October 2, 2015
On August 16, the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, received Idelle Badt into the next stage of religious formation–first monastic profession.
Idelle completed her novitiate year of becoming more deeply immersed in the monastic life of the sisters, the rich Benedictine tradition of St. Benedict and is now called “Sister Idelle.”
Idelle grew up in Savage, Mont. She is one of three daughters born to Clydette Boyer, of Williston, and Robert Badt, of Savage. 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, Mont., and worked for Richland County Health Department as RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) 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.”
Now, having made her first monastic profession, Idelle reflects on what she has learned over the past year.
“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”
Sister Idelle is now immersed in the nursing program at the University of Mary. She says, “This is my 'other' call. I’ve always been a caregiver to the elderly. I feel like it’s my mission to be family for people who may not have family to care for them.
Sister Nancy Miller, prioress of Annunciation Monastery, reflected on the theme of Sister Idelle’s profession day -- I come to do Your will.
“The monastic life strives for this surrender to God’s will. As a result we can grow in a loving relationship with Jesus and with others. We seek God as we live in community and we pray that we will know what God’s will is for us. Through Idelle’s first monastic profession, she is able to approach the moment with a great deal of confidence. And, as a member of this community which Benedict calls the school of the Lord’s service, Sister Idelle will discern the wisdom of Benedict: to seek God, who first seeks us.”
May God bless Sister Idelle and all who listen for God's call!