Respond Together

Associates logoSchool Sisters of Notre Dame Associates
Living out the works of mercy in their everyday life


Beekeeping shows mercy and compassion

By Associate Dianne Henke – Wisconsin
Bee Keeper - Dianne Henke
Beekeeper – Dianne Henke


Most people may not think of beekeeping as an act of mercy. However, if the main reason to care for bees is to help them survive in an increasingly unsafe environment made so by human action, and to refrain from exploiting them for the honey they produce, beekeeping surely represents compassion and mercy.

When I began beekeeping six years ago, I thought it would be simple to keep bees happy, healthy and stress-free. I thought they only needed a sturdy hive in an appropriate location, lots of flowers and only natural medical treatments. I would also need to leave enough honey for their winter food. I soon learned beekeeping is much more complicated than that.

After taking a 2-year University of Wisconsin Extension beekeeping course, attending many lectures, reading numerous books and articles and tending bees for six years, I am still a “newbee” regarding beekeeping. I care for up to 50,000 bees per hive. I must make sure they are not too hot in the summer or cold in the winter, and have access to flowers and enough water. I must also protect my bees from predators, parasites, diseases. For the bees to survive through our cold Wisconsin winters, they must have enough honey stores. In my estimation, the learning curve for beekeeping spans a lifetime.

So why take on such an endeavor? If we are called to this work of mercy, we experience the wonderful way bees interact with each other. They can teach us so much about life. The hive is one living organism and each bee is part of this oneness. The hive cannot survive without each bee playing its part. Beekeeping in this manner is an act of mercy.

Related stories:
  • Teaching those in need As a member of St. Michael parish in Milwaukee, I have had the fortune to volunteer in the English as a second language (ESL) program, teaching English to Karen people from Burma. My SSND companion, Sister Lillia Langreck, previously ran an ESL program at St. Michael helping Hmong, Laotian and Cambodian people when they arrived from refugee camps in the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. Read more...
  • Prayer Quilts I am an SSND Associate and a member of the Quilt Club at Guardian Angels Parish in Santee, California. We provide handmade prayer quilts for those who are ill and ask for our prayers.

    The prayer quilt is a visible sign that people are praying for the person in need. Read more...
  • Praying for the living and the dead I have a leadership position with the Daughters of Isabella in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The Daughters of Isabella organization is the female counterpart of the Knights of Columbus. Both organizations are dedicated to praying for life issues. Read more...

Privacy  |  Contact  |  Home  |  Donate  |  Employment IT Online Resource Center  |  Webmail

© 2017 School Sisters of Notre Dame, 320 East Ripa Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63125 | Phone: 314-561-4100 | Email: info@ssndcp.org

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest  YouTube

~ Stay Connected ~