On June 22, 1948, 301 Summit Avenue (then known as St. Paul’s Priory) was blessed by Bishop James J. Byrne and declared canonically erected by Mother Rosamond Pratschner, Mother President of the Congregation of St. Benedict. The Most Reverend James J. Byrne, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul, opened the first chapter meeting at 2:30pm on Tuesday, June 22 at the priory on 301 Summit Avenue by reciting the Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit).
The Bishop read chapter 64 of the Rule of St. Benedict (on the appointment of an abbot) followed by this brief address:
You all sense what I am going to say to you this afternoon of June 22, 1948. This day is a momentous day in the history of the archdiocese and also in the lives of each and every one of you. There are countless souls already in this world and many more that are yet to come into this world who will be affected by what we are doing this afternoon. I am sure that for each one of you it is a day on which your heart is filled with sadness, for you are separating yourselves from the Motherhouse that was near and dear to you. But there would be no spread of the faith if men and women did not have the courage to put their trust in Christ knowing that faith in Him has never yet been misplaced.
You know that with each new foundation, if any of you have ever helped with other foundations, there are many graces unique to a foundation that are offered in abundance. The graces of Christ that will come to this priory will be greater than anyone suspects. Hence, there remains for you to keep alive those Christian ideals of charity, love, and obedience, and to be the very best Benedictine religious that you can possibly be.
For you, who have signified your intention of changing priories, of becoming members of the new priority in St. Paul, there will be more abundant graces than if you had not shown that extra confidence and faith in Christ. Therefore, you should not be sad this afternoon, but rather look to the future and the good that can be accomplished. With faith in Christ and joy in the good that you will be able to do, each one should look to the development of the Benedictine ideals in herself and in each one whom you teach.
Vote according to your conscience just as if Christ, whom I represent, were here with you this afternoon in person. After all, you are establishing this new priory to serve Christ. One of the first actions of this priority will be the choosing of the new superior. This done, the grace of God will come to her, and through her it will help each one of you day by day to seek perfection. Follow that guide!
The vote was held by all 178 charter members. Mother Loraine Tracy was elected Prioress on the first ballot. By evening of the same day, Mother Loraine had chosen as her sub-prioress, Sister Alcuin Braun. Later, other appointments were Sister Luanne Meagher as secretary, Sister Wilma Guettler as treasurer, Sister Mathias Sieben as procurator, and Sister Adelia Schmidt as postulant directress.
This series from With Grateful Hearts The Past We Own continues throughout 2023.