Sister Margaret Nelson to Celebrate 50th Jubilee

Sister Margaret Nelson - 50th Anniversary of Perpetual Monastic Profession – June 9, 2018

“Prefer nothing whatever to Christ,” from the Rule of St. Benedict has guided Sister Margaret Nelson through her 50 years as a Benedictine Sister of Annunciation Monastery. On June 9, she will celebrate her 50th anniversary of monastic profession with family, friends and her monastic community at Annunciation Monastery.

From grade school on, Sister Margaret felt called to become a sister. She admits, “But it took a few years for me to say "yes" to that call.” At 10 months old, Sister Margaret was not expected to live. She had encephalitis which left her in a week-long coma. Miraculously, she survived. “The only damage is that my tongue and lips are paralyzed, making it hard for me to talk and swallow,” she explained.

Being physically challenged at such a young age helped Sister Margaret develop a close relationship with God. I have a wonderful, supportive family, but sometimes only God could help me in tough situations. “Like any good friendship, one always wants it to go deeper. I was hungry for a deeper experience of God and thought living with others with the same focus would help me grow closer to God.”

Sister Margaret graduated from Priory High, which was operated by the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, where she says she “observed the sisters at close range.” "I felt this inner tugging to be a sister, but I didn't want to give up what I thought was freedom." Leaving her options open, she attended Minot State University for one year. She became homesick for the sisters, the monastery, and the beauty surrounding the monastery. Sister Margaret became a postulant in 1966 and made her first vows on July 11, 1968.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mary and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa.

Sister Margaret served 21 years as a writer/editor in the Office of Public Affairs at the University of Mary. “I felt my writing ministry would help the college survive and grow. It made my work meaningful and a mission. I enjoyed doing something that would help people get an education in a Catholic, Christian and Benedictine atmosphere.”

She served as monastery secretary to three prioresses, Sisters Susan Lardy, Susan Berger, and Nancy Miller, over a span of 20 years. A gifted writer, she also used her skills to write and edit monastery publications and reflections. She has the gift of capturing the spirit of sisters when they pass away by writing poignant obituaries about their lives of faith and service. She continues to write and edit when called upon.
Sister Margaret remembers telling God, "OK, you can have your way, I'll be a sister." She now says, “I have found more freedom for spiritual growth, career options and opportunities to love and care for people than I thought possible. My friendship with God continues to grow and deepen.

‘Gratitude fills my heart as I reflect on 50 years as a Benedictine Sister of Annunciation Monastery. I treasure my family, friends, coworkers, and especially my Benedictine Sisters who inspire me on this journey of growing in the love of Jesus. “Prefer nothing whatever to Christ” still guides me. To have Christ dwell in my heart has helped me in the ups and downs of life. Compared to 50 years ago, I am a different person. I am learning to let go of the less important aspects of life, seeking to be at peace and to receive all as Christ.”


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