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A dream come true

A dream come true - (06-09-2012)

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Photo: Prioress General Sister Pat Nyquist looks on as Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey sprinkles holy water on the new Clyde entrance.

The ringing bell calls Benedictines throughout the day, and it was with joyous celebration the chimes called everyone together on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the Clyde, Mo., monastery to bless the renovations of the Sacred Stones, Sacred Stories project.

Prioress General Sister Pat Nyquist, OSB welcomed the crowd of more than 200 friends, family and special guests to the celebration and thanked benefactors and professional crews for helping make the special day possible.

“We want to welcome you to this gathering that we’ve been anticipating for a very long time,” she said. The crowd laughed when she added, “It’s been sort of like one of those road trips when the kids keep asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ Finally, it is time to say, ‘Yes, we have arrived.’”

Sister Pat thanked the architectural and construction crews, along with the Sisters’ own lay employees, who helped transform the 100-year-old structure, which is now more ecologically efficient and provides easier access for visitors.

“All the while, blending the new with our sacred heritage to build a space that builds on and carries forward 138 years of monastic tradition founded in this place by our pioneer Sisters,” she said.

When the deconstruction portion of the Sacred Stones, Sacred Stories project kicked off in 2010, Abbot Gregory Polan, OSB of Conception Abbey was there with a blessing. So it was only fitting to invite him to perform the ritual to bless the completed monastery renovations.

“We are so pleased to be a part of this celebration with you,” he said, speaking on behalf of himself and the Conception Abbey monks in attendance. “In true Benedictine style you have created something that is most welcoming and beautiful.”

Sister Sean Douglas, OSB, who served as Clyde prioress throughout the renovations, gave a reading from the Book of Genesis. Afterward she shared how proud she was of the project’s dedication to being ecologically responsible.

“We are grateful we were able to re-use so many items from existing woodwork, cabinets, doors and even some plumbing fixtures,” she said. “Anything that could be re-used was incorporated into the new construction, stored for future use or shared with people who could use it.” 

Sister Pat’s gratitude to the team of architects, construction managers and crew was echoed by Sister Sean.

“They were great to work with, especially in our efforts to maintain the quality of the original construction as well as the vintage appearance,” Sister Sean said. “The new geothermal HVAC system is a dream come true.”

During the blessing, Abbot Gregory sprinkled holy water on the entrance and prayed to the Lord, “Within these walls let your angels of light preside and stand watch over those who live here; may all who visit here experience the presence of your Son in the welcome and prayer of a community formed by a common vision of faith.”

After the blessing, the doors were ceremoniously opened. In true Benedictine fashion of hospitality, the crowd was welcomed indoors to tour the building, view a video presentation detailing the renovations and to gather for a reception in the refectory hall.

“It was a day of gratitude, giving us the opportunity to thank God for the safe and beautiful completion of the renovation, to thank those who did the work and to thank those whose generosity and support made the project possible,” Sister Dawn Annette Mills, OSB said. “May our home, this house of God, be a place of peace and welcome for many, many years to come!”

Please visit the Sacred Stones, Sacred Stories photo gallery on our Facebook page to view more photos.