Sister Ann Kessler, O.S.B., Ph.D. joined the Benedictines of Sacred Heart Monastery, Yankton, South Dakota in 1945, and professed her religious vows in 1947. Given the name Sister Verona upon entrance to the novitiate, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Marty College, a Master of Arts from Creighton University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in history from the University of Notre Dame. After the Second Vatican Council, her baptismal name was restored, and she spent the rest of her forty-five year teaching career as Sister Ann.
Sister Ann began teaching history and political science at Mount Marty College in 1963, also serving an interval as visiting professor at Marquette University. During her tenure, she was appointed academic dean from 1963 to 1965, initiated a new major in criminal justice, created the college’s first endowed alumni scholarship with the Alumni Council, and received numerous grants and awards. In 2010, she was named to Mount Marty College’s Lancer Hall of Fame and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. She was also inducted into Aberdeen, South Dakota’s Central High School Hall of Fame in 2012.
Contributing to numerous books and writing articles for several publications while teaching full time, she was also an active advocate of social justice, co-founding a local rehabilitation center for juvenile legal offenders and another for psychiatric clients needing continued care after their institutional dismissal.
Beyond the lecture hall, Sister Ann has applied her political acumen to South Dakota state policy, serving as chair of the Governor’s Council on the Aging, and as co-chair of the Citizens’ Committee for Study of Correctional Institutions. Three governors appointed or maintained her service on the Governor’s Task Force on Correctional Policy and the State Criminal Justice Commission. In addition to these appointments, she has served on two executive boards of the South Dakota’s Humanities Council.
Research tours on all five inhabited continents over a span of decades preceded the publication of the first edition of this book fulfilling the requests of many formation directors, oblates, historians, monastics and other academics wishing for an inclusive and comprehensive Benedictine history in a single volume. Sister Ann continues her legacy of inspiring others’ love of world and monastic history with this new revision.
Dr. Neville Ann (Nev) Kelly, D.Min., Ph.D. is an independent Christian theological scholar whose life and doctoral work has studied and applied approaches to full integration of intellectual thought, compassionate service, and spirituality. In addition to scholarship, writing, and spiritual practice, Dr. Kelly has served Mount Marty College as Assistant and Visiting Professor of Theology and developed and taught online theology and philosophy courses as Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy at the same institution. A member, spiritual director and regional minister of a lay monastic community for over fifteen years with her husband, Dr. Kelly served as a critical care/emergency registered nursing professional for twelve years prior to a decade of varied roles in pastoral ministry, including music and youth ministry, adult religious education, and regional spiritual formation. She has facilitated numerous spiritual retreats, conferences, workshops and seminars, and coordinated the innovative Great Plains Undergraduate Theology Conference during its formative years. Presentations at international academic conferences on Integral Theory won honorable mention for her paper, “Babel Reconsidered: Enacting an Integral Christian Multilingualism” in 2010, and Best Alternative to Integral Theory Award for her essay “Conscious Cosmopolis: Bernard J.F. Lonergan’s Critical Realism as Complementary Approach to Integral Theory” in 2013. She enjoys writing for scholarship and spiritual practice, and has published several academic articles in the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice; chapters in Foundation Theology 2007, 2009 and 2011; poetry in Liturgical Press’ Prayer in All Things: A St. Benedict’s St. John’s Prayer Book; a spiritual reflective essay in Desert Call, an international journal of spirituality; as well as a scholarly article in the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa. Her recent book, Reweaving the Threefold Cord is currently under editorial review. She has taught courses in critical thinking, philosophical ethics, Christian marriage and family, Christian moral theology, history of Christianity, theologies of the body, world religions, and recently developed a popular online undergraduate introduction to an integrative approach to spirituality, philosophy, relationships, and daily living.