“No human mind can conceive the things that God
has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
When I answered God’s call to Religious Life I thought I was giving up coaching. I thought my “yes” to God meant “no” to all the things that I enjoyed, like coaching. Boy, was I wrong! My “yes” to God has brought so many amazing things to my life. Since entering St. Scholastica Monastery, “the Lord has done great things for me and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49). I can’t begin to tell all the wonders that have been afforded me. Some are big and some are small. Many are personal and often private but every now and again they are public. One of the surprise blessings of my Monastic Life has been very public…coaching football!
The story of my role as kicking coach at The College of St. Scholastica (CSS) made quite a splash. It started out simply enough with the local Duluth news outlets doing stories on the opening of camp for the 2014 football season. From there my position as kicking and punting coach with the Saints exploded. It made the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated (on-line), Fox News Network’s Fox and Friends, Currents, a Catholic television daily news show in Brooklyn, New York, and the Catholic News Service, which goes to more than 200 outlets in the U.S. and abroad.
My connection to the football team began because I wanted to stay involved with sports. I came to the Monastery around the same time that football started at CSS. The football practice field is directly behind our Monastery, and I found myself drawn by the sound of the coaches’ whistles. I would sit watching from the sidelines or walk around the field praying my Rosary. After time, I became a fixture at most practices, and eventually I forged a relationship with the players and coaches and attended most games.
When Kurt Ramler became head coach in the spring of 2014, he approached me about helping out with the team. I told him I’d assist in any way I could. I thought I could do some prayer things with the guys and be around for support. He told me that the prayer stuff was a given, but he also wanted me to take a little more active role. He asked what I thought about kicking. I was not really sure how to answer him. I had never played or coached football. (All I had ever done was mark the lines of the St. Mary’s, Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, field for my Dad, who was the coach.) More importantly, as a Benedictine Sister I had to discuss it with my Prioress and truly discern if this was a part of God’s plan for me.
So after much prayer and many conversations with my Prioress and Coach Ramler, I felt the Spirit once again calling me to say “yes.” I did receive the Prioress’s blessing. And despite juggling monastic life, a job as director of mission for the Benedictine Health System, and graduate school at St. John’s University School of Theology, I became the first-ever female on the College’s football coaching staff…and possibly the only coaching Sister in all of college football.
It’s been absolutely wonderful. Football has fit seamlessly into my vocation and my life. I get an immense thrill, lots of excitement and true fulfillment out of coaching. Admittedly, I have experienced a steep learning curve coaching college football and working with kickers, but I love it! It is great seeing football from the inside. I have such respect for our coaching staff and our student athletes. The dedication, work, and effort that go into it game after game after game is astonishing. I am awfully proud of who and what we are as a football team.
All of the media attention has been pretty amazing and sometimes overwhelming. Who knew simply doing something I loved would garner such interest! I am so grateful for the positive publicity it has brought to The College of St. Scholastica, Saints Football, and St. Scholastica Monastery. It has been a true blessing for all involved. My own vocation has been enriched and my commitment to the Lord strengthened. My gratitude and joy in the Lord is flourishing!
Coaching football within my “yes” to religious life proves that “no human mind can conceive the things that God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9). Wouldn’t it would be something if my story gets young people thinking seriously about religious vocations…while also bringing in a stellar CSS football recruit or two!
Sister Lisa Maurer
Sister Lisa Maurer was born and raised in Sleep Eye, Minnesota. Before entering the Monastery in 2007, she taught and coached in Catholic Schools within the New Ulm Diocese. Sister Lisa Made her Perpetual Monastic Profession in July ll, 2012. Her first ministry as a Benedictine Sister was working at the parishes of St. Lawrence and St. Joseph in Duluth. Currently she is Director of Mission Integration for the Benedictine Health System.