Sister Teresa Ann Wolf, OSB, is the director of the Benedictine Multicultural Center (BMC), sponsored by Mother of God Monastery in Watertown, SD. However, her concern for others extends further. Whether she is teaching individuals at the Center or teaching about human trafficking prevention, Sister Teresa Ann’s deep faith is at the core of her kind and generous actions.
The mission of the Benedictine Multicultural Center, which opened its doors in January 2008, is to welcome the stranger so that the stranger can participate fully in the life of the community. By celebrating diverse cultures and promoting understanding and respect for all, the Sisters, BMC staff and their volunteers fill a void in the greater Watertown area. The Center is a safe and welcoming place for people who speak little English yet want to be nurturing parents and productive employees. The BMC offers ESL classes (English as a second language); assistance with employment, school and government documents; and interpreting services for medical and dental appointments. This is just a sample of the Watertown community services found only at BMC.
BMC also offers six-week introductory and intermediate level conversational Spanish courses twice a year for English speakers. Assisted living residents, service groups, churches or others can contact S. Teresa Ann if they want her to conduct one-hour Spanish and coffee classes for them. Each summer, BMC holds a youth program entitled “Around the World.” It runs evenings twice a week in June for children ages 8-12. Sister Teresa Ann also devotes time to preventing human trafficking. As director of WIPST (Watertown Initiative to Prevent Sex Trafficking), housed at the BMC, she delivers frequently requested sex-trafficking prevention presentations. She attended the Sturgis Rally in 2016 to assist the F.R.E.E. International staff in the distribution of lip balms wrapped with a label that included the national sex-trafficking hotline. Her mindset was that if she could help one victim, all her efforts were worth it! She is an active member of Pax Christi, an organization guided by the spirituality of nonviolence, inclusiveness, economic and interracial justice, human rights and care of creation.
Even though Sister Teresa Ann is in her mid-seventies, one would not be able to tell by her long hours and the energy that she expends. Without judgment, she is the first to volunteer when someone needs assistance. She routinely puts the needs of others ahead of her own. In 2010, she traveled to the Mexican border with two small children so that they could be reunited with their grandparents. She visits clients in their homes, in the hospital or even in prison. Prior to serving at the BMC, Sister Teresa Ann lived with and served the poor on Standing Rock Reservation at Fort Yates, ND; the Papago Reservation in southwestern Arizona; Indigenous groups in Guatemala; campesinos in northern Peru; and migrants and immigrants in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and South Dakota. Her love for her fellow human has guided her throughout her life.