OGDEN — The six Sisters of Mount Benedict Monastery were honored with a standing ovation as they received the Lifetime Award at the American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast April 20 at the Eccles Conference Center.
Among the others honored at the breakfast were people who pulled victims from burning homes and an overturned vehicle, and two soldiers serving in Afghanistan who risked their lives to save 24 troops and five civilians in contact with the enemy.
The sisters received an award for having served the Ogden community since 1944. The first sisters to arrive in Ogden were Benedictine Sisters Ortrude Nester and Electa Thompson. "The sisters embody the Red Cross fundamental principal of voluntary service," said Robert Maxwell, emcee and ABC4 evening news anchor. "The sisters also are bright, compassionate individuals whose service and dedication has touched literally thousands of lives every year for a lifetime."
"They came to this community in the 1940s as pioneers of St. Benedict’s Hospital and they have been selflessly serving this community ever since," said Mark Adams, CEO of Ogden Regional Medical Center. "I really believe the sisters represent the legacy of health care at Ogden Regional Medical Center."
When St. Benedict’s Hospital was sold in 1994, the sisters went on to serve the needs of women and children through Saint Benedict’s Foundation, which was formed in 1976. "The foundation has a passion to serve the needs of women and children in our community," said Yvonne Coiner, foundation executive director. "It was the sisters’ decision, after the sale of the hospital, to stay in Ogden and to make this their home because they felt the need to serve women and children in our community."
Adams said there is a set of values at the hospital of compassion, kindness, integrity, respect and loyalty, and the sisters embody those values in what they do.
The sisters live by the motto and rule of St. Benedict that stresses prayer and work. "These are very important to each one of us as well as our community and Benedictines throughout the world," said Benedictine Sister Danile Knight, the monastery spokesperson. "So we spend part of our day working, in the hospital or in the monastery, and we spend three times a day praying together for peace in the world, the Church, the city of Ogden, and for all the people we interact with everyday."
"It’s not just us being honored today," said Sr. Danile, "it’s those 300 sisters that came before us. We’re standing on some very great women’s shoulders. We are just continuing what they began."
"It’s a very humbling experience," said Sister Luke Hoshette as she was greeted by a man who thanked the sisters for the care he received while he was in the hospital.
"The mission of the sisters and the contributions to our community is outstanding," said Jeanne Hall, who served on the St. Benedict’s Foundation Board for six years.
"We are Latter-day Saints, but we love working together on projects," added her husband, Alan Hall. The Halls are both members of the Heroes Selection Committee.