Sisters' Words of Wisdom: Sister Carol Rennie, OSB
Sister Carol Rennie, OSB is originally from St. Cloud, Minnesota and came from a family of eight. Sister Carol fondly remembers her siblings: Richard, John, Catherine, Mary Jane, and David. Sister Carol was “lucky number five” and the youngest girl.
Sister Carol’s favorite memory from her childhood is captured in a photograph of when she was four years old holding the family cat. Since St. Paul’s Monastery no longer has a house cat, Sister Carol has the next best thing! Sister Carol has a stationary roommate: it’s a lifelike cat, named Sugar, that purrs when it detects motion in the room. It’s just enough purrrrrrr to startle the new health care workers if they don’t expect the lifelike roommate sitting in the corner which brings an added “smile” to Sister Carol’s eyes when you mention her roommate.
Sister Carol remembers family fun with her siblings. She enjoyed bowling and driving a car in her youth Today, Sister Carol still enjoys watching football and baseball. When she sits down to watch the local sports, she always requests a beer to make it a true sporting event. Sister Carol’s favorite pastime is enjoying the beautiful flowers around St. Paul’s Monastery grounds and sitting in the sunshine on the warmer days in spring and summer. Sister Carol expressed that her favorite color is orange as it brings up positive feelings for a smile.
Sister Carol Rennie dedicated her teaching career to improving the effectiveness of religious education by teachers worldwide. Sister Carol taught courses at the School of Divinity for the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Pastoral studies programs. She developed curriculum for faith development and teacher learning practicum. After receiving a Master’s degree in religious education from the University of Notre Dame, she began leading global workshops. According to the Saint Paul Seminary Quarterly (Sept 1988), “Sister Carol’s first workshop brought her to Puerto Rico. Within a few months she was off to Alaska to work with Sunday school teachers on Army and Air Force bases in Anchorage and Fairbanks and later led to more military involvement in Germany, Italy, Okinawa, Hawaii and Spain.” According to Sister Carol, “Overseas military bases sensed a need to provide meaningful church experiences for people whose lives were encountering the transiency of relocation and the strains of foreign living.”
Sister Carol was Prioress at St. Paul’s Monastery from 2004 to 2009. She also served for many years as a spiritual director and as an anchor for the Benedictine Center hospitality program. Sister Carol devoted time at the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, prior to her full retirement.
Whether as a teacher or as an administrator, Sister Carol’s style is as a true leader. Sister Carol maintains, “I hope that we are always improving and doing what we know better” (The Saint Paul Seminary Quarterly, 1988) in teaching.
When asked for her current “words of wisdom”, she expressed that “Whatever happens, happens!” When asked what her favorite pastime is today, she says “no” to puzzles and “no” to watching television. Sister Carol simply “winks” and keeps smiling as she is content with her life at St. Paul’s Monastery with her caring, dedicated healthcare workers to share the day.