Posted on Leave a comment

Sr. Magdalen Stanton OSB

Sister Magdalen Stanton, OSB, age 84, a member of St. Scholastica Monastery, died at Chapel Ridge Health & Rehab on February 15, 2022. Lain Swafford Stanton was born on July 23, 1937 in Shreveport, Louisiana, to William Swafford and Jeannette Lain Swafford . She graduated from Germantown High School in Germantown, Tennessee, in 1955. Lain was a wonderful big sister to her brother and sister who were several years younger.

Before entering St. Scholastica Monastery, Lain was married and worked as an interior designer, bookkeeper, and photographer in Memphis. In the 1970’s she attended Memphis State University part time. After her divorce, she moved to Fort Smith to be near her sister, Patty O’Brien. She converted to Catholicism and was baptized at Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith in 1993. A few years before entering the monastery, she lived in Subiaco and worked at the Gift Shop in Coury House.

Lain entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1997 and became a novice in 1998, taking the name Sister Magdalen. She made perpetual profession on June 24, 2003. In the monastic community, Sister Magdalen taught calligraphy classes at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and gave calligraphy workshops. She was proud of the work of some of her students who continued practicing calligraphy. Using her calligraphy skills, she completed a beautiful necrology book, listing all the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery who had died. From 2001 to 2012, Sister Magdalen was Director of the Oblate Program. After learning to play the autoharp, she enjoyed playing for some of the community liturgies. Because of declining health, Sister Magdalen moved to the Infirmary in 2009 and later moved to Chapel Ridge Health & Rehab.

Sister Magdalen was a gracious Southern lady for whom art and beauty were very important. She was a voracious reader. She loved being surrounded by books and beautiful things.

She was preceded in death by her parents and sister-in-law, Cathie Swafford. She is survived by her brother, Bill Swafford in Boulder, Colorado; her sister, Patty O’Brien (Jim) in Fort Smith; her nephews, John Calhoun and Michael O’Brien; her nieces, Kym Wootton and Mary O’Brien; three great nephews and nieces; and members of her Benedictine community.

A Vespers Service will be on April 8 at 7:30 p.m. The funeral Mass will be on April 9 at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Cassian Elkins, OSB and Rev. Joseph Chan presiding. Both services will be at St. Scholastica Monastery. Burial will follow in St. Scholastica’s cemetery.

Posted on Leave a comment

Sr. Agatha Knittig OSB


Sister Agatha Knittig, age 99, a member of St. Scholastica Monastery, died March 18, 2022, at Chapel Ridge Health & Rehab in Fort Smith, Arkansas, thirteen days before her 100th birthday. Anna Marie Knittig was born March 31, 1922, in Morrison Bluff, AR to Albert and Mary Neuman Knittig. She was the oldest of eight children. Sister Agatha entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1940, made first profession on June 24, 1943 and final profession on June 24, 1946. She loved her 46 years teaching elementary students in Clarksville, Atkins, Fort Smith (St. John’s and St. Boniface), Russellville, Rogers, and Little Rock (St. Theresa’s) in Arkansas and in Moberly and Lebanon in Missouri. After retiring from teaching, she worked in the diet kitchen at St. Scholastica’s for seven years, then was director of religious education at Subiaco for four years. After retiring to the monastery in 2000, she helped in various household du-ties and was a regular visitor to residents in nursing homes.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, TX and attended many workshops on religious education. As long as she was able, Sister Agatha enjoyed baking breads and cookies and making candy for the monastery’s bake sales. She faithfully kept in touch with family and friends through phone calls.
The Sisters at St. Scholastica Monastery thank Sister Agatha’s caregivers at St. Scholastica’s and at Chapel Ridge Health & Rehab for their loving care for her.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Marie Zaloudek and Rose Enderlin; and her brother, Charles Knittig. She is survived by her sister, Lona Weisenfels; and three brothers, Edward Knittig (Annette) of Fort Smith, Eugene Knittig of Southfield, MI, and Louis Knittig of Conway; her sister-in-law, Mary Alice Knittig; her many beloved nieces and nephews; and members of her Benedictine family. Her brother, Eugene, died two days after Sister Agatha.

A Vespers Service will be Wednesday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m. The Mass for Christian Burial will be Thursday, March 24 at 10:30 a.m., with her former student, Fr. Jerome Kodell, OSB, as presider, Fr. Joseph Chan as concelebrant, and Deacon Greg Pair as deacon. Both services will be at St. Scholastica Monastery Chapel with burial in St. Scholastica Cemetery under the direction of Ocker-Putman Funeral Home of Fort Smith.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Scholastica Monastery Continuing Care Fund, P.O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913-3489.