Minn. The public are invited to a Eucharist celebrating the installation at 1:30 p.m., followed by a reception.

Sister Michaela served as prioress of Saint Bede Monastery in Eau Claire, Wis., from 2008 until the community joined the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict in August 2010. She was also sub-prioress of that community from 1988-1992 and president of the Federation of Saint Benedict, of which both communities were members, from 2003-2009. Additionally, she has served as director of the Saint Bede Retreat and Conference Center, novice director, vocation director and liturgy director for the community in Eau Claire over the years.

Born in Virginia, Minn., in 1945, Sister Michaela entered Saint Bede Monastery in Eau Claire in 1962. A graduate of the College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., she was a middle school teacher from 1966-1984. Sister Michaela has master’s degrees in religious education from Seattle University and in theology with an emphasis on monastic studies from Saint John’s University School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn.

Sister Michaela will replace Sister Nancy Bauer, who has served as prioress for six years. The Sisters elect a prioress for a designated period of time, unlike the monks of Saint John’s Abbey. The prioress is the spiritual leader of the community, which currently has 292 Sisters. She is also the chief executive officer of the corporation. She also represents the monastery on the board of trustees of the College of Saint Benedict and the corporate board of St. Cloud Hospital, two institutions founded by Saint Benedict’s Monastery.

The canonical election concluded Sunday afternoon after a discernment process that began in October 2010 and culminated in a three-day process that began Friday, February 25. She was chosen from among nine candidates surfaced during the process. The discernment and election process is coordinated by a team of Sisters and directed by two Sisters from other Benedictine communities. The election was observed by Susan Hutchens, OSB, a Sister at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Ill., the president of the Federation of St. Benedict.

Sister Michaela currently lives in Eau Claire, Wis., where she has been working on the sale of the Saint Bede property and the continuing operation of the monastery facility. In the next few months, she will move to Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph and assemble a leadership team.