Sister Sue Ellen Drexler
When Sister Sue Ellen Drexler began thinking about her vocation as a teen, the idea of a life centered in prayer seemed rather boring. But when she graduated from college and began her teaching career, things changed. “I realized that prayer is number one,” she says. “In order to get through each day, I had to pray.”
Prayer led her through 16 years of teaching, first as a kindergarten and 2nd grade teacher, and then later as a catechist and tutor. Now Sister Sue Ellen works in the Development Office in what she refers to as an “adventure” and assists the monastery leadership team. She also participates in the music ministry and is a member of the Monastery music group, the Von Gertrude Ensemble. She is also the Monastery librarian.
Besides the recent demands of updating the library, her time is also spent with correspondence, “appreciating people” and preparing the weekly prayer schedule. She also supports a committee on relationships. Relationships are something that has been a focus of her attention. “Prayer is relationship with God. You go through the stages similar to a marriage: a honeymoon and then to something deeper, more real. How we are getting along with God affects how we are getting along with others, and vice versa.”
Her journey has also led her to a broader definition of prayer. “I’ve realized that God calls us in different ways to prayer. It could be through taking walks in nature, art, writing or reading. I need to be attentive to which way God is calling me to be in relationship. God always gets me on track, even after I haven’t been listening. God is the judge yet the only one that doesn’t judge.”
Sister Sue Ellen made her First Monastic Profession on July 11, the Feast of St. Benedict, in 1991. Born in Idaho Falls, she is particularly inspired by the faith of her mother and grandmother. “They had great love for God and it showed.”
As she discerned her vocation, she was assisted by her friend Father Bill Taylor who guided her in asking the right questions. When she came to St. Gertrude’s she found a resonance. “The sisters are so down-to-earth; they are real people. They didn’t go for the nostalgia of what a religious is supposed to be. They are human.”