The Benedictine Sisters at St. Gertrude Monastery
And let them first pray together, that so they may associate in peace.
~Rule of Benedict 53
Sister Marie Becker
Sister Marie, a native of Claymont, Delaware, entered the community in 1953 and was an educator most of her religious life. Sister was novice mistress for several years and served several terms on the community council. She has a Master of Arts degree from Manhattanville College and a Master of Science in Language Arts from the University of Delaware.
Sister Marie is the sacristan, who prepares the altar for the Eucharistic Celebration. She makes sure that everything is ready for Mass or for Monastic Prayer, welcomes the celebrant, and informs him of any liturgical needs. In addition to sacristy work, Sister Marie writes the community chronicles and keeps the community’s history and daily events up to date.
Early in the morning, one can find Sister in the kitchen preparing home-made bread or an evening meal and she can always be counted on to offer a helping hand in the kitchen.
Reading, doing puzzles, and Suduko are Sister Maries' favorite pastimes; she also enjoys watching the Phillies.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Cassidy
Sister Mary Elizabeth, a native of Wilmington, has served our Benedictine community, the diocese and the greater community in many ways. She has served on numerous community committees, taught elementary and junior high students and served as principal. Mary Elizabeth ministered in adult education and retreat work. She served on diocesan committees focused on education and religious life as well as on the board of Sacred Heart Village. She earned her bachelor's degree from Mount Saint Scholastica College and her masters degree from LaSalle University.
Sister Mary Elizabeth is one of several Sisters who acts as porter, a ministry that offers hospitality both to the caller and anyone visiting the monastery. If you contact the monastery, you will be greeted with her calm and friendly voice offering to assist you. Whenever guests arrive, one can find Sister present offering hospitality personified as expressed by St. Benedict; she knows how to make one feel very welcome.
Sister can often be found cleaning tables or vacuuming the floor. Sister is very interested in what is going on in the community and the federation, and she is willing to give her suggestions and recommendations for planning for the future.
Sister Mary DiMeglio
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Sister Mary had many of our Sisters as her teachers at Saint Elizabeth. She entered the community in 1975 and was successful as a teacher of special needs children and teenage clients. She has an Associate Degree in Library Science and a B.S. in Communications and earned her Masters in Special Education at Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sister Mary has worked in a library for over 20 years. Sister is friendly, kind, and helpful and has a knack for finding a desired book for a patron or a missing book for another library. She provides a listening ear for her co-workers.
Sister is the coordinator for community retreats and is also our community musician. She is the woman behind the music at Saint Gertrude's, playing the organ or keyboard during our liturgies and all of the community’s prayer and celebrations. She is co-director of our oblate program and makes sure all is ready for oblate gatherings.
Sister Mary likes music and reading. In her younger years, she also had fun when she was whitewater rafting, hiking and camping.
Sister Mary Agnes Dugan
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Sister Mary Agnes entered the community in 1954. Sister is a graduate of Saint Elizabeth High School and attended Villanova University and Loyola College. She taught primary grades for a number of years.
Sister Mary Agnes has worked at the Benedictine Schools Program and Services for the past 43 years. She is dorm mother, which means she gets the children up in the morning, teaches them how to dress and make their bed before taking them to breakfast. She meets them again at 3 pm to help them with their play clothes and gets them a snack. In between, Sister is director of the Industrial Training Center. All her work is done on the computer, where she prepares the payroll for the open community. In addition, she is the one who orders the uniform shirts and makes sure they get embroidered.
She is a very dedicated person both to her children and to her work. Many tasks not included in her job description are accomplished quietly and efficiently by Sister.
Sister Gerard Falkowska
Sister Gerard, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, served as principal of Saint Elizabeth Elementary School for more than thirty years. She earned her bachelors' and masters' degrees in administration from Villanova University. In addition to her dedication to education, Sister was very much committed to Pacem in Terris, an organization dedicated to Peace on Earth. In 1998, Sister was chosen for the "Peacemaker Among Us" award in Delaware.
Presently, Sister Gerard, as sub-prioress, looks after the sisters and the monastery needs when the prioress is unavailable. Sister can often be seen decorating the chapel and the dining room, or writing anniversary cards to the priests in the diocese. Her quiet manner makes her very approachable, and she is always willing to be of help. As sub-prioress, Sister Gerard is a member of the community council and she is responsible for taking the minutes of each meeting.
She is very proud of her Polish heritage.
Sister Catherine Godfrey
A native of New York City, Sister Catherine, Prioress, entered the Little Sisters of the Poor in 1963 and received her Degree in Nursing in 1972 from College Misericordia, Dallas, Pennsylvania. Sister worked in long term care as Director of Nursing for nearly fifteen years. Sister transferred to the Benedictine Sisters in 1991 and worked for many years at the Benedictine School as a registered nurse.
Sister Catherine Godfrey, as our prioress, has the responsibility to care for the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of the Sisters. In addition, Sister assumes the daily overseeing of the monastery and all of its needs. As spiritual leader of the community, she makes sure there is ongoing formation and she leads prayer on a daily basis. As a registered nurse, Sister Catherine enjoys hands on care of the Sisters and visits Sisters who may not be feeling well. She often accompanies her sisters to doctor’s appointments and oversees their individual needs and in general, makes sure she is available to each member of the community.
She prides herself on her Irish heritage, enjoys frequent contact with close friends and is an avid reader and shopper.
Sister Margaret Mary Graney
Sister Margaret Mary is a native of Wilmington, Delaware who taught children for thirty-one years.
Sister helped start a prayer community, Faith and Light, in Wilmington. This community is for and with mentally challenged adults. She is very much involved in interacting socially and spiritually with the members of the Faith and Light community.
