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Benedictine Sisters elect prioress

Benedictine Sisters elect prioress


Sister Susan Hutchens, OSB, has been elected as prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island. The 14th prioress in the Benedictines’ 145-year history, Sister Susan is the fourth to serve in Rock Island since St. Mary Monastery’s relocation in 2001 from Nauvoo, Ill.

The Sisters’ history dates to 1874 when Sisters from St. Scholastica’s Convent in Chicago established a school for girls in Nauvoo. The Benedictine community was established as an independent monastery, and St. Mary’s Academy of Benedictine Sisters thrived in Nauvoo for 123 years. When their mission as a boarding school was completed, the Sisters relocated to Rock Island where they continued their other ministries in the parishes, schools and college campuses in the Peoria and Davenport dioceses.

Sister Susan was raised in Munster, Indiana, and was a member of St. Thomas More Parish. Daughter to Glen and Dorothy Hutchens, she attended parish grade school staffed by the Benedictine Sisters from St. Mary Monastery, in Nauvoo. She earned a bachelor of mathematics from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Indiana, and a master’s in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Her professional background includes 17 years of teaching and 32 years as community treasurer and organist.

Prior to becoming prioress, Sister Susan served on the finance committee of the Federation of St. Benedict and was elected as president of the Federation of St. Benedict for the 2009-2015 term. She is a current member of Resource Center for Religious Institutes (RCRI) as well as the Illinois Treasurers of Religious Institutes.

Sister Susan is treasurer for the St. Mary Monastery community, and has served on the Monastic Council, the finance board and as initial formation director, liturgy director and organist.

To learn more about the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery, visit


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