Meet Sister Jennifer Kehrwald
“Being a native of Yankton I was taught by the Benedictine Sisters all through grade and high school. As I neared high school graduation I prayed a lot about what I should do next and felt called to religious life. Like all high school graduates I wanted to go someplace farther from home. So I toyed with joining the Medical Missionary Sisters. I didn’t have a missionary bone in my body though and when a Benedictine Sister whom I respected invited me to ‘come and try it out’ I did.
As time went on and I learned more about Benedictine life my call became stronger and with God’s grace I preserved through all the ups and downs. What I didn’t expect though was to find a deeper call to foster community wherever I was called to minister. This became for me the meaning of who I am as Benedictine.
I graduated from college with a secondary education degree and began teaching. Helping to create a supportive community among my coworkers was important to me. Whether I was in Memphis ministering to battered and abused children, accompanying high school students on a foreign study trip, functioning as a health care administer creating a sense of community among the staff and residents was of prime importance. No matter where I was, I was bringing the charism of my Benedictine community with me. There is much talk about creativity and efficiency in the workplace. There is not enough talk about how a caring supportive environment nourishes creativity and efficiency in the workplace. I will continue to live out this call to form community wherever I am and I have wonderful memories of the relationships I have already enjoyed as a result.”