Published on May 7th, 2021 | by University Communications


Benedictine Sisters of FL re-elect Sister Roberta Bailey as prioress

The Benedictine Sisters of Florida have re-elected Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB, to lead the community as prioress for the next six years. She serves as a member of the Saint Leo University Board of Trustees. 

The election of prioress is a discernment in prayer, listening for the voice of God regarding who should lead the community into the future, according to the Benedictine Sisters.

The Sisters of Holy Name Monastery came together for three days and the process was co-facilitated by sisters from other Benedictine monasteries: Sister Kathy McNany (Baltimore) and Sister Marcia Ziska (Atchison). The president of the Federation of St. Scholastica, Sister Lynn McKenzie, also helped focus the group on what St, Benedict instructs: “Listen with the ear of your heart.”

Bailey has served as prioress since 2010, leading the efforts of the Benedictine Sisters at Holy Name Monastery in St. Leo in their ministries of services “to feed the hungers of the people of God.”

The community was founded 132 years ago by five sisters from Pittsburgh, who helped found Saint Leo University.  The Benedictine Sisters of Florida live a life of commitment to become a sign of God’s presence in the world. In “non-COVID” times, the sisters welcome guests to their liturgical services and host guests for retreats or time away, self-directed groups, monthly concerts, and a variety of other small-group activities.

 Bailey’s  career began in 1959 as a classroom teacher for infants through college-aged students, and she has served in educational leadership since 1970. She previously served as principal of St. Anthony School (San Antonio, FL) and Pope John Paul Catholic School (Lecanto, FL). She founded the Montessori schools in St. Leo, FL, and at Blessed Trinity in Ocala, FL. She has served as a member of the advisory council for the Office of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, a board member (and on the Quality Committee) for the Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition, and was a governor appointee on the Florida’s Universal Pre-K Commission.

She is the past editor of the Early Childhood Association of Florida journal Children Our Concern, a former member of the Tampa Oratorio Society, and Saint Leo Chorus. Currently Bailey also serves as a board member of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, Sunrise of Pasco County Domestic & Sexual Violence Shelter, Family Abuse Shelter, Premier Community Health Care, and the diocesan Commission for Religious.


Photo: Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida and Holy Name Monastery, and Sister Lynn McKenzie, president of the Federation of St. Scholastica.

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