Sr. Idelle Badt
Sister Idelle grew up in Savage, MT. She is one of three daughters born to Clydette Boyer (Williston, ND) and Robert Badt (Savage, MT). Idelle shares, “I had the same childhood experiences as most people. I dated and did the normal teenage things. I certainly didn’t consider myself ‘sister material.’ My family didn’t have a lot of connections to sisters; in fact, we were kind of Christmas and Easter church people.”
Idelle earned a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Dickinson State University. After graduating, she was offered an opportunity to move to New York to be a nanny for a year. The experience confirmed that she is a true caregiver at heart. She accepted the position of grant administrator for Trenton Indian Service Area near Williston. She discovered her gift for writing grants and ran a youth program. Turning community problems into solutions inspired her to continue exploring opportunities to make a difference.
She moved to Sidney, MT, and worked for Richland County Health Department as RSVP director. “This was my favorite job ever,” she explained. “I wrote grants and was a liaison for all of the programs for the elderly. I just love, love, love working with the elderly.”
Idelle got involved with music at her parish and participated in Taizé prayer services. When a friend invited her to a Cum Christo weekend, little did Idelle realize it would become a turning point in her life. “One of the sisters talked about her vocation and she kept pointing at me, saying, ‘You are going to be a nun.’ People teased me about this, but I kept thinking, ‘How does she know?’ I had actually been thinking about it for several years but hadn’t told anyone.”
Intrigued by the thought that God might be calling her to religious life, Idelle began spiritual direction with a sister who encouraged her to journal about her thoughts and the pros and cons of becoming a sister. Idelle was also encouraged to visit different religious communities to experience the prayer and daily life of the sisters. After visiting Annunciation Monastery, Idelle felt she had to look no further. “After my first visit, everyone at work could tell there was something different about me. I wanted to go back to Annunciation Monastery. It’s hard to explain how I was drawn to this place; it just felt like home.”
“The meaning of receiving Eucharist changed me. It was transformational. I have realized Church is not a building, it's ME when I leave the church. When I leave, I am literally the Body of Christ. What a gift we have in the Eucharist!”
Rule of St. Benedict
“Everyone is welcomed and treated as Christ at Annunciation Monastery. Your background doesn’t matter when you walk through the door. Love abides here, no matter who you are. We are all equals.”
“To me, living in community is similar to a good marriage. We share common goods, we relate to one another on a deep level. We talk of things that are important and we care for each other.”
“Praying with the sisters grounds me every day and brings peace and a sense of stability.”
Care of the Sick
“The care of the sick and elderly is what really stands out to me. This is where I feel my strength lies. I feel called to help others when they need me.”
“One of the themes for my first profession is the second step of humility from the Rule of Benedict. It reminds us to love not our own will nor take pleasure in the satisfaction of our desires. It is easy to become caught up in what we want for ourselves, but it is far more important to follow what God wants. I am also called to be obedient to the prioress of Annunciation Monastery and my monastic community. This requires surrender.”
“I started out setting goals like, ‘If I make this much money, or get this position or title, I will be successful and happy.’ Then I reached those goals and I still felt something was missing. When I became completely open to where God was leading me, things really started to fall into place. I have learned a lot about myself over the past year. I’m peaceful in the knowledge I am called to this life. I now see my life as an action. It's how I treat people. I don't want to have to tell people I'm a sister. I'd rather have them tell by the way I treat others, by how I am present to them on a deeper level. I didn't choose this life, it was divine intervention!”
“My first degree is in music. I feel blessed to share my gift with my monastic community in prayer and at events. I learned to play the ukulele and mandolin this past year. It is nothing for me to bring my ukulele into a sister's room and play and sing with them. Sometimes I go to the sister's cemetery and bring the mandolin. I sit and play for the sisters”
After earning my degree in social work from the University of Mary, I wondered how I could best use my gifts. While on retreat, I envisioned myself at the bedside of the sick. Having been present at the bedside of some of our elder sisters, I sang to them and helped them go to God. I felt a level of comfort with the process of dying and death.
Interestingly, a job opportunity arose at the Church of Corpus Christi and I became pastoral care associate, which allows me to care for others, work with Scripture, music and my degree in social work. Often, when someone dies, family members don't know where to start. I try to meet with people when they are sick, and their families, so I can offer the support and encouragement they wand or need. The last best gift you can give someone is a good death. The favorite part of my ministry is going to daily Mass and getting to know the people in the pews.
At the monastery, I love to spend time with the elders in community, hear their stories, and help with their needs. I also enjoy time outdoors in the monastery garden.
I have no regrets, whatsoever, about my decision to become a Benedictine Sister of Annunciation Monastery. I just can't imagine my life anywhere else or doing anything else. This is where I belong, with my monastic community--and I am so grateful!
*Sister Idelle also serves as vocation director at Annunciation Monastery. If you are interested in learning more about monastic life, please feel free to contact Sister Idelle at: firstname.lastname@example.org