Our Charism, Mission, and Core Values

Our Charism:

We are Benedictine women of Yankton, SD, sharing our gift of seeking God through prayer, work, study and community life.

Our Mission:

Rooted in our rural heritage and growing in relationship with God and one another in monastic community, we live a life of prayer, work, and lectio by which we serve God and God’s people in our time and place.

Our Core Values:

As we seek God, we consider these three values as central to our lives. Flowing from our mission statement, the Gospel, and the Rule of St. Benedict, they are values which we invite others to share with us.


“Seek God in everyone and everything, every day of your life.”

  • Seeking God in our prayer together and savoring the word of Scripture;
  • Listening for the Divine voice in the stillness of our own hearts;
  • Regarding the ordinary with reverence: our work and prayer, people, places, material things, events

Rural Origin: We are rural in origin and are, therefore, close to the soil and to prairie culture. Throughout our history, our community has known the extremes of Dakota weather, along with drought, blizzards and tornadoes. We have also enjoyed the changing seasons, the Dakota sunsets, the song of the meadowlark, and the wide expanse of blue sky and green fields. Always we seek to be aware of God’s presence.

Rural Environment: As with the pioneer prairie women, the rural environment has generated a spirit of hope, the capacity for adventure and risk, courage in hardship, simplicity of life, respect for manual work, and acceptance of responsibilities in areas not ordinarily considered open to women. As part of our rural roots, we value natural beauty and its counter part, “the work of our hands.” In all ways we seek to be aware of God’s presence.


  • Building trustful and loving relationships with God, with one another, with planet earth, and with our deepest selves;
  • Striving to give and to receive in balance and honesty for the good of the world;
  • Practicing collaboration and cooperation;
  • Learning the daily arts of forgiveness and peacemaking.

How does this work on a daily basis? Each sister also belongs to a living group of 4–12 people with whom she shares time and living area. There are 10 living room/kitchenette spaces throughout the monastery, with names like Subiaco (Benedict’s first monastery), Jericho, or Emmaus. Sisters gather for noonday prayer in their living room and also hear how everyone’s day is going. After supper the Sisters pray compline, visit, watch TV or play games with their group.


  • Warmly welcoming others as Christ — those with whom we live as well as guests and strangers;
  • Opening our hearts and our doors to those pushed to the edges of life: the sick, the needy, the elderly;
  • Sharing communal and personal gifts in compassionate service to others.

Hospitality in the Sisters words:

” To impress upon us the privilege of serving each other, St. Benedict devoted an entire detailed chapter of the Holy Rule (Chapter 35) on the hospitality of guest. He stressed how important it is for the sisters to one another and that concept continues in the daily life in our monastery.” — Ss. Joelle Bauer and Jill Young

“The Rule of Benedict states that care is to be taken of the sick as if they were Christ Himself. Christ is present in the sick, the elderly, and the needy. In caring for their needs in a welcoming, healing, and compassionate way, we serve Christ and respond to the call of the Gospel.” — S. Sarah Schultz

“Art, music, and good literature serve to awaken within the human spirit a certain calling to continue the journey to rise above what weighs one down and points us beyond what is. Creative work, tastefully done, can lift the soul of a person tired of the ordinary. I’ve seen this happen when people walking down the hall slow and then stop to read and reflect or simply delight in what they see. That is hospitality in a sense given to them, and they often leave with a smile.” — S. Louise Marie Goerttertz

Reflection of Love at Sacred Heart Monastery: Assisting one another in the dining room fosters love. It is an opportunity to minister to one another. Serving in the dining room is also an opportunity to connect with all the community and make life pleasant for them. For me this an important responsibility in my life. The daily mundane work of setting up the dining room, making sure there is enough food, carrying the trays for the sisters who need assistance and cleaning up afterwards is a very humbling privilege for me. It is a constant reminder of my dedication to serve God, the church, my religious family and the whole world.

Our Name and Logo

At the time of our founding in Maryville, MO in 1880 the monastery was named St. Gertrude, a 13th century Benedictine mystic who had a great devotion to the Heart of Christ.

Our community embraced the name of Sacred Heart Convent in 1890, as they settled into a former convent and boarding school under the patronage of the Sacred Heart. This was located just north of the residence of Bishop Martin Marty, on a Missouri River bluff which is our current home. Following the Second Vatican Council’s directive to renew the charism of the founder, the Sisters began using the name Monastery rather than Convent to reflect our monastic heritage.

Sister Mary Kay Panowicz is the designer of our community logo. The squared cross shape is known as a Maltese or often called a Benedictine cross. The heart represents the heart of the community, the one heart of many Sisters, united in the heart of Christ. The heart is open to permit a flow inward and outward. The wavy lines represent the love received

and love given, to one another and to all those to whom we minister. This love is, of course, empowered by the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The flowing lines also remind us of the Missouri River that flows just below the monastery and of our baptismal call.

This lovely icon to the right was written by the late S. Mary Charles McGough, OSB, a member of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN. It also hangs near the entry way of the monastery. Each year on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Yankton Benedictines communally pray a prayer of dedication to the Sacred Heart. You can recite the prayer as well.

One Heart, One Soul is the motto of the Yankton Benedictines. This window was above the doorway of one of our early buildings and is enshrined today at the entrance of our monastery.




We are Benedictine women of Yankton, SD, sharing our gift of seeking God through prayer, work, study and community life.

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Sacred Heart Monastery

Sacred Heart Monastery

We are Benedictine women of Yankton, SD, sharing our gift of seeking God through prayer, work, study and community life.

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