OGDEN — The 18-acre Mount Benedict Monastery is on the market and the five Benedictine sisters who remain are preparing to move to their mother house in Saint Joseph, Minn.
No date has been set for the move, but, "With declining membership and an aging community, they consider it prudent to provide for their future by looking for the support of the Benedictine community in Minnesota," according to the Nov. 13 press release announcing the sale. The Minnesota monastery has more than 200 sisters.
"It’s not going to be today or tomorrow," said Benedictine Sister Danile Knight, the monastery spokesperson, acknowledging that many people have asked when the sisters will go. "It’s kind of a limbo feeling to be in. We have to sell the building, so we’ll probably be here for quite a while."
Like the other sisters, Sr. Danile went through formation at Saint Benedict’s Monastery in Minnesota. She also was born in Minnesota and still has family there. "I’m going home," she said. "St. Ben’s back there is my home. And it’s all the other sisters’, too, but I feel it particularly. The office is beautiful there to pray. And the Mass, is – oh! They have such a beautiful schola (choir)."
The number of sisters at the Ogden monastery has dwindled over the years; when Sr. Danile arrived in 1964 there were 30 Benedictines working in St. Benedict’s Hospital, which they established in 1946 and sold in 1994. The facility is now called Ogden Regional Medical Center.
Since the sale, the Benedictine sisters have remained active in the community; their most visible ministry has been the St. Benedict’s Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1976. Originally the foundation supported health care needs at the hospital; after the sale, the foundation focused on responding to the needs of women, children and families in crisis. Over the years the foundation has provided funding to numerous organizations in northern Utah.
The foundation’s investment portfolio of about $5 million will be distributed over the next five to 10 years to the 18 organizations it has been funding for the past several years, said Yvonne Coiner, executive director of St. Benedict’s Foundation. Each year, every organization will receive a percent of the money until it has all been distributed.
"I feel strongly that the legacy will go on," Sr. Danile said. "Maybe for another generation or so they’ll remember those sisters who used to be here and all that they did. I think our legacy will go on. They’ll remember us, as we will remember them, all the people we’ve come close to, and have worked with."