Katie Cooper to celebrate Final Monastic Profession
“If you had told me 12 years ago that I would be a Benedictine Sister, I would have said that you must be kidding,” grins Sister Katie as she sits at her desk in Spirit Center.
She muses on her careers as a telephone company agent, manager of a small campground, and teacher. “For ten years, God was training me for this and I didn’t even realize it because this is where I’m able to use my gifts… I’ve always loved working with people.” She recently began working with people on a new level, as she is a newly-certified spiritual director, with an expertise in Lectio Divina. She finds great joy in living in this place set apart for Christ. Even one of her grandsons, during one visit, perhaps also sensing the majestic mystery of this place, remarked, “Grandma, you live in a castle!”
Sister Katie grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania. She was initially baptized Methodist but as she grew was greatly influenced by her mother's love and faith for the Catholic Church. “The first time I ever went into a Catholic Church,” she recalls, “I could feel that God was present there in a unique way.”
She first came to St. Gertrude’s on a “Come and See Weekend” in February of 2000. “For some reason, I felt like I was at home. I knew I was on holy ground. I could feel it… and every time I’d come back for a different retreat—it didn’t matter when I came—the Sacred Heart would be saying, ‘Follow me, follow me.’”
When she began to better understand Benedictine Spirituality, she realized that this was how she had been trying to live her life all along. She became an Oblate in 2004 and says that even now, “I’m never tired of praying morning and evening prayer. There is always a new message there from Christ.” Sister Katie made First Profession on November 15, 2008 and will make Final Profession this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Monastery chapel.
“My goal is to help His kingdom come by doing His will and continuing to make Christ the center of my life. I want to develop an even closer relationship so that He is my center, my hub, and from that to do God’s will of serving others in whatever way God wants me to.”
When asked what Benedictine Spirituality is to her, Sister Katie answered, “Doing the extraordinary in ordinary daily life, being able to have that personal relationship with Christ through prayer and serving others—whether that be my Sisters or our guests—trying to follow the Rule (of Benedict), following the monastic way of life on a daily basis, and trying to incorporate moderation, balance, simplicity, obedience, and peace-making within the community, the world, and myself.
“I like everything about it… being able to talk with people, setting up their retreats, and giving spiritual direction. More and more people are searching for a way to slow down and look within themselves because there is so much chaos in the world, very similar to when St. Benedict was alive. They need time to slow down and just be. That’s something we can offer and provide for them here. If they are not sure what their spiritual journey is, we are all certified to walk that journey as a companion with them, through spiritual direction. Although we listen, the real spiritual director is the Holy Spirit.”
Sister Katie's Final Monastic Profession is this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Monastery Chapel. There is a ceremony and Mass followed by a reception in the dining room. All are welcome.
Sister Katie Cooper receives her certificate in Spiritual Direction in 2010. She is a member of the Spirituality Ministry team at the Monastery of St. Gertrude.