Benedictine sister, monks profess vows on Feast of St. Benedict

Categories: Around the Diocese

The Visitor

On July 11 — the feast day of St. Benedict of Nursia — a woman from Louisville, Ky., took the next step in her discernment: professing her first vows as  Benedictine Sister Tammy Shoemaker.

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She first came to St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph in January 2009, became an affiliate in July 2011 and entered as a postulant in August 2013.

“I was drawn to the monastic way of life — living, praying and working together with sisters seeking God in their life,” Sister Tammy said. “I was drawn by the joyful, spirited hospitality I felt every time I visited. I loved the Liturgy of the Hours and the way we chanted together. I loved the warm feeling inside when I visited and my desire to be back with the sisters when I left.”

As she takes this next step in her discernment, she said she is increasingly aware of God’s unconditional love for her.

“A priest recently said, ‘We don’t have to be outstanding to be loved by God.’  What great hope this gives me that God loves me in all my ordinariness,” she said.

Sister Tammy, 46, looks forward to growing more deeply in her commitment to seek God with her sisters in the community.

“It excites me that the Rule of St. Benedict has been around for over 1,500 years and still sustains us today,” she said. “I am looking forward to embracing a smaller community and being innovative in creating a new vision that honors our history but fits what we need for our changing community and world.”

Sister Tammy’s new role at the monastery will be to work in the development and communications office.

Benedictine men take vows 

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Pictured above from left are Brothers Lucian Lopez, Richard Crawford, Eric Pohlman and Isaiah Frederick. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s Abbey)

The same day, four Benedictine men made their final professions at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville.

* Brother Lucian Lopez, 37, grew up in West Texas and began religious life with a Carmelite community. Discerning after four years that he was no longer called to live with the Carmelites, he went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and Spanish and a master’s degree in history. Brother Lucian teaches theology and Spanish at St. John’s Preparatory School and enjoys drawing, computer animation, singing and playing the guitar, working in his herb garden and making homemade incense.

* Brother Richard Crawford, 32, is from Sioux City, Iowa. After graduating from St. John’s with a bachelor’s degree in theater, Brother Richard spent five years as the facilities operations manager in Fine Arts Programming at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. Inspired by the lives of the monks and sisters he got to know, he decided to join the Catholic Church during his college years at St. John’s. Brother Richard serves in the abbey business office as a staff accountant and at St. John’s Preparatory School as the technical director of the theater department. He enjoys reading, cooking, baking, singing and gardening.

* Brother Isaiah Frederick, 42, was born in Puyallup, Wash., and grew up in Washington, New Mexico and Arizona.  A graduate of St. John’s University, he majored in accounting and was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Following graduation in 1995, he spent four years in the Army as a field artillery officer and then 10 years as an auditor in public accounting.  He was also a special agent with the F.B.I. for one year.  In 2008, he felt called to religious life and returned to St. John’s. Following service in the abbey business office, Brother Isaiah is now studying for the priesthood at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

* Brother Eric Pohlman, 33, grew up on a farm near Delphos, Ohio.  He has two bachelor’s degrees: one from the University of Dayton, Ohio, in religious studies, and another from Ohio State University, Columbus, in agriculture. He also has a master’s degree from Ohio State University in Columbus in building systems management. His current work assignments include duties with the abbey vocation office, abbey woodworking and the St. John’s Fire Department.  For recreation he enjoys biking and swimming.

* Additionally, Brother Aidan Putnam, 36, made his first vows.

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Brother Aidan is from Oakland,
Calif., where for several years he managed a café, acted semiprofessionally with a California theater company and was active as a minister of faith formation in his parish. He has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from the University of California-Santa Cruz, as well as an MFA in writing from New College of California. Brother Aidan will continue to manage the abbey’s Facebook account and will be teaching theater at St. John’s Preparatory School as well as directing the school’s fall production.