About Us

In November 2001, at the meeting taking place at Nairobi, Kenya, after a consultation process with all the monasteries of Benedictine Women around the world, it was decided to use the name COMMUNIO INTERNATIONALIS BENEDICTINARUM (CIB) to designate all communities of Benedictine women recognised by the Abbot Primate as such and enlisted in the Catalogus Monasteriorum O.S.B. This was the culmination of a development taking place since the Second Vatican Council—as well as the beginning of a new era for Benedictine Women.

CIB Officials

CIB Moderator
Sr Lynn Marie McKenzie, Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, Alabama USA

Assistant Moderator
Sr Franziska Lukas, Abbess of St Scholastika Abbey, Dinklage, Germany

Administrative Council
Sr Myrèse Dupagne, Prieure Notre-Dame D’Hurtebise Belgium
Sr M. Caritas Swai, Benedictine Sisters of Our Lady Help of Christians, Ndanda, Tanzania East Africa
Sr. Maria del Mar Albajar i Viñas of Sant Benet Monastery, Montserrat Spain
Sr. María Teresa (Tere) Razo y Laguna of Missioneras Guadalupanas de Cristo Rey, OSB, Mexico City

CIB Secretary
Sr. Mary Luke Jones of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana

Information about the structure of the CIB

Comprehensive information about the CIB can be found in the Memorandum and the Handbook.

‘The Founding of the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum, 1965 – 2009’ by Sr Scholastika Häring of Dinklage

History of the CIB

Background: The Benedictine Confederation

Between 1886 and 1893 Pope Leo XIII took steps towards the setting up of the Benedictine Confederation, the structure for networking between the congregations of Benedictine men existing at that time, with the Abbot Primate as a unifying figure at the head of the community at S. Anselmo in Rome. The purpose of the Confederation was to create and consolidate international contact between the Benedictine monasteries of men with a view to furthering the common tradition of western monasticism and to prepare the monks through serious study for their service in the Church in the 20th century. There was no parallel foundation for Benedictine women. Gradually women’s monasteries and congregations were admitted by association into the Benedictine Confederation, but without full membership. Their status in the Confederation gave them no opportunity to support each other through regular meetings and international contact.

First Steps Towards Networking Between Benedictine Women
after Vactian II (1968 – 1988)

In Paragraph 23 of the Decree “Perfectae Caritatis”, that Council document concerning the renewal of religious life, conferences and councils of major superiors are expressly encouraged as a means of bringing small communities out of isolation and of sharing potential.  Since 1893 the Abbots’ Congress had been such a conference of major superiors including all the monasteries of Benedictine men.  From around 1965 on it was becoming clear, that something must be done to create a similar possibility for Benedictine Women.

1968

The Synod of Abbot Presidents under Abbot Primate Rembert Weakland voted that the Abbot Primate should form a Commission for nuns and sisters and that this commission should be divided into two sections, one for nuns and one for sisters, but both under the same secretary. It was also decided that these two consultative bodies should be formed from an equal number of men and women. (Circular letter of the Abbot Primate to Benedictine women dated October 28, 1968.)  These two Commissions met separately with the Abbot Primate a number of times during the next few years.

1972

At the Synod of Presidents it was decided to invite the Commission of Nuns and several Prioresses General of the Benedictine Sisters to the Congress of Abbots as observers.

1980

The Confederation organised a Centenary Symposium to celebrate the 1500 anniversary of the birth of St. Benedict. As representatives of the women 55 abbesses/prioresses were invited.  This was the first time that Benedictine Abbesses and Prioresses, Moniales and Sorores, from different traditions and different parts of the world met together in Rome – as yet only as guests of the Abbots’ Congress.

1984

The two commissions met for the first time together to discuss possibilities of a joint meeting of nuns and sisters.

1987

The Benedictine Sisters invited 16 nuns to join 40 sisters at an assembly on the theme: “Implications of the Benedictine Rule for the life of Benedictine Women,” in Casa Santo Spirito, the Generalate of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing in Rome. This first Symposium organised by the sisters broke new ground for co-operation between nuns and sisters.

1988

The two Commissions under Abbot Primate Victor Dammertz merged. Membership was to be delegated to women representing 18 regions (later 19 regions) throughout the world, as well a Prioress General of an international congregation with its Motherhouse in Rome and a representative of the organisation AIM.  An Executive Committee was to organise a next joint Symposium. The Executive Committee drafted the first statutes of the Commission with the help of Abbot Primate Viktor.

For 1987 to the present see  Meetings

3rd International Symposium, Rome 1998
3rd International Symposium, Rome 1998
Colloquium, Rome 2000
Nairobi 2001
4th International Symposium, Rome 2002
CIB Conference, Sydney 2003
CIB Conference, Assisi 2004
CIB Conference, Poland 2005
5th International Symposium
Rome 2006
Preparations for the 6th International Symposium 2010