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Minnesota native makes her first profession of vows as nun

Sister is part of a religious order with abbey in Dubuque
Special to The Witness

DUBUQUE — On Sunday, Feb. 23, Sister Harriet Pedersen made her first profession of monastic vows at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque.

Overflowing with joy, Sister Harriet described her profession in this way: “My deepest desire is to live with every ounce of me in and for Jesus in a life of simplicity and prayer. Monastic profession is a great gift that graces me with the opportunity to live for Jesus in deeper commitment. In the joy of my profession day, I pray, ‘Let [me] hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).’”

Although she was born in Minnesota, when a young child her family moved to Saranac Lake, where she lived until attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Sister Harriet first met the Trappistine nuns at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey when she made a private retreat at the abbey in 2014. Even as a college student, Sister Harriet loved the psalms and was drawn to the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours which the sisters chant six times a day.

After this initial visit she returned many times and eventually entered the monastery as a postulant in 2017. She received the habit of a novice in February 2018.

As a junior professed sister, Sister Harriet will continue in the process of monastic formation for several more years before making solemn profession. During this time, she will take classes in monastic studies, Scripture and theology and will gradually be entrusted with greater responsibilities.

Most importantly, she will grow more integrated into monastic life by participating in the life of the Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey community.

The nuns of the Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey are members of the Cistercian (Trappist) religious order. For more information, visit


Sister Harriet Pedersen (center) is shown with Sister Anna O’Meara (left) and Mother Rebecca Stramoski, abbess of the monastery. (Contributed photo)