St. Benedict's Monastery on the Red


Sr. Catherine Labinowich, OSB

I was born in Winnipeg and attended public school. In high school, I took Commercial courses which qualified me to work in a bank. At sixteen, I went to work at the Bank of Montreal, Portage Avenue Branch. There I started out as a clerk, delivering and collecting drafts from retailers. Later I was moved to current accounts and finally to Teller.

I was granted a transfer to a branch closer to home at the Mountain & McGregor branch which I loved partly because I could bike to work. I also loved to serve the customers, many of whom I got to know well. I found myself wishing that I could do more for them. One day, on my way to work, I felt very free and happy; it occurred to me that if I consecrated my life to God more good could come to more people – those whom I knew and many whom I did not know. That was my incentive to seek a religious community that I could join.

The Sisters of St. Benedict served at St. John Cantius, our parish church. They had taught me catechism and led the singing in the choir. They were great with youth. They lived simply and joyfully. I met Sisters from other congregations but I felt at home with the Benedictines. I made some inquiries and then paid a visit to Arborg, where the community of sisters lived and where newcomers started out.

I decided to try and applied to enter. I was admitted as a postulant, during which time I completed Grade X11 Matriculation which I needed in order to continue on with University. After a year’s novitiate, I made a temporary commitment of three years. During those three years I was sent to Mount Marty College, in Yankton, South Dakota, a Benedictine college, where I could live with Sisters and earn a degree which I did though I struggled with the sciences. On my return I taught sciences at St. Benedict’s school in Arborg, and in 1961-70 at Benedict’s Academy, Winnipeg.

Since that time to the present, I have grown in living contemplatively and have spent my time in teaching contemplation and Centering Prayer. As I reflect on my life especially the last forty years I am very grateful for the gift of my vocation.