Elders of the Benedictines:
A Portrait and Interview Project
Sister M. Juliana Bresson, O.S.B., b. 1904
Q: What have been your primary duties within the order?
A: When I first arrived I was so young they sent me to their boarding school where I studied for a few months, then they sent me to the printery. At that time we were using foundry type. You set one letter at a time. For six years I used that method. Then we received a machine similar to a linotype, called an intertype. I learned that typesetting process and operated that machine for over eighteen years. Then I was receptionist at the monastery for four years, then back to the printery, then I took care of the sacristy for two years, then back to the printery again. They always wanted me back at the printery. We had that intertype machine for forty-seven years. When we had to have it repaired the repair people could not believe that we were still using it. I would tell them that we knew how to take care of a machine. It's like a human--keep it well oiled, cleaned and it will operate. If you don't feed a human and give it rest it won't operate. We took good care of all our machines. I remember once when we were having trouble I took the whole ninety-key keyboard apart. Each key had five parts, as the machine was very complicated. The supervising sister at that time didn't think I should do it. But I thought I could do it. I took every key apart and had all the parts strung out on three tables. The supervisor was so nervous she wouldn't come in the room. She was sure we would have to bring in a mechanic to put it back together. But I got it all back together and it worked, and later I took it apart a second time. When the old intertype did finally give out, we went with an IBM cold type system. I learned this new typesetting system in 1972 and ran it for nine years. I went from hand setting metal type to IBM electronic typesetting in my work. When they transferred the magazine to our monastery in Tucson, I volunteered to go down and typeset on the new computers, but, believe it or not, they turned me down. . .