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Here's to the first Benedictine Women!

In 1855, the first Benedictine women came to North America from Germany to found a new monastery in St. Marys, PA. This month marks the 162nd anniversary of the founding of Benedictine women's religious life in the United States.

Sister Mary Melady and Sister Mary Ann O'Ryan recently traveled as representatives of our monastery to participate in the commemoration of this anniversary. Benedictine Sisters traveled from Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois and Pennsylvania to celebrate as a stone marker was placed in the ground. The marker, seen in the picture above, includes a picture of the monastery that is now closed and bears the names of the founding mothers of Benedictine women's religious life.

The few Sisters who remained at St. Joseph Monastery, home of the first Benedictine women in St. Marys, PA, have found new homes with other Benedictine communities. A handful of them, seen above, traveled back to St. Marys for this special event.

Our own community, St. Scholastica Monastery, was founded by Sisters who came from St. Joseph Monastery to help teach German immigrants in downtown Chicago in the 1860s. We are indebted to the women of our past who paved the way for Benedictine life to flourish in the United States today.

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