- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

BETHLEHEM, Conn. (AP) — Mother Benedict Duss, a physician and founder of the first female Benedictine monastery in the United States, died Oct. 2 after years of declining health. She was 94.

Mother Benedict, the first abbess of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a Roman Catholic Church order, died at the abbey.

The community of 37 nuns pray and farm on 400 acres of land in Bethlehem, spending most of their time behind the abbey gates, away from public view. They follow the Rule of St. Benedict, a sixth-century Roman monk. According to his rule, monks vow to foster stability in the community and completely convert to a monastic lifestyle.

Mother Benedict retired in 1998, but retained the formal title of abbess emerita in recognition of her service as founder and leader of the monastery, which started in 1948.

Born Vera Duss in Pittsburgh on Nov. 21, 1910, she traveled to France with her mother and brother as a young girl. She earned a medical degree at the Sorbonne and entered the Benedictine order in 1936 at the ancient Abbey of Notre Dame De Joarre, outside of Paris.

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