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Adventures of Archaeologist Sister Belinda Monahan, OSB in Armenia

Sister Belinda Monahan, OSB, returned to Armenia this past July after four years of being away from the country and over a year since working as an archaeologist. Here is Sister Belinda’s reflection on her time in Armenia:

“It had been four years since I had been to Armenia and over a year since I had been regularly employed as an archaeologist, so as I prepared to leave for Armenia at the end of July, I was nervous. The trip was less than two weeks long, and I had been to Armenia with this project several times before, so I should have known what to expect. And I did on the physical level--I knew what the food would be like, and how (although not where) we would be living, and I knew several of the people with whom I would be working. But I did not know how I would feel after four years away.

I shouldn't have worried. As soon as I cleared customs, I saw Karen holding up a sign with my name on it--not that he needed it, we both recognized each other. He whisked me away to the house where we have spent most of our field seasons in the 20 years of Project Aragats. I arrived just in time to be greeted by the owner of the house and long-time colleague as they were beginning their work day.

The field season turned out to be amazing. I got a lot of work done--although not quite all, so I hope to go back! But, just as important to me at this stage in my life, the people on the team--both new and familiar--were wonderful to live and work with. They kept me accountable in my work and yet were more than willing to have fun when we needed a break. A cold morning tooth brush and face wash at the outdoor sink is much more bearable when your colleagues are chasing the kittens under the water tank. Spending eight days sorting through damp bone fragments is much more fun after breakfasting on raspberries freshly picked off the book with a three-year old. I came home excited about archaeology again, and looking forward to further work!"

Sister Belinda Monahan, OSB also serves as Vocation Minister for the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago. If you or a woman you know is interested in religious life, please contact Sister Belinda by emailing:

Thank you to the Aragats Foundation and the National Catholic Sisters Project for the photos and video clips used in the montage video and on this blog post.

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