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Benedictine Sisters to close Wyoming monastery

Benedictine Sisters to close Wyoming monastery - (15-07-2014)

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The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have announced plans to close San Benito Monastery in Dayton, Wyoming. 

"St. Benedict’s Rule says, 'No one is to pursue what she judges better for herself, but rather what benefits another.' (RB 72:7). This was a difficult decision and not one we took lightly," Prioress General Sister Dawn Annette Mills, OSB said. "This process will last six to nine months. The love we have for our Wyoming monastery and our oblates, friends and supporters requires a planned process with many considerations.”

The congregation opted to close the Wyoming monastery due to the need for additional sisters to live and work at their other two communities in Arizona and Missouri.

“We have lost 18 Sisters in the last six years,” Sister Dawn Annette said. “This has had a profound impact on the daily life of all our sisters and on balancing the personnel needs of our three monasteries.”

Four of the congregation's 75 professed members live at the San Benito Monastery, the congregation's smallest community. Two of the San Benito sisters will transfer to the monastery in Tucson, Arizona, this fall. The other sisters will remain in Dayton until the property is sold.

In the meantime, the sisters will sell the inventory of their store, Monastery Creations, from July 15 to Aug. 15. Items will include fan favorites such as hand-poured candles, healing salves and glycerin soap bars. The storefront will close after Aug. 15 (the Monastery Creations website for online purchases of non-San Benito products such as handcrafted soaps, lotions and other products will remain open for business).

"We are grateful to all our loyal customers who have supported the Monastery Creations storefront throughout the years," Sister Dawn Annette said. "We thank them for their patronage and their friendship. We also enjoyed participating in annual events like gift boutiques and the Art Loop, which helped showcase businesses in the Dayton and Sheridan areas."

In 1983 five Benedictine Sisters were sent to Wyoming to establish a new community after an invitation by then-Bishop Joseph Hart. The sisters lived in Casper for two years before moving to Big Horn. In 1989 they purchased land in Dayton and opened San Benito Monastery.

Throughout the years, the sisters have enjoyed a beautiful friendship with the Wyoming people, providing confirmation and scripture classes, hosting retreats and spending time in fellowship on holidays. Countless volunteers have spent time assisting the sisters with various landscaping and home improvement projects around the monastery.

"It is difficult to say goodbye to good friends," Sister Dawn Annette said, "but our San Benito sisters will always treasure those beautiful memories. The people of Wyoming truly welcomed us with the spirit of Christ. We are forever grateful for their friendship and their donation of time and talents to help make San Benito a sacred place for prayer and for contemplation."

The property will go on the market soon, and the monastery's official closing date will depend on the date of the sale. A special tribute to the sisters and their San Benito ministries will take place after the official closing.

"We ask that people hold our sisters in prayer during this time of transition,” Sister Dawn Annette said. "With God's help and your prayers, we can bring this to completion."

The Benedictine Sisters' community in Tucson and their motherhouse in Clyde, Missouri, remain vibrant and productive, places of prayer for all people of the world. None of their main works, including production of altar breads and liturgical vestments, is affected by this decision. 

Please follow the Benedictine Sisters on Facebook or Twitter or at www.BenedictineSisters.org for the latest information. To share a special message with the San Benito sisters, please email kelley@bspa.us.

About the San Benito Closure:

Why is San Benito closing?

Reasons for the closure include the need for additional Sisters to live and work at the Tucson, Arizona, monastery. We have lost 18 Sisters in the last six years, which has had a profound impact on the daily life of all our Sisters and on balancing the personnel needs of our three monasteries.

When will the monastery official close?

The property will go onto the market in early fall. Some of the Sisters will remain there until it is sold. 

How many Sisters live at the San Benito Monastery?

Only four of our 77 members (75 professed and two in formation) live at the San Benito monastery.

Where will the San Benito Sisters go?

Two of the Sisters will be transferred to the Tucson, Arizona, monastery. The other two Sisters will remain until the property is sold. They will then be transferred to Tucson or to the motherhouse in Clyde, Missouri.

What about the other monasteries and their works?

Our communities in Tucson, Arizona, and Clyde, Missouri, remain vibrant and productive, places of prayer for all people of the world. None of our main works, such as the production of altar bread production and liturgical vestments, is affected by this decision. We remain steadfast to our Rule of St. Benedict, devoting ourselves to a contemplative life of work and prayer.

What happens to the Monastery Creations gift shop?

The Sisters will hold a Monastery Creations inventory clearance from July 15 to Aug. 15, 2014. Items will include fan favorites such as hand-poured candles, healing salves and glycerin soap bars. The storefront will close after Aug. 15 (the Monastery Creations website for online purchases of non-San Benito products such as handcrafted soaps, lotions and other products will remain open for business).

We are grateful to all our loyal customers who have supported the Monastery Creations storefront throughout the years. We thank them for their patronage and their friendship. We also enjoyed participating in annual events like gift boutiques and the Art Loop, which helped showcase businesses in the Dayton/Sheridan area.

When did the BSPA open the San Benito Monastery?

In 1983 five Benedictine Sisters were sent to Wyoming to establish a new community after an invitation by then-Bishop Joseph Hart. The Sisters lived in Casper for two years before moving to Big Horn. In 1989 they purchased land in Dayton and opened San Benito Monastery.