Mother Cecilia Kapsner
M. Cecilia Kapsner, ca. 1900 (click tumbnails for larger images)
"Mother Cecilia (Mary) Kapsner born in Prussia in 1859, came to America at age 15 with her family who settled in Pierz, MN. Two years later, Mary entered St. Benedict's Convent, St. Joseph, MN, and professed vows in 1878. In 1901 she was elected to serve as prioress, a position she held for three consecutive terms. Mother Cecilia was the first prioress whose background was similar to the majority of the members of St. Benedict's Convent as well as the people in the St. Joseph area. With keen perception and ready judgment she led the community through considerable building expansion. Especially noteworthy is the construction of the Sacred Heart Chapel and the Teresa Hall addition to the college, both having been in the planning stages as early as 1909." (From SBM.03k Mother Cecilia Kapsner, OSB, prioress of St. Benedict's Convent.)
Many Kapsner family members joined the convent or St. John's Abbey. One of Mother Cecilia's great-nieces joined the St. Benedict's Convent in 1933 and became Sister Mary Cecilia Kapsner. S. Mary Cecilia's oral history, in the St. Benedict's Monastery Archives, mentions that, when she was a child, her home was visited by four of her grandfather's sisters, all of whom were nuns: Cecilia, Leonarda, Loyola and Auxilia. A fifth, S. Bonaventure, had died before Mary Cecilia was born.
For more on Mother Cecilia:
- With Lamps Burning, pg. 162 and pg. 165-171.