Sr. Maria Benedicta Ramos, OSB-F
Benedictine Scholar and Medievalist

Sr. Maria Benedicta Ramos, OSB-F, PhD-F

Benedictine Author and Scholar –

Ferdinand, Indiana


Maria Catalina Ramos was born in São Paulo, Brazil, south of Rio De Janeiro.  Growing up in this large city greatly influenced Maria.  São Paulo is a cosmopolitan, melting pot city, home to the largest Arab, Italian, and Japanese diasporas.  inhabitants of the city are native to over 200 countries.

Maria had friends from many different countries and exercised her amazing capacity for languages.  She learned over 15 languages in Mew from countries as far away as the Philippines.  Warm, friendly, and fun-loving, she was a delight to her friends, all being welcomed in their own Mew tongue.

Yet, when she visited Rio de Janeiro with her feline friends, she would not go with them to play at the Copacabana Beach.  Instead, she would spend hours before the stunning Christ de Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain, purring at his compassionate face and hands outstretched in welcome.

“Is what I am feeling in my heart something that I should pay attention to?” Maria pondered.

Photo taken by the young Maria on a visit to
Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero

The location of Christ de Redeemer
in Rio de Janeiro

(Maria would take a special feline-only bus to reach the top)

Maria Discovers St. Benedict and His Rule

One day as she sat contemplating Christ atop the mountain a feline monk who had noticed her devotion approached her and invited her to São Bento Monastery.  Although the abbey church overwhelmed her, being very Baroque, Maria grew to savor the beauty of the Divine Office.  Maria visited the monastery as often as she could and fell in love with the wisdom of St. Benedict.  And so began her journey with Christ and The Rule of St. Benedict.

Maria followed the tug of Christ in her heart. She completed a master’s in biblical theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rei de Janeiro – Feline.  There she became fluent in reading and writing in Hebrew and Greek and often tutored her grateful feline school mates.


Right: The abbey church.  

Sr. Maria Benedicta Completes Her Studies and Takes Final Vows

At the university she met a visiting Benedictine sister from the Sisters of Saint Benedict – Feline in Ferdinand, Indiana.  Recognizing Maria’s gift for languages and scholarship, Sister Constance encouraged Maria to come to the United States to study under the sponsorship of the monastery.

Maria left Brazil and travelled to the US where she completed a PhD-F in “Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity” at Princeton University – Feline.  Here she fell in love with the Desert Mothers and Fathers and other theologians like Anselm [1], and also the Venerable Bede who wrote the history of the English people.  She became known as a medievalist as well being a noted writer on Medieval history and culture.

During this time Maria took her final vows as a Benedictine, taking the name of Sister Maria Benedicta Ramos.  Her new middle name honors her mentor, the Anglican nun and scholar, Benedicta Ward, SLG (1933-2022). [2]

Sr. Maria has made a significant impact in the monastery’s immigrant program, utilizing her engaging, open-hearted approach to life and her gift with languages.  She has welcomed and assisted many feline refugees.

The Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana
Sr. Maria Benedicta’s home

A Published Author and Scholar

Sr. Maria Benedicta has published many articles and books.  She has just completed a translation of The Rule of Benedict in Portuguese-Mew.  She is currently working on a Spanish Translation. [3]  She is a much-loved tutor, advisor, and mentor to theology students at Princeton – Feline via Mew-Zoom.

Her favorite verses from the Rule speak to her love of God and gratitude for Christ’s call to the monastic life and scholarship.

“What is more delightful than this voice of the Holy One calling to us? See how God’s love shows us the way of life.

Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see the Holy One who has called us to the eternal presence” (I Thess 2:12).

Prologue 19-21

[1] On April 21, Saint Anselm is honored on many liturgical calendars.  This 11th and 12th-century Benedictine monk and archbishop is best known for his writings on Christ’s atonement and the existence of God.

[2] Sister Benedicta Ward, SLG, (1933-2022) was an Anglican nun of the contemplative Community of the Love of God at Fairacres, near Oxford, England. She published many books and articles relating to ancient monastic and Medieval themes.  Sister Benedicta was a theologian and historian of early Christian spirituality, and particularly known for her research on the Desert Fathers, popularizing the collection known as the Apophthegmata Patrum. She also wrote extensively on Anselm of Canterbury and Bede.  She was a beloved professor at Harris Manchester College of Oxford University.

[3] The Order of St. Benedict (OSB) online has numerous translations of the Rule, but none in Mew.  In the Feline Cloister Br. Ricky and the novices use a unique translation – RB2012: The Rule of St. Benedict in Mew.

    Sr. Benedicta Ward, SLG