CANYON, TEX–Benedictine Sister Mary Hawkins, OSB (formerly Sister Augustine), longtime Prioress at St. Benedict Monastery and former prioress of St. Scholastica Monastery, passed away March 15 after a brief illness. She was 97 years old.

Sister Mary, who was born in Tulia, Tex. on Oct. 20, 1919, grew up in Hart and was a graduate of Shamrock High School. After graduation she worked as a secretary in the Pentagon.

Two years after converting to Catholicism, Sister Mary entered St. Scholastica Monastery, making her first vows on June 24, 1950.

Sister Mary received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio; and a Master Degree in English from Creighton University. She taught at schools in Subiaco and Fayetteville, Ark.; Moberly, Mo; and Nazareth, Tex.

In 1977, she began a four-year stint as a reference librarian at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) in Canyon. While in Canyon, Sister Mary tested the waters for founding a Dependent Priory in Texas.

In 1981, St. Scholastica Monastery elected Sister Mary as its Eighth Prioress for a term of four years.

In 1985, Sister Mary returned to Canyon, where she worked to establish a small Benedictine community and create a monastic presence in the Canyon area. She was appointed Prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery. In 1998 and 1999, her community built a permanent monastery on the rim of the upper reaches of Palo Duro Canyon.

According to her community, Sister Mary considered her Benedictine vocation as one of God’s greatest blessings in a life filled with God’s blessing.

Sister Mary was preceded in death by her parents; two sisters, Mildred and Loramack; and a brother, Gus. Survivors include three brothers, Willis A. Hawkins of Canyon, Dr. Theron C. Hawkins of Comfort and Robert L. Hawkins of Hart; numerous nieces, nephews, great-niece and great-nephews; and her Benedictine Community at St. Benedict Monastery, Canyon.