"What you give to the Lord will be paid back a hundredfold."
Contrary to popular belief, nuns actually had lives before entering the convent. Prior to joining the Benedictine Sisters in 1949, Sister Agnes Trombley worked, dated, and lived as any other teenager. Although she had attended Catholic grade school and high school, and she had a biological sister who had joined the religious community at the College of St. Benedict, Sister Agnes herself had not initially intended to join. It wasn’t until she went to a reception at the Summit Avenue Priory that she realized she had been ignoring the Spirit. Instead of attending The College of St. Benedict, where she had already enrolled, she entered the convent. Her sister was most definitely happy that she had joined the Order of St. Benedict, and her parents felt blessed that out of six children, two had entered the religious life.
One of the most salient points that drew her to the Order was that St. Benedict had said that everything one needed would be within the walls of the Monastery. Sister Agnes found this to be true – she has a family living in communal life with her. Her vocation, as well as others’ is a God-given gift. She asked to enter the community, learned the routine and went with the flow. She values the monastic life for allowing her and her Sisters to pray together, take the Eucharist together, eat together and work together. However, Sister Agnes firmly believes that work should not come before God and family.
Sister Agnes encourages those who are on the challenging road to seeking God and silence. She says that once you take control and embrace the silence, you can’t let go of it. Sister Agnes worked in Formation at the Monastery for 6 years. She encourages others to cultivate their own spirituality and relationship with God. Her advice to all laity is: what you give to the Lord will be paid back a hundredfold. By supporting the mission, whether through reading the Rule of St. Benedict or supporting the ministries of the Sisters who follow the Rule, the laity can all embody St. Benedict’s philosophy.
After attending the Diocesan Teachers College for two years, she taught elementary school at Maternity of Mary, St. Bernard’s, St. Bonifacius, St. Anne’s, St. Bonifacius in Hastings and Archbishop Murray High School (now Hill Murray School). She also received her Master’s in theological studies from St. John’s College, after which she became a pastoral minister for 17 years at St. Raphael in Crystal. She visited parishioners and loved getting to know them. After St. Raphael, she continued her pastoral ministry at the apartments of St. Therese. Currently, she continues to be a welcoming presence at St. Paul’s Monastery and says, “Once you enter the door, you are family.”