Sister Margaret Mary recently left many years counseling drug and alcohol dependent individuals and has just assumed the role of manager of Sacred Heart Village II, a senior living complex for low-income housing. Among her duties are to assure that residents’ needs are attended to and that the building meets the necessary HUD requirements.
She especially enjoys interacting with the residents.
Sister Catherine Higley
A native Wilmingtonian, Sister Catherine Higley was first drawn to the Benedictine Way of Life as a result of her relationships with sisters as a student at Saint Elizabeth High School. She entered the community in 1959 and spent fifteen years as an educator before pursuing a nursing ministry. Sister Catherine earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from Seton Hall University and a B.S. in Nursing from the Catholic University of America.
In 1983, Sister started her ministry as a hospice nurse and spent twenty years in that role. This particular type of nursing can be emotionally draining, but Sister felt privileged to be involved in her patients' final journey.
Sister Catherine Higley, who is a very good cook, is in charge of the kitchen. She is also in charge of the Development Office where she spends many hours soliciting financial assistance and writing personal thank-you notes to all those who are so generous to the community. The community’s RB Notes are planned, written, and edited by Sister Catherine as well.
She enjoys cross stitching in her spare time.
Sister Ann Miller
Sister Ann is a native of Wilmington, DE who entered our community on July 26, 1943. She spent 22 years teaching at the various schools that were staffed by the Ridgely Benedictine Sisters. In 1973, Sister returned to Ridgely to teach and work with developmentally disabled adults. She considers it a privilege to have served in that ministry for 25 years. Sister Ann earned a Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist from Cardinal Stritch College in WI, where she also received post-graduate certification to teach Special Education.
In 1998, Sister Ann returned to the monastery and is currently co-coordinator of the Hildegard Wing, the guest section of the monastery where she welcomes all overnight guests. Sister makes sure that the wing is ready for an unexpected guest and the kitchen is always stocked with goodies. The guest wing is decorated for every holiday and season- it's no wonder people feel welcome to return for a time of prayer and relaxation.
Sister Ann enjoys listening to music, reading and playing cards.
Sister Eleanor Murray
Sister Eleanor, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, taught in parochial schools as a lay teacher for eleven years before entering our community in 1984. Sister earned her degree in child development at the University of Delaware and did graduate work at LaSalle University. For four years, Sister served the community as Vocations Director.
Sister Eleanor Murray works in the community's finance office, distributing the monthly Sisters’ budget, paying bills, and caring of the Sisters’ financial needs.
She recently received a certificate in spiritual direction from Neumann University and has begun spiritual direction counseling.
Sister Eleanor enjoys music and plays the recorder for many community celebrations and will lend her voice whenever needed. She also enjoys joining her family in playing Irish music. Puzzles, books and crafting fill Sister’s leisure time.
Sister Mary Lou Robino
Sister Mary Lou Robino, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, entered our community in 1955. She has a B.S. in Secondary Education and spent her early years as both teacher and principal. In addition, she directed the Girls’ Choir for fourteen years. Because she felt called to work with people with social/emotional problems, Sister obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work and spent 26 years at a Catholic agency offering services to clients with a variety of needs. One of her early desires was to be a school counselor and so in 1998, she became Holy Angels Elementary School counselor.
Sister Mary Lou volunteered for several years in the Emergency Department of St. Francis Hospital where she visited the patient's to ensure their needs were being met. Because of her visibility, the patients often made requests of her for assistance or a prayer and she was often referred to as, “My guardian angel.” She is also a member of St. Francis Junior Board and offers her services in the Polly-Anna Gift Shop waiting on staff and visitors.
Sister is co-director of the Oblates and the oblate schola, which, under her direction, sings Lauds at morning praise and at the Eucharistic celebration every month. Sisters Mary and Mary Lou plan all community liturgies and celebrations.
Sister Mary Lou is very involved in community activities, and in her spare time she enjoys singing, theater, gardening, cooking and crafts. She says reading and quiet times in prayer are what energize her most.
Sister Vincent Schroeder
A native of Wilmington, Delaware and a graduate of Saint Elizabeth High School, Sister Vincent entered our community in 1958. She has a B.A. in Education from Seton Hall University and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Delaware. Sister taught first grade for twelve years and, for the next 36 years, ministered at Saint Elizabeth High School teaching psychology and theology. Sister Vincent also served as librarian and supervising teacher at St. Elizabeth.
Sister Vincent helps Sister Mary Lou in the archives keeping historical records of the community. She helps in the kitchen to clean up after each meal—a service that is most welcomed by the cook, and she always has a warm greeting for any guest.
She is known as an animal lover and while there are no pets in the monastery today (much to her dismay), there are always birds and squirrels in the monastery courtyard. Sister can often be found feeding the birds and enjoying being with God’s little creatures. In her free time, Sister likes to listen to quiet music and read.
Sister Marlies Tomczyk
Sister Marlies was born in Heerlen, Holland and speaks Dutch and German fluently. She is also proficient in American Sign Language. She worked at the Benedictine School for many years as a residential dorm supervisor and classroom teacher's aide.
She recently assumed the responsibility of working in the community finance office and is learning all that is necessary to keep the community’s finances in order. Sister is also the go-to-person when there is a tech need in the community. She makes sure that the monastic prayers are ready on the Kindle for the Sisters and will help those of us who are less technologically knowledgeable.
Sister Marlies is a trained cosmetologist and is seen often fixing one of the Sister’s hair. Sister is adept at pergamano, making beautiful, one-of-a-kind cards in her spare time.