Monastic Congregaation History

Three sisters came from Saint Walburg Convent in Eichstat, Bavaria to the United States in 1852 at the invitation of Rev. Boniface Wimmer, OSB. later Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Led by Sister Benedicta Riepp, the little band settled in Saint Mary's, Pennsylvania, the place from which missions and convents developed rapidly over the next 50 years.


In 1878, the first attempts were made to join the independent houses into a congregation. On February 25, 1922, the Apostolic See approved the Constitution and grnted official approbation to the Congregation of Saint Scholastica. This congregation consisted of ten monasteries in seven states. 


In 1974, the "Congregation" was designated "Federation" of Saint Scholastica to more accurately reflect the actual nature of this monastic structure. Today there are seventeen monasteries in fourteen states and Mexico. The Constitutions, call Call to Life, were first published in 1974. After several revisions, they were given formal approval by the Comgregation for Religious and Secular Institutes on February 10, 1988. In 2010 the Chapter of the Federation approved new Specific norms of Call t Life. At the 2014 Chapter there were very few minor changes to the 2010 edition. 

Presidents of the Congregation/Federation of St. Scholastica

Congregation President 1: Mother Aloysia Northman, 1923-1924

Congregation President 2: Mother Lucy Dooley, 1924-1950

Congregation President 3: Mother Alfred Schroll, 1950-1962

Congregation President 4: Sister Mary Susan Sevier, 1962-1971

Federation President (1) 5: Sister Joan Chittister, 1971-1978

Federation President (2) 6: Sister Johnette Putnam, 1978-1990

Federation President (3) 7: Sister Regina Crowley, 1990-1998

Federation President (4) 8: Sister Esther Fangman, 1998-2010

Federation President (5) 9: Sister Glenna Smith, 2010-2014

Federation President (6) 10: Sister Lynn McKenzie, 2014-

Histories of the Federation of St. Scholastica

The Benedictine Congregation of St. Scholastica: Its Foundation and Development (1852-1930) 

Sister Mary Regina Baska, OSB 

J. H. Furst Company Baltimore, Maryland ©1935


Spring and Harvest, St. Walburg's Shrine: Symbol and Center of Nine-Hundred Fruitful Years 
Nuns of St. Walburg, translated by Sister Gonzaga Englehart, OSB
The GrailSt. Meinrad, Indiana© 1952 


Climb Along the Cutting Edge: An Analysis of Changes in Religious Life

Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, Sister Stephanie Campbell, OSB, Sister Mary Collins, OSB, Sister Ernestine Johann, OSB, Sister Johnette Putnam, OSB
Paulist PressNew York City, New York© 1977  


Behind the Beginnings: Benedictine Women in America
Sister M. Incarnata Girgen, OSB
North Central Publishing CompanySt. Paul, Minnesota© 1981  


True Daughters: Monastic Identity and American Benedictine Women's History
Sister Judith Sutera, OSB
Benedictine College Press Atchison, Kansas© 1987 


We Were Blessed: A History of the Federation of St. Scholastica 1922-1997
Sister Regina Hansen, OSB
De LaSalle Student Press Second Printing©1987 

Gratitude for the life of Sister Johnette Putnam, OSB

Sister Johnette Putnam, O.S.B. Sister Johnette Putnam, O.S.B.

June 2, 1933 - February 4, 2018


Sister Johnette Putnam, OSB, 84, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kans., died Sunday, February 4, 2018, at the monastery. The vigil service will be Thursday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the monastery chapel and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated there Friday, February 9, at 10:30 a.m.


Born in New Orleans, La., Sister Johnette was a member of St. Scholastica Priory in Covington, La., until it closed in 1988 and she transferred to Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison. She taught in grade schools in Louisiana and was a principal for several years. From 1958 to 1968, she taught at St. Joseph High School in Chauvin, La., and St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, La. She held a B.A. in English from Mount St. Scholastica College, M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and an honorary doctorate from Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D. In 1968, she was elected prioress in Covington and in 1978 became president of the Federation of St. Scholastica, an organization of Benedictine monasteries. She held this position for 12 years and then was a retreat director at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Ala., before moving to Atchison. There she served as director of Sophia Center from 1992 to 2003 and helped launch Souljourners, an ecumenical program for training spiritual directors at Sophia Center. She wrote many articles and gave lectures and workshops on monastic life, community leadership, liturgy, and spirituality.


Sister Johnette was preceded in death by her parents Gorham and Georgiana Serpas Putnam, by her brothers Charles, Joseph and S. Jerome, and a sister, Emilie Nicaud. She is survived by her twin brother John (Dot) of Tierra Verde, Fla., nieces and nephews, and her monastic family. Arensberg Pruett Funeral Home ( is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online at the Mount's web site (

Eulogy for Sister Johnette Putman
Johnette Putnam.Eulogy by Jeanne d'Arc K[...]
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Funeral Homily for Sister Johnette Putnam
Johnette Putnam.funeral homily by Meinra[...]
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