THE ST. PAUL’S MONASTERY STORY
Prayer, hospitality, stewardship, and reaching out in service are values central to our community
As Benedictine Sisters, we follow the Rule of St. Benedict, which is based on Gospel values. Prayer, hospitality, being good stewards and reaching out in service are values central to our community life.
We, the Sisters of St. Paul’s Monastery, have a proud heritage that dates back to 1852 when three sisters left their monastery in Eichstatt, Bavaria, to establish the first Benedictine women’s monastery in America. They came to St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, to educate the children of the German immigrants.
Their school and the membership in their community grew rapidly. Five years later, several sisters journeyed to Minnesota and established the first Benedictine Monastery in the Midwest at St. Joseph, Minnesota. Again, they came to be of service to parents and children in the schools. This community flourished rapidly, developing into the largest Benedictine Community in the world. Over the years, ten monasteries were founded from that place.
St. Paul’s Monastery is one of these foundations. In 1948, 178 Sisters left St. Benedict’s to establish a new monastery at 301 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. The same courage and deep faith of the pioneering sisters who came earlier to America and Minnesota attracted many women to join our community in St. Paul. We soon outgrew the space on Summit Avenue and so made plans to build a larger monastery on the outskirts of St. Paul.
St. Paul’s Monastery purchased land adjacent to Hill-Murray School, which we built in 1958 and staffed until 2000. We moved into the new monastery at 2675 Larpenteur Avenue in January 1965. This place was a center for prayer and the formation of women desiring to live our monastic way of life. It was a place where we were enriched for our ministries, whether they were at the monastery or in numerous schools and institutions throughout the metro area and greater Minnesota.
In 1994, we made the important decision to spend time meeting as a community to reflect on our role as Monastic women amidst the changing times in the Church. We were intentional about addressing the challenges of society, especially how best to respond to the needs of women, children, families and elderly in our local area and the wider community. We were committed to supporting and sustaining our corporate ministries: The Maple Tree Childcare Center, the Benedictine Center, and the Ministry of Mothers Sharing, as well as the ministries of individual sisters who were employed in parishes and institutions throughout the metro area.
We were empowered to make bold decisions over fourteen years of careful planning, with a spirit of deep prayer, and with the advice and help of people from outside our community. We sold the monastery building to Tubman, an agency that provides safety for women and children. We sold some of our land to Common Bond which develops affordable housing. They built 48 townhomes and a 40-unit residence for seniors on our campus. We were happy to invite these two agencies, who along with our sponsored ministries, help us spread our Gospel values. We are especially called to serve women, children and families in need.
February 10, 2009, was a significant day in our history. We moved into our new monastery at 2675 Benet Road. The chapel is at the center of our life, a quiet space always open to welcoming others to join us in prayer. There are private spaces for the sisters as well as common areas for visiting and greeting guests and family. The Healthcare Center staff care lovingly for our elderly and ill sisters. The building stands alongside our cemetery, a living testament of the life of prayer, faithful work and sacrifice of the sisters who have gone before us.
We are proud to journey with people and organizations who partner with us as we carry on the vision of being an authentic expression of a community of women rooted in prayer and centered in the call to serve others for the sake of the gospel. To learn more about our history click here.
St. Paul’s Monastery History
To appreciate the history of St. Paul's Monastery, we need to go back to Eichstätt, Bavaria. In 1852, three of the Sisters left their monastic community and came to the United States to find the first benedictine women's community in America. They originally came to St. Mary's in Pennsylvania to educate the German immigrants who were here and also to spread the Benedictine spirit and values.
RULE OF ST. BENEDICT
OUR ART COLLECTION
THE WORD OF OUR FOLLOWERS
Mike and Janis Nash
Jerome and Barbara Bovy
Father Dave McCauley
Father Jan Michael Joncas
Father Cyprian Weaver
THE RULE OF ST.BENEDICT
THE RULE OF ST. BENEDICT
The Rule of St. Benedict serves as an invitation to open our hearts to God. It summons us to recognize our responsibility in the world and the proper use of resources. Above all, the Rule reminds us of the fundamental value of living our lives in search and service of God, preferring nothing to the love of Christ.