Sister Monica Laughlin (1923-2014) attended Iron Mountain High School, where she played piano, clarinet, and snare drum in the high school band and orchestra. After high school graduation in 1940, Sister Monica attended The College of St. Scholastica from 1940-1941. From there she transferred to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education in 1944. She entered the Duluth Benedictine Monastery in 1947 and began teaching in the Music Department at The College of St. Scholastica soon after. Sister Monica continued to teach at CSS for the next sixty years, serving as Music Department Chair from 1954-1975. She also served as Director of Orchestra for Stanbrook Hall High School from 1946 to 1954. During these years of teaching, Sister Monica nourished and inspired music students of all ages. She instilled confidence and developed the unique talents of her students, taking great pride in them and their accomplishments. After her retirement from teaching, Sister Monica continued to manage the Music Library on campus for several more years.
Sister Monica earned a Master's Degree in Music Education from Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester in 1956 and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Southern California in 1967, when she also received the Phi Kappa Phi award for Best Dissertation in Music Education. Other academic honors she received include Mu Phi Epsilon, Honorary Society for Women Musicians; Pi Kappa Lambda, Honorary Society for Music Educators; and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1987, Sister Monica received the prestigious Max Lavine Award for Teaching Excellence from The College of St. Scholastica.
Sister Monica played principal clarinet in the University of Michigan Concert Band, 1943-1944; the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, 1943-1944; Interlochen, MI summer Symphony Orchestra, 1944; and Eastman Concert Band, assistant principal clarinet, 1954-1956. She played E-flat clarinet for many years with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and was recorder soloist for the Duluth-Superior Chamber Orchestra, on tour in 1972. In addition, she performed in The College of St. Scholastica Center for Early Music Orchestra, principal clarinet, and St. Scholastica Historic Wind Ensemble, founder and principal clarinet. Sister Monica conducted the Duluth-Superior Youth Orchestra from 1972-1973 and directed the Abbey and Mod Minstrels at The College of St. Scholastica from 1972-1978